A unique approach: practical and accessible, grounded in results, rooted in love and spiritual transformation.
Our project model has been developed through decades of experience with relationship in the worldwide Anglican Communion and best practices in global development. Based upon the Holy Cross School outside Grahamstown, South Africa — the most recent school in the rich educational legacy of the Order of the Holy Cross both in the United States and abroad — our model emphasizes sustainable and holistic schools, and educational excellence. It is our intention that the Holy Cross School near Grahamstown become the hub of an expanding network of Holy Cross Schools based on this model, and in June 2016, the monks of the Order of the Holy Cross enthusiastically endorsed a cooperative partnership between the order and Love Must Act.
Our partners work to replicate that school and the model of relationship that undergirds it, not by doing something for someone else but by doing something with others together. Every partner community — whether financially rich or poor, in North American or another part of the world, large or small, conservative or liberal — has immense riches to share with its partner community. Sometimes those involve financial wealth, sometimes they involve spiritual wealth, sometimes they involve something else. But in every case, everyone brings something others need. The real outcome is spiritual transformation through love.
Here's how that looks in practice (click on each header to expand that section):
+ Partnering two communities
Love Must Act identifies two communities, one in North America and one overseas, interested in being in a partnership relationship. The communities can be congregations, dioceses, or other local groups. We actively recruit communities in the United States, as well as in Africa and Asia, always in consultation with the diocesan bishop or appropriate church authorities. We also receive inquiries or applications from communities interested in participating.
What does an ideal partner community look like? In seeking American partners, we're looking for communities whose principal interest is to grow in love and spiritual transformation rather than charity or altruism. Love impels us to act to do certain things - in this case, to build schools where they are most needed - but love is the end unto itself.
Here’s what we offer our North American partners:
- We help North American partaners become more outwardly focused and thus spiritually healthier because, as Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori has onomatopoetically reminded us, the “heartbeat of the church is mission . . . mission . . . mission.”
- We help our partners use mission to bring about a spiritual transformation in your community.
- We work with partners on how to use Love Must Act to strengthen a culture of generosity in your community.
- We work with partners on using your Love Must Act partnership to reach out to young adults.
In seeking partners overseas, we're looking for communities interested in sharing their spiritual treasures with partners in another part of the world, and best equipped to succeed in acting together on the mutual love that emerges from that partnership.
Here’s what we offer our overseas partners:
- We help partners to plan a sustainable school project that will not be dependent on resources outside your own community.
- We work with partners to sustain your school through a network of schools based on the Holy Cross model.
- We work with partners on using your project as a way of serving your community, an evangelism tool.
If you think you might be interested or would like to learn more, contact us.
+ what the model entails
Like the Holy Cross brothers, who planted roots in a rural community in South Africa and eventually built a school there, our model for building sustainable and holistic schools grounded in educational excellence grows out of our partnership relationships.
The model seeks to apply funds more efficiently than in traditional models, partly by addressing the drop-out rate by making the services necessary to staying in school accessible to our students. To do so, each of our school communities will be intimately involved in the lives of families, not only students, and we will help families overcome the barriers to education, including violence at home and in the community, with which they must contend, which is also essential to bringing about generationally persistent change. We will make counseling available. We will prove child development workshops for families. Cultural reconnection will be a high priority. We will address substance abuse issues at home and in the community.
We will provide transportation and a well-paid and cared-for staff. We will attend to all facets of child development, including academic (curriculum, critical thinking), physical (sports, healthy living, occupational therapy), social (life skills, child care worker interventions), spiritual (religious awareness, personal responsibility, tolerance), psychological (group therapy, individual therapy, support), and health (school clinic, audiology, dentistry). That’s what we mean by holistic
+ first steps in a partnership
We do not view a partnership as a flow of funds from North America to somewhere else in the world. Rather, a partnership a relational and mutually beneficial, reciprocal engagement grounded in love. Accordingly, the very first step in a exploring a partnership is getting to know one another and experiencing the love and spirituality each side has to bring to the relationship. During this phase, we help will develop a custom plan for bringing the two communities together, including in person, to begin walking in love together. Self-selected teams of 3-5 people from each community visit the other to explore the viability of a long-term relationship. A significant component of this is working with the partner communities to mutually evaluate their own spiritual needs and prepare to meet those needs through partnership.
After a partnership relationship is established, we will work with the partnered communities to envision and plan their collaboration around a sustainable-education project, ordinarily the building of a school in the non-American/European partner community. The partners will form a construction-supervision committee, and we will work with that commmittee to indentify architects, contractors, and others necessary to develop the project plan fully. We will also create and help implement a plan for regular and ongoing communication between all partners -- and mechanisms to allow full and active participation of all partners -- as the project unfolds. We will provide a dedicated construction-supervision website that will keep community members informed at all times. Even as the focus turns to hammers and nails, however, the grounding of our engagement with the partnership will remain love and spiritual transformation.
+ HOW WE LEVERAGE DONOR INVESTMENT
What makes Love Must Act unique among similar organizations is that we develop partnerships to fund schools, thus leveraging the investment made in our own overhead. The partnerships are our value added, both spiritually and financially. The partnership approach makes Love Must Act an engine for sound development practices—school construction and funding. School funding will come from contributions from partners (in-kind in the case of our overseas partner communities and both financial and in-kind for our North American partner communities). Our goal is to raise what we need for overhead and multiply it many times over.
To be honest, it was not our idea. A crowd once gathered around Jesus, who posed the question to his disciples how they would feed the multitude. Andrew proposed starting with five loaves and two fish a local boy had brought with him. Jesus took him up on the suggestion.
Jesus said, “Make the people sit down.” Now there was a great deal of grass in the place; so they sat down, about five thousand in all. Then Jesus took the loaves, and when he had given thanks, he distributed them to those who were seated; so also the fish, as much as they wanted.
It wasn’t a trick. It was leverage and the fact that generosity inspires more generosity (it seems unlikely that the boy was the only person who had brought along something to eat as they followed Jesus out of town that day). The miracle is in the leveraging of generosity, not an unexplained increase in the amount of food.
We view expenses necessary for our own operation, which we endeavor to keep as low as possible, as an investment not unlike the five loaves and two fish.
Here’s the best part. Our partnership strategy will leverage that initial investment of $61,500 in the startup phase to produce an additional $600,000. That’s a return on investment over the next 16 months of 875%. The key is the partnership strategy. We take the initial investment to bring others into the project and increase the funds available for the mission. We will be ready to begin construction on the first school in January, 2018.
When they were satisfied, [Jesus] told his disciples, “Gather up the fragments left over, so that nothing may be lost.” So they gathered them up, and from the fragments of the five barley loaves, left by those who had eaten, they filled twelve baskets.
We have hopes over the following ten years to grow our dream and that of our partners, steadily increasing the number of schools and the communities we impact, both in North America and overseas. There’s certainly plenty of need. But that’s getting ahead of ourselves for now. First we have to be grounded and sustainable. Then we can think about expanding. A three-phase plan of startup, sustainability, and expansion has been developed and is available.
+ INDICATORS OF SUCCESS: MEASURABLE MISSION DELIVERABLES
Love Must Act is dedicated to implementing transparent, effective, and efficient programs. Therefore, monitoring and evaluation are included at the initial stage of planning through the development of a Program Logic Model (PLM). Through the adherence to plans made within the PLM, we evaluate the actual results against the expected outputs, outcomes, and impacts during implementation and completion of the project. This use of constant planning, monitoring, and evaluation allows us to recognize both success and failure, making the former easier to replicate, and the latter easier to correct and avoid.
Each Love Must Act project will have its own programmatic goals, objectives, and expected results, which will be developed through dialogue and workshops with the partnering communities. However, Love Must Act, as an organization, has a specific set of impact indicators, which have been developed to represent the expected quantitative and qualitative results of our projects.
As with any construction endeavor, each Love Must Act project will have a specific plan of action and timeline of activities, with corresponding milestones and benchmarks of progress that will be indicators of an efficiently run program. Accordingly, program audits will be implemented by a third-party group, within the country of the Love Must Act program implementation, to assure financial transparency.
In all cases, we will continue to nurture the relationship between the partner communities until such time as the partners no longer need our assistance or, we hope, decide to begin new partnerships to grow into new partnerships and expand educational opportunities to others, in an ever-increasing circle of love.
+ OUR COMMITMENT TO FINANCIAL ACCOUNTABILITY
We pledge to:
- Keep non-program costs as low as possible, never more than 15% of expenses,
- Within ten years, provide for staff salaries solely from endowment income and Program Development Contributions not later than the end of Phase III,
- Model transparency to the public, the Church, and our partners, and
- Be guided constantly by who it is we serve, our partners and people who are poor, and why we do what we do, which is to love.