A look at ERD and ARDF

In the alphabet soup of Anglican Land, ERD is Episcopal Relief and Development and ARDF is the Anglican Relief and Development Fund. ARDF has been out there in the blogsphere for the last week or so because it is at the ARDF meeting that Moderator Duncan announced that on December 3rd there will be the beginning of some new improved GAFCON province of North America (thats NIGPNA). GAFCON is of course the Global Anglican Future Conference held last summer which produced the Jerusalem Declaration which is the new proof text of pure and undefiled Anglicanism.

Since the word Anglican is not trademarked and the word Anglicanism is a reference to a rather wide range of theological sentiments that arose from the English experience of Christianity, damn near anybody who wants to can call themselves Anglican or tout the very best sort of Anglicanism. The trademark is getting a bit warn.

Relief and Development work:

Both ERD and ARDF are about doing good things in relief and development work. I want to underline that I believe both are engaged in relief and development work. But there are some differences.

ERD works with churches of the Anglican Communion and ecumenically, appeals to members of the Episcopal Church no matter their particular views on what counts as Anglicanism or Anglican, works in collaboration with Anglican Provinces and Diocese all over the world regardless of their particular views and with who ever wishes to work with them. ERD's mission statement is this:

"Episcopal Relief & Development is the compassionate response of the Episcopal Church to human suffering in the world. Hearing God's call to seek and serve Christ in all persons and to respect the dignity of every human being, Episcopal Relief & Development serves to bring together the generosity of Episcopalians and others with the needs of the world.

"Episcopal Relief & Development faithfully administers the funds that are received from the Church and raised from other sources. It provides relief in times of disaster and promotes sustainable development by identifying and addressing the root causes of suffering.

Episcopal Relief & Development cherishes its partnerships within the Anglican Communion, with ecumenical bodies and with others who share a common vision for justice and peace among all people."

ERD makes clear its financial statement on the website and has published a summary in its Annual Reports. ERD spent $25,000,000 on programs of relief and development last year.
I like ERD's clear financial statements and its mission statement and its involvement in large multi-denominational projects as well as ones implemented with partner churches in the Anglican Communion.

ARDF works with "The Global South," and with those who will not take monies from The Episcopal Church and is funded specifically through "North American Biblically based Anglicans" and directed to "Biblically based poor Anglican communities in the Global South." ARDF speaks of its funding standards, "Our standards for project funding are kept objective due largely to our partnership with independent philanthropic research service firms, who analyze each project expenditure with an investment mindset." So it does not fund efforts that cannot be measured. ARDF has raised $3,000,000 in it four years of existence.

ARDF's Mission statement is this:

"Anglican Relief & Development Fund (ARDF) provides effective and efficient relief and development assistance for objective high impact projects with measurable transformational results. ARDF exists to maximize life change in some of the most challenging parts of the Anglican Communion in the Global South adhering to the biblically based Anglican tradition."

The reader may be puzzled by the reference for "adhering to the biblically based Anglican tradition." It could be a reference to ARDF's own adherance, but the immediate noun cluster is "the most challenging parts of the Anglican Communion in the Global South," that is ARDF is funding actions in churches adhering to the biblically based Anglican tradition."

ARDF does an interesting analysis of how monies are spent, indicating how much is spend in a project on each individual helped.

ARDF's web pages give bits and pieces of a financial picture - how much is spent on particular projects and how much has been raised since the inception of the Fund, but as far as I can find there is no "financials" page similar to the ERD page. The ARDF annual report does not carry a financial summary page. ( I am sure someone will point out to me where to get that financial information on the web if it is there.)

I like ARDF's use of the Geneva Report form that tells about the extent to which programs fulfilled their expectations. ARDF has easy to read project proposals.

But the big difference concerns who is helping and who is helped: ERD has no litmus test about "biblically based" Anglican funding. ARDF does. ERD funds projects around the world with churches that agree with TEC and those who disagree both. ARDF takes into the world of Relief and Development the stance of its source community, the Anglican Communion Network and the Common Cause Partnership. That stance is that ACN and CCP are like minded with churches in the Global South who are biblically based Anglicans. Thus ARDF funds its friends, and its friends only.


  1. Anglican Relief and Development is still not a 501.c.3. After four years, that seems odd. ERD is. Catholic Charities is. Lutheran World Relief is. ARD also isn't a member of InterAction, which is the largest umbrella group of US-based NGOs focusing on relief and development issues.


    InterAction includes groups as diverse as the American Friends Service Committee and Adventist Relief and Development International. Serious R&D groups provide donors accountability by becoming 501.c.3s. And they form relationships across theological boundaries.

  2. But didn't Jesus say something like be sure to keep away from sinners to keep yourself pure? :)

  3. Interesting in the light of your post, Mark, is a comment this morning on TitusOneNine. "Katherine" (not the PB!) writes in response to the Living Church article "Primates Hold Key to New Province's Recognition":

    "The corollary is that conservatives in the US and Canada and UK are going to have to step up to the plate on giving to the South. Some will have trouble for a while because of the lawsuits, but still money can be found... November 18, 10:13 am."


    Very interesting if unpacked. The Primates hold the key to the new Province's recognition. So those who want a new Province now had better step up their giving to the Global South.

    Because --- hmmm, what could be the reason?

    And it looks as though ARDF, the favorite if somewhat murky charity of all True Anglicans, might just be the channel through which the cash flows from hither to yon. This sort of setup is not unknown to city councilmen and county commissioners, either.

  4. Mark, you have a wonderful way of getting to the heart of the matter.

    My word verification is "pestions", which I nominate as a neologism for the short form of "pesky questions".

  5. At one point I made a good effort to identify and evaluate ARDF's financials. I was not able to identify them. I believe that ARDF has been operating under a church "umbrella" like the Diocese of Pittsburgh. As such, it is not required to file the typical 990 informational returns of a not-for-profit. ERD does file. Although these informational returns (such as that filed by the American Anglican Council)do not have to reveal their donors, some do and all identify the salaries of their executives, the amounts spent on projects related to their not-for-profit purpose etc. ARDF did have nice glossy brochure type data, but, on the money issues, virtually nothing. Also, of consequence is its board which seems to be nearly co-terminus with its GS core supporters. Dio Pittsburgh also does not make its financial data available and, on a phone call about 6 months ago, I was informed that (and I believe they are correct on that), they are not legally obliged to file with the IRS. Having tried for some time to "follow the money", thank you for validating my experience. EPfizH

  6. But don't the GAFCONians accuse the Episcopal Church of buying the support of poorer Provinces? How very interesting...

  7. ARDF is a 501.c.3 organization as of September 2008. Previously, ARDF was an initiative of the ACN and operated under their 501.c.3. ARDF will file a 990 this year which will be available on the web. This year is the first fiscal year that the ARDF financials are separate from the ACN. These audited figures will be included in the ARDF 2008 Annual Report. ARDF is a member of the Anglican Global Mission Partners and has partnered with Five Talents, Anglican Frontier Mission, Mother's Union, USPG, CMS-UK, Mar Thoma Social Action, Gospel Light Worldwide, World Relief and others on R&D projects working in 35 countries. Nancy Norton, Executive Director, ARDF

  8. Nancy...thank you for the update. I appreciate the clarification. ERD and TEC work with some of these agencies as well. I hope there will continue to be areas of cooperation in the future.

  9. Check out Charity Navigator -- a reputable and independent organization that uses sound financial management and transparency to rate nonprofit agencies. ERD gets a top ranking.

  10. It is an interesting question of approach.

    ARDF's investment oriented approach is sort of the financial equivalent of the Peace Corp approach in that it does not necessarily provide fish but it does invest in fishing. Sometimes, indeed often, that is a smart way to do things. ERD is there when the needs are immediate and investment would simply take too long. ERD also does investment programs but then it accesses a bigger fund and volunteer pool.

    Our little place in the diocese of Chicago has been involved in the both/and approach. We are investing in the building of a medical clinic facility where it is needed in Sudan, relying completely on the local clergy to tell us what and where. At the same time we directly subsidize a parish's clergy.

    Both approaches make sense. What does not to me, make sense is the political dimension. ERD help anyone. No one gets asked if they are Anglican, Christian or neo-orthodox.

    So, to the limited extent I can give, I give to ERD. But, I have raised teenage boys -- I know I can be wrong! And I wish ARDF success.



OK... Comments, gripes, etc welcomed, but with some cautions and one rule:
Cautions: Calling people fools, idiots, etc, will be reason to bounce your comment. Keeping in mind that in the struggles it is difficult enough to try to respect opponents, we should at least try.