Launchpad: Fund, Coach, and Support Liberating Faith!

Launchpad: Fund, Coach, and Support Liberating Faith!

Crowdfunding Completed: June 30, 2017

Amount Funded: $16177

Project Owner: Launchpad

Short Description of Project

Launchpad harnesses all the energy in liberating faith to create and support sustainable ministries that touch and transform real lives.

How was this project connected to UU?

Launchpad claims Unitarian Universalism by spreading the reach of our faith into areas under-served by Unitarian Universalism: rural Appalachia and urban Atlanta. We insist that our principles, if supported and fully funded, can thrive in new settings, and claim a richer, more textured Unitarian Universalism for the twenty-first century. We are claimed by Unitarian Universalism by our place in a long line of church-planting--from the Universalist start-ups of the 19th century to the Unitarian and Unitarian Universalist communities launched in the Fellowship Movement. One existing congregation that supports Launchpad, which is fueling Moonshot, is Oak Ridge UU Church (Oak Ridge TN).

Full Description of Project

In May, 1961, President Kennedy declared that by the end of the decade the United States would put a person on the moon.  It was an audacious goal, made in a time of uncertainty and setbacks, criticism and fear.  But that clarity and ambition sparked a decade of focus, progress, and discovery.  In our current time of unrest and uncertainty, we are not backing down. We are declaring our own “moonshot” and it’s focused on building the Beloved Community like never before.

As five leaders of liberating faith, we saw leaders with vision and potential who needed support.  So, we combined our years of experience and formed an organization called Launchpad. Our consistent goal is to support leaders with institutional support, guidance, and strategies to make sure their efforts succeed.  

Now, when it comes to the enormous potential of liberating faith in this country, we’re dedicated to investing in the growth of energetic ministries.  Communities that have been abandoned by the powers of the world are starving for the missional attention and ministry of creative faith leaders.  Fired-up people lead powerful lives when they find the sustaining support that strengthens them to go out and link arms with their neighbors, to restore the vitality and promise of the places they live.  If there was ever a time to invest in strengthening and spreading the power of our faith, that time is today.

That’s why we’re inviting you, together with us, to gather the funds needed to MAKE.  THIS.  HAPPEN. 

In one month--31 days--help us raise $15,000 to support new liberating faith communities!

When you contribute to Launchpad, you fund three powerful initiatives:

Develop new Unitarian Universalist communities in small-town East Tennessee
Organize a dynamic new Unitarian Universalist community in urban Atlanta;
Build a strategic model for further developments all over the country;
Now, more than ever, our country needs sustainable, passionate, faithful centers of creative resistance and inspiration.  People are ready to get organized, to come together, to build something lasting and good.  Something that honors all people and all of life.

The Team to get Liberating Faith to the Moon!

Launchpad is a partnership of 5 Unitarian Universalist professionals who, combined, have more than 90 years of leadership experience. :

Aisha Hauser, MSW
Director of Religious Education, East Shore Unitarian Church (Bellevue WA), Urban Community Ministry Coordinator

Arif Mamdani
Hallman Ministerial Intern at Unity Church-Unitarian in St. Paul, MN, Associate Director of the Kaleo Center for Faith, Justice, and Social Transformation

Rev. Robin Tanner
Minister of Worship and Outreach, Unitarian Church in Summit New Jersey

Rev. Jake Morrill
Minister, Oak Ridge Unitarian Universalist Church, Family Systems Coach, Author

Fred Holland
Director of Operations, Oak Ridge Unitarian Universalist Church, International Facilitator, Board President

Together, they form the dynamic Launchpad team.

In 2012, Robin and Sam imagined and developed the liberating faith community in Salisbury, North Carolina. They took what they learned and developed a model to replicate around the country.  At the same time in East Tennessee, through a generous grant from the Fund for Unitarian Universalism, Jake and Fred figured out how to provide distance administrative and operational support to congregations.  And, in the northwest, Aisha deepened her understanding of the multi-cultural competencies needed to make new communities thrive. In Fall of 2015, we came together to form Launchpad.

Today is the Day

In the Fellowship Movement of the 1950s and 1960s, Unitarian Universalist congregations were established largely in college communities.  That strategy left countless potential Unitarian Universalists unserved and abandoned.  Now is the time to widen our vision.

Launchpad will invest our initial efforts in starting and sustaining communities in areas that were ignored by the Fellowship Movement.

First, we are focused on small-town East Tennessee.  Appalachia is in a world of pain and sorrow, exploited for generations through unsustainable economics. It’s also historically a resilient community: there are people with progressive values there, aching to be part of something larger than themselves.  We have talked to families who feel like their community is breaking apart and don’t know what to do. We know share their pain and are ready to empower them.

Second, we are committed to urban Atlanta.  Because of the historical avoidance of Atlanta, there’s a common saying, “No UU congregation has ever lasted South of I-20.”  And through conversation after conversation, we know there is a thirst for liberating faith.  This predominantly African-American area of Atlanta is pulsing with vibrant possibility for what organizers are calling “Abundant LUUV.”  

The history of how UU communities developed cannot be changed. However today is our day to write the future - to inspire and give hope to people who long for liberating faith. It is our opportunity to embrace our beliefs and support communities who are ready to expand their faith.

The Nitty Gritty of the Money Situation

We know that money can get lost in organizations - and lost fast. We’ve seen churches disintegrate and communities falter. This is why we guarantee vigilance and clarity about where our fundraising contributions go. We all agree that no Launchpad partner may personally profit out of these efforts.  The money will go toward necessary costs like airline tickets, to get Robin into position for on-the-ground coaching.  It will go toward promotion for the new communities, so more people in their areas know they exist and offer support.  It will go toward administrative guidance to these communities, as well. Plus everything we do with these important communities will help develop the model to serve more communities.  We are building power to fuel liberating faith.

From what we’ve observed and heard in talking with people, new starts fail because they are starved of support and resources.  You probably know plenty of leaders, who start out with a big dream, then falter at the first hurdle because they lack institutional support.  Starting new ventures is never a sure thing.  But Moonshot is aiming to build the protection, the expertise, and the strength to support these new efforts.

Our Launchpad Timeline

May: Initial meetings in East Tennessee and Atlanta
June at General Assembly: talk with partners, interested in following the success of these ventures
August: gatherings start meeting weekly in the respective areas, receiving coaching and support from Launchpad--and, of course, from you, through your investment in Moonshot!
January 2018: new communities, building off what’s been learned in East Tennessee and Atlanta, take shape!

Help us raise $15,000 to support new liberating faith communities!

Donate now!

***You may notice that there are no levels of giving with "rewards." This is a common practice among crowdfunding - you give and you get  a t-shirt, a mug, or some other item. Instead of spending valuable resources on these items, we are fueling the project and mission 100%. This means all your donations go toward the goals and nothing gets spent on unnecessary items. We'll keep you updated on the progress and will thank you every chance we get!