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Southern Baptists near match of $2 million challenge goal

ALPHARETTA, Ga. (BP)–Southern Baptists are closing in on a $2 million challenge matching grant made by Christian philanthropists Lynn and Foster Friess through the National Christian Foundation.

The Friesses issued the $2 million challenge as a way to build support for ongoing Katrina disaster relief efforts. So far $1,378,000 has been given toward the match, said Robert E. “Bob” Reccord, president of the North American Mission Board.

“We’re deeply grateful for this generous gift from Lynn and Foster Friess. They have helped energize giving to assist victims of Katrina through Southern Baptist Disaster Relief,” Reccord said. “NAMB strongly endorses this opportunity to multiply contributions while making an eternal difference in the lives of hurricane victims.”

Friess, a friend of Reccord’s, said he is impressed by the work of Southern Baptist Disaster Relief and thousands of volunteers.

“The Baptists have an extensive network of churches in the area,” Friess said on his website, www.fosterfriess.com. “Bob will coordinate with leaders of those churches as well to assure your and our funds are deployed effectively to the most needy.”

Since Hurricane Katrina’s landfall in late August, 6,000 Southern Baptist volunteers from 36 state Baptist conventions have prepared more than 4.8 million meals for victims of the hurricane.

To contribute to the matching fund, checks must be payable to the National Christian Foundation, c/o “Friends of Foster Katrina Recovery,” 1100 Johnson Ferry Road, Suite 900, Atlanta, GA 30342. Matching gifts may only be made by check. All money donated through the foundation will go directly to Southern Baptist Disaster Relief.

The National Christian Foundation is a nonprofit ministry established in 1982 by Ron Blue and the late Larry Burkett. It assists Christians in making financial gifts to support spreading the Gospel throughout the world, according to the foundation’s website, www.nationalchristian.com. Questions about the matching funds opportunity may be directed to [email protected].

The Chronicle of Philanthropy has announced that American charities have raised a record $1 billion to help relief efforts of Katrina. Southern Baptists have contributed more than $3.7 million so far to Katrina relief efforts.

Southern Baptist volunteers prepare most of the meals distributed by the American Red Cross as well as provide cleanup and recovery, communications, childcare and other vital disaster services. Southern Baptists are the third-largest disaster relief operation in the country behind the American Red Cross and The Salvation Army, with more than 30,000 trained volunteers on call for local, state and national emergencies.

A six-minute video highlighting Southern Baptist Disaster Relief efforts for viewing by local churches this Sunday can be downloaded at www.lifeway.com/katrina. The video includes a challenge from SBC President Bobby Welch to share the Gospel while meeting the physical needs of victims of Hurricane Katrina.

Also, a webcast briefing about Southern Baptist Disaster Relief efforts is available at www.namb.net. Disaster relief information is posted regularly at www.namb.net/dr.

Individuals or churches also may contribute directly to state conventions, associations or churches responding to the effort or to the Southern Baptist Disaster Relief Fund. Donations to Southern Baptist Disaster Relief, 100 percent of which will go to disaster relief, may be made online, at www.namb.net, or by calling 1-888-571-5895. Contributions can also be mailed to Southern Baptist Disaster Relief, North American Mission Board, Box 116543, Atlanta, GA 30368-6543.

    About the Author

  • Tim Yarbrough