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Lay Continuing Education & Formation Endowment Fund

Roman Catholic Diocese of Portland

The Lay Continuing Education & Formation Endowment Fund, administered by the Catholic Foundation of Maine, was established through the Strengthening the Heartbeat of the Church Campaign in 2008. The purpose of the endowment was to build resources to support the present and future lay ecclesial ministry of the Catholic Church in Maine. Click to see the grant program overview that is also provided below.

PURPOSE

The purpose of this fund is to provide grants to current employees and volunteers of parishes, Maine Catholic schools, and diocesan offices (such as pastoral life coordinators and associates, business coordinators, music ministers, catechetical leaders, teachers and youth ministers, etc.) to further their education and training related to professional service within the Church. This fund also provides parishes, Maine Catholic schools, diocesan offices, and affiliated organizations of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Portland with grants to support education, training, and the start-up of new initiatives related to adult faith formation and professional service to the Church.  The fund is not intended for the annual budgets of ongoing or recurring programs.

GRANT CYCLE AND TIMELINE 

Grant applications and awards are offered annually for expenditures incurred in the next fiscal year. Grants are awarded according to the funding available in a given year.

Grants will range from $250 to $3,500 for individuals. For parishes, diocesan schools, diocesan offices, and affiliated organizations the amount may be between $2,000 and $10,000. Parishes, schools, diocesan offices, and affiliated organizations may submit multiple requests in the same grant cycle, though often only one new project will be recommended for funding.

Grant applications available online January/February
Submission of grant application and attachment March 30
Applications reviewed by the Grant Review Committee April/May
Decisions communicated May 30
Distribution of awarded grants July 1 to June 30 of the following year

PROCESS

In January of each year, the grant application forms will become available on the diocesan website, with notifications sent to parishes, diocesan schools, diocesan offices, and affiliated organization by the usual channels of communication.

Individuals, parishes, diocesan schools, diocesan offices, and affiliated organizations must submit their grant application and required attachments electronically to the Office of Ministerial Services c/o the Diocese of Portland by March 30 of the same year. Handwritten attachments or attachments which are not legible will not be accepted.

The Office of Ministerial Services will:

  • screen all submissions for eligibility, accuracy, and required fields.
  • make an additional request for further information if needed
  • assign the application to the appropriate priority category (See “Selection Process.”)
  • make all the submission materials available to the Grant Review Committee
  • coordinate meetings of the Grant Review Committee
  • notify applicants of approval or denial
  • oversee disbursement of funds according to the grant awards with proper documentation

The Grant Review Committee (See below) will:

  • evaluate each application according to the published criteria (See “Eligibility.”)
  • review and discuss the applications to make funding recommendations.
  • submit grant recommendations to the bishop.

The Bishop will review the Grant Review Committee's recommendations and give his final approval. The Moderator of the Curia will communicate the Bishop’s decision, in writing, to each applicant by May 30. The Bishop of Portland also reserves the right to directly make grants from the proceeds of the endowment consistent with the purposes of the endowment.

GRANT REVIEW COMMITTEE (GRC)

The GRC is comprised of seven (7) members who are recommended to, and appointed by the Bishop. The GRC will manage the grant process, review grant requests and proposals, and make recommendations to the Bishop for his approval. The GRC will be comprised of:

  • Moderator of the Curia, chair (non-voting except in case of a tie)
  • Executive Director of the Catholic Foundation of Maine (or delegate)
  • Director of the Office of Lifelong Faith Formation
  • Superintendent of Maine Catholic Schools
  • Director of Human Resources
  • Diocesan Priest or Deacon (5-year term, beginning 2013)
  • At-large Lay Representative (non-employee) (5-year term, beginning 2016)

The Controller of the Diocese of Portland and the Administrative Assistant of the Office of Ministerial Services serve as staff to the committee.

When necessary, the current year GRC members will recommend potential candidates to the Bishop for future GRC membership (i.e., for the Diocesan Priest or Deacon and the At-large Lay Representative).

ELIGIBILITY

Current employees and volunteers of parishes, Maine Catholic schools, and diocesan offices are eligible to apply for a grant from the Lay Continuing Education & Formation Endowment Fund. In addition, parishes, Maine Catholic schools, diocesan offices, and affiliated organizations are themselves also eligible to apply for a grant from the fund.

Funding is awarded for programs taking place from July 1 of a particular grant cycle through June 30 of the following year only, e.g. July 1, 2019 to June 30, 2020. 

Applications accepted for:

  • Tuition for college and university courses or certificate programs from approved and accredited institutions in catechetics, theology, and religious studies or in a subject related to an individual's work as an employee or volunteer. Individuals in ongoing degree or certificate programs may re-apply for funding in subsequent years; however, funding is not guaranteed for each year of a degree or certificate program. Requests for funding in subsequent years will be considered upon verification of successful completion of academic work in the years previously funded. Applicants who received funding for a degree or certificate program are not eligible for additional funding for three years after the completion of the degree or certificate program.
     
  • Registration fees for approved seminars, conventions, or conferences related to an individual's work as an employee or volunteer or which foster adult faith formation or professional development. In addition, costs for travel, lodging, and meals (per diem) for the same out-of-state seminars, conventions, or conferences. Applicants are eligible for such grants once in a three-year period.
     
  • Start-up expenses for new initiatives related to faith formation activities for adults sponsored by parishes, schools, diocesan offices, or affiliated organizations. These entities may apply for ongoing start-up expenses in successive years. Funding is not guaranteed after the first year. Funding is limited to a maximum of three successive years of start-up expenses. Future new initiatives will be considered three years after the last grant for a previous initiative.
     
  • New or one-time training and education programs related to adult faith formation or professional development offered by parishes, schools, diocesan offices, and affiliated organizations for their own employees or volunteers.

Expenses not covered by grant funds:

REQUIREMENTS

Applicants must complete the application form, which includes a breakdown of expenses related to the program and the following information:

For Individuals

  • Name of course, seminar or conference
  • Description of the course, seminar, or conference
  • Name of the applicant’s Sponsoring Institution or Organization
  • Brochure/Invoice showing course, seminar, or conference cost
  • Total cost of participation in out-of-state continuing education (lodging, meals, registration, etc.) including registration form, hotel rates, etc.  
  • Signature of the pastor in the case of a parish employee or volunteer, or the principal in the case of a Maine Catholic school employee or volunteer, or the immediate supervisor in the case of an employee or volunteer of a diocesan office.

Go to How to Apply

For Organizations (parishes, Maine Catholic schools, diocesan offices and affiliated organizations)

  • Description of program, including number of people intended to serve
  • Current operating budget for a new program including projected revenue and expenses
  • Brochure/Invoice showing program cost if applicable
  • Names of people who will be involved in leading the program
  • Signature of pastor in the case of a request for a parish grant, the principal in the case of a request for a grant for a Maine Catholic school, or the department supervisor in the case of a request for a grant from a diocesan office or affiliated organization.

Go to How to Apply

If the grant is approved, the Diocese will pay costs directly for the approved activity, upon submission of bills, invoices, registration forms, etc. Grants for tuition or conference fees will be paid to the appropriate institution upon submission of an invoice and proof of registration from the same institution. Reimbursement to award recipients for approved expenses will only be made with supporting documentation. The recipient must provide invoice, registration form, and/or a receipt showing the expenses incurred before funds will be dispersed. Only award letters that include a specific amount or per diem allowance may be used to cover out-of-state meal/lodging expenses associated with the particular grant activity.

In the event the successful applicant cannot use the funds disbursed, whether in total or in part, the total award or any residual amount must be returned to the Office of Ministerial Services of the Diocese of Portland. Any unpaid balance from an award cannot be applied for a different purpose in the same year or for the same purpose in the next fiscal year.

SELECTION PROCESS

Applications submitted after the submission deadline will not be considered for grants. Applications that are incomplete at the time of the submission deadline will not be considered for grants.

GRC will convene to determine which applicants (individuals and groups) to recommend for funding based on the eligibility and requirement guidelines. Final recommendations will be determined by simple majority vote to approve or deny. The GRC will act on applications, keeping in mind the funding available in a given year, according to the following list of priorities:

  1. Funding for adult formation activities designated by the Diocesan Bishop
  2. Requests for tuition for credit in degree programs for individuals
  3. Requests for costs for certificate programs for individuals
  4. Requests for costs for seminars, training sessions, conventions, etc, for individuals
  5. Requests for funding for initiatives in parishes and Maine Catholic schools
  6. Requests for funding for initiatives in diocesan offices and affiliated organizations

The GRC will conduct one cycle of grant requests per year.


HOW TO APPLY

NEW APPLICATIONS ARE NO LONGER BEING ACCEPTED FOR THE 2022-2023 GRANT CYCLE (updated April 1, 2022)

Click to download the step-by-step process for preparing and submitting a grant application

Review Eligibility description to understand who and what fit the criteria for this grant then discern what activities or programs in your annual personal or organization planning may fit the intent of the grant.

INDIVIDUALS ORGANIZATIONS: Parishes, Catholic Schools, Diocesan Offices, and Affiliated Organizations in Maine

1. Gather all the required information (see above for Individuals) In addition to describing the activity and expenses, prepare short answers these questions (one or two sentences maximum):

  • Why are you pursuing this degree/certificate/activity? 
  • How will the related course(s)/activity help you serve in ministry better or more effectively?
  • FOR DEGREE/CERTIFICATE: Where are you in the process of completing this certificate (number of credits already completed, anticipated graduation month/year, etc.)?   
  • FOR CONTINUING ED: How will your individual faith formation, ministerial or professional skills development in this activity contribute to the wider Church's ability to fulfill her mission?

A. Gather all the required information (see above for OrganizationsIn addition to describing the activity and expenses, prepare short answers these questions (one or two sentences maximum):

  • Why is the organization hoping to offer this activity now?
  • How will the faith formation, ministerial or professional skills development provided in this activity contribute to the organization's ability to fulfill the Church's mission locally?
  • What impact will this activity have on the wider parish/school/diocese if successful?
2. Download and print the Acknowledgement & Signatures Form (pdf). Fill in the requested information.  B. Download Financial Details & Acknowledgement Form (Word document). Open the downloaded form, open as a Word document, click the "enable editing" button at the top of the page, and enter all the requested information electronically.
3. Review the information about your proposed activity with your pastor/principal/supervisor then both sign the Acknowledgement & Signatures Form C. Print completed form and review it along with other details of the proposed activity with your pastor/principal/supervisor before both signing this form.
4. Create digital copies of the signed form and any other supporting documentation (scan or take pictures) D. Create digital copies of the signed form and any other supporting documentation (scan or take pictures)

5. Go to the appropriate online form to complete the application. All information must be entered and uploaded in one session.

IndIvidual Application (Degree-Seeking) - covers tuition only

Individual Application (Non-Degree Certificate) - covers tuition only

Individual Application (Continuing Education)

NOTE: The application can only be accessed by those with a diocesan email address. If you do not have a portlanddiocese.org account, please work with your supervisor to identify who in the organization can assist in submitting the information online.

E. Go to the appropriate online form to complete the application. All information must be entered and uploaded in one session.

Parish/Organization Application 

NOTE: The application can only be accessed by those with a diocesan email address. If no one in your organization has a portlanddiocese.org account, please work your primary diocesan contact.

Helpful resources

Preview of Application for Organizations