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One of the Blog’s Main Charities: Urban Ministries of Durham

As you know, the overarching purposes of the blog are (1) to communicate broadly, to a reading public, scholarship on the New Testament and Early Christianity (as opposed to most of the material you find on the Internet, which is almost entirely devotional and not based on historical scholarship) and (2) in doing so, to raise money for charity.   The latter is what keeps me going.  I absolutely love communicating with non-scholars what the scholars are finding about these fundamentally important topics.  But my ultimate passion for the blog is to help people in need.  Hence the charity aspect.

As you know, every penny that comes into the blog from membership fees and from direct donations goes to the charities we support.  There are no overhead costs because I pay for the blog myself, as my own contribution.

Blog members sometimes indicate they would like to have more information about what those charities are and what they actually do.   There are five that receive our support.  Three of them are local to me:  Urban Ministries of Durham (about which, below); North Carolina Food Bank; and the Durham Literacy Center; two of them are international: CARE and Doctors without Borders.   These are all amazing charities, helping those in need and working to make the world a better place.

It’s a pretty simple operation.  When I started the blog in 2012, I set up a non-profit foundation, The Bart Ehrman Foundation, whose sole purpose is to collect the moneys raised by the blog and distribute the moneys to charity.  Money comes in, goes to the Foundation, and from there straight to charity.  When I set the Foundation up, I expected we would raise something like $20,000 a year.  Whoops.  Bad estimate.   To date we have distributed over $800,000

Each year we have raised significantly more than the year previous, growing in the past few years at about 12-13%.   Last year (my fiscal year runs April 1-March 31, because of when I started the blog) we raised $170,000.   We are now taking steps to start growing the blog significantly, to move it from a kind of mom-and-pop store to something bigger.  We’ll see if it happens.

I want to tell you more about the Urban Ministries of Durham.  Of all these much beloved and vital charities, it is the one nearest and dearest to my heart.   It is the agency that deals with hunger and homelessness in my own locale.   It is an absolutely amazing “ministry” (it is not religious in anyway; the term is used in the secular sense).  Among other things instead of (or, rather, in addition to) putting a band aid on the problems  through their homeless shelter and community kitchen and food pantry and clothing pantry,  Urban Ministries actually works to get people off homelessness and into permanent jobs and permanent housing.

Anyone interested in seeing what a local organization can do, and do brilliantly, should check out their work at http://umdurham.org/.

The Director of Development at Urban Ministries, Joe Daly, is deeply interested in the blog (personally) and has agreed to share some interesting information about what it does to address the needs of the community.  Here is what he has says, just to give you a sense of what they do and why:

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    • According to 2019 statewide health rankings, 50,890 residents in Durham County report being food insecure, including more than 12,000 children under 18.
    • Over 47,000 residents live below the federal poverty line: monthly income of $1,041/single adult; $2,092/family of four. Durham County.
    • Durham County averages nearly 800 eviction filings per month.

    Here are key UMD stats from Fiscal Year 2018-19:

    • Total served: 6,186 individuals
    • Total who stayed in our shelter: 686 men, women and children
    • Number who exited to permanent housing: 248
    • Number of shelter clients who received help from our workforce development team: 330; 208 secured employment
    • Meals served in our community cafe: 228,406
    • Households served per month by our food pantry and clothing closet: 503
    • Number of volunteers who participated and their total volunteer hours: 3,749 and 28,014 respectively

    We expect these numbers to grow in FY 2019-20, supported by a $2.6 million budget and in-kind contributions exceeding $1 million. Important reminder that any new support to UMD received between now and Jan. 31st will be matched dollar for dollar by The Stewards Fund of Raleigh. The link to our secure giving page is: https://donatenow.networkforgood.org/UMDurham

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And so, feel free to contact Joe and / or Urban Ministries if you want to make a direct contribution that can be matched dollar-for-dollar.  Or if it’s easier for you, feel free to make an additional contribution to the blog and just let me know (via email at behrman@email.unc.edu) that you would like it to go specifically there.

 

 


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Comments

  1. Avatar
    Judith  December 6, 2019

    Thank you for posting this early! These are the only times I wish I were rich. Then a substantial donation could be made. Instead I send what I can with the hope that it – along with all the other donations – will suffice to have you continue on with this wonderful blog.

    • Bart
      Bart  December 8, 2019

      I wish you were rich too! But I’m glad you are who you are, and I’m very thankful for the donation.

  2. Avatar
    AstaKask  December 6, 2019

    When Luke says you have to hate… well, everyone including yourself, to follow Christ (Luke 14:26), what does he mean? Sounds harsh.

    • Bart
      Bart  December 8, 2019

      Usually it means “in comparison with me.” But yup, pretty harsh.

  3. Avatar
    AstaKask  December 6, 2019

    “For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.”

  4. Avatar
    rjackson@cscos.com  December 6, 2019

    Bravo! Faith without works is dead! i think I heard that somewhere?!

  5. Avatar
    fishician  December 6, 2019

    I live in your area so I can attest that these local charities are great, and the international ones, too. I can’t wait to see your blog surpass the $1 million dollar donation landmark!

  6. Avatar
    RICHWEN90  December 7, 2019

    Now, now, Bart. Remember this: JESUS don’t care what you DO. All JESUS cares about is whether you BELIEVE in HIM! Charity and good works and loving your neighbor? NOT GOOD ENOUGH! IRRELEVANT! Do you BEEEEELIEVE!? If you’ve got that, you can be mean and nasty and greedy and self-serving and you are SAVED! Hollow-LEW-yer! So stop knockin’ yourself out and git you some of that cheap SALVATION!

    Obviously, the above is a kind of bitter parody of what Christianity seems to be all about, for lots of people, especially fundamentalists. Maybe I’m a bit too negative? At any rate, what you are doing strikes me as more Christian by far than the stuff most “Christian” ministries do. And don’t even talk to me about missionaries. Cultural anthropologists despise missionaries, as a rule. I can understand that. I can relate to that attitude.

    • Avatar
      AstaKask  December 8, 2019

      When Jesus is asked how to get to Heaven it’s always about works. Salvation through faith is Paul’s invention.

  7. Avatar
    Stephen  December 7, 2019

    Terrific work!

    Not to be snarky but I have to wonder how many churches even come close to this level of service to the community? And yet you have to qualify for non-profit status and file a tax return every year and they do not. Just sayin’.

  8. Avatar
    AndrewJenkins  December 8, 2019

    “For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.”

    Bart, I very much admire and appreciate what you are doing through the blog, and also the efforts of many Christians, Muslims, Hindus, Jews, Buddhists and Humanists. Let us appreciate each others’ sincere efforts in this respect and unite to try to make the world a little better.

  9. Avatar
    veritas  December 8, 2019

    Ironically, as you wrote this blog, I had just finished listening to your debate with Michael Brown. Very good debate, I might add, from two people I respect. You both stressed your views very effectively without diminishing each others character and reasoning. Interestingly from both of you on the closing statements, this very subject came up. You said, although we don’t have answers to suffering and poverty, we should have responses. Well said and I agree. Michael, said, he didn’t believe your teaching, as sincere as you are, will generate people sacrificing to help those that are hurting. I applaud you for this post. You are doing a well of good to your community in Durham, and worldwide. I just wonder though, reflecting Michael’s comment , how many people would truly help those in need without the benefactor you provide in return for joining? Money is always the issue for most of us, so it seems. I think the worrying about not having enough leftover for us to enjoy prevents us from giving. What are we willing to give up to help one in need, especially thousands of miles away? By the way, the Mormon church, as refuted as they are, has given away over a billion dollars to worthy causes. Besides your incredible passion and research and thoughtful brain provoking information you provide everyone here, this side of you seems deeper and more personal Bart. I commend all that you do.

    • Bart
      Bart  December 9, 2019

      Thanks. Yeah, it’s interesting. Some people seem wired to help those in need, and some seem not to be. And some have a lot more wiring than others.

  10. Avatar
    cristianp  December 28, 2019

    In my humble opinion I think that Ehrman is more Christian than most Christians I know

    • Bart
      Bart  December 29, 2019

      Thanks. (And if you could pass the word along to Peter at the Pearly Gates?) (Seriously, I really do appreciate it; it’s a kind thing to say)

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