St. Columba & Barth House Awarded Church Home Grants Totaling $1.5 Million

In December 2023, St. Columba Episcopal Camp and Retreat Center and Barth House Episcopal Center received some good news. They had each been awarded a Church Home Grant of $750,000.

An annual grant of $150,000 over the next five years will help each organization “leverage successes that they’ve already had and continue growing into each of their own visions for who they are and how they’re serving people,” said Julia McDonald, Church Home Board Chair.

McDonald, a lifelong parishioner of Grace-St. Luke’s in Memphis, is Vice President of Marketing & Communications at the Community Foundation of Greater Memphis.

Established in 1870, Church Home originally addressed the needs of widows and orphans left vulnerable after the Civil War. Today, the Church Home Foundation primarily funds ministries for children, youth, and young adults in West Tennessee. Historically, Church Home grants focused on projects offered by Episcopal organizations. Responding to community needs identified during the pandemic, Church Home instead made significant gifts to Literacy Mid-South and BRIDGES in 2020 and 2021.

Church Home’s choice to award funds to Episcopal organizations in 2024 was an act of discernment.

“When we asked ourselves what we are uniquely positioned to support, where can our dollars go the furthest,” McDonald said, “we knew we wanted to take some time for deliberate discovery. We invited the leaders of Barth House and St. Columba into a conversation about what their goals are and how our funds could help. They both made some really compelling cases for what they are doing and what they would be able to do with additional funding.”

Church Home’s decision was to support both organizations with the broadness that unrestricted operating funds would allow.
“They know their work better than we do, so it’s really money that says, ‘Be who you are, do what you do, and do it even better than you could have.’”

Dedicated in May of 1982, St. Columba Episcopal Camp and Retreat Center annually serves nearly 200 nonprofit, church, school, and family groups each year on its lush 145-acre campus in Shelby County. Each summer, it serves upwards of 700 youth campers through Mud Camp and Camp Able.

Barth House is located in the heart of the University of Memphis campus and supports college and young adult ministry throughout Shelby County. In addition, it is a venue utilized by community organizations.

“Frankly, it is easier for other kinds of organizations to fundraise than it might be for St. Columba and Barth House,” said McDonald.

“We believe in the great work both of them are doing – creating Episcopal community for different youth life stages in West Tennessee – and seized the opportunity to center back into Church Home’s core mission of supporting Episcopal youth community. We have an ability to rise to the occasion and empower these amazing groups, and we can’t wait to see what comes out of these gifts!”


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