I dont know who is responsible for the Arthur M. Blank Family Foundations decision to withdraw funding from Augusta Urban Ministries (Barry Paschal column, Rug-pullers hard at work, June 18) or I would address them directly. Even without that specific persons name, I feel compelled to tell them how I feel about their decision.
Augusta Urban Ministries is a vital part of the Augusta area. Among their many programs are a furniture bank, periodic food drives and transitional housing. Another important program is the Kids Connection summer camp. This camp is aimed at inner-city kids, who desperately need positive role models. This camp was counting very much on the $40,000 grant that the Blank Foundation had agreed to provide.
Now, the foundation has gone back on its word and pulled that grant back because the camp would provide a Bible study - a Bible study that, I might add, has always been a part of the camp and has never been required.
I have been to the Blank Foundations Web site and Ive read its mission statement and background information. The foundations decision to pull that grant is probably one of the most short-sighted and stupid decisions Ive ever seen. A quote from the foundations background section reads: This philanthropic commitment is rooted in the Blank familys shared belief that giving back is a fundamental responsibility, and that we share a common calling to be our brothers keeper.
Based on the foundations actions, we are called to be our brothers keeper as long as we dont tell him about Jesus. After all, that would be horrible! We all know Jesus taught us to ignore our brothers and sisters, and He certainly wouldnt approve of us giving any assistance to them! (That was a healthy dose of sarcasm, in case the Foundation didnt get it.)
If the Blank Foundation feels compelled to share its reason for going back on its word to Augusta Urban Ministries, by all means, I would love to hear it. My guess is the foundation wont explain this shameless act, because I have a hunch it all boils down to cowardice. The fact that a Bible study is part of this camp might offend someone. As a Christian, Im quite tired of hearing that my faith is offensive. Until this country wakes up and realizes that the only way to peace is through Jesus Christ, none of our problems are going to be solved.
The Home Depot in Augusta is located just down the street from Lowes. Until now, it really didnt matter which store we went to for our hardware needs. The Blank Foundation has made the choice very easy now - Home Depot has seen our last dollar.
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