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         for and by the chapter

SUPPORT for the Chapter

Support with money

There are, of course, many very wonderful things that can be done with lots of money (and we deal with some of them elsewhere on this page or this website); but none can equal the moral support of your becoming a member or other supporter of the cause for which the chapter was formed. So please see (and give priority to) the first item in the Support in other ways section, in the column to the right.

But getting back to money, here is a list of some of the methods that the chapter uses to raise money (and it will be pleased to receive financial support from you as well, irrespective of whether you are a member but always in accordance with your means):

Sunday collection basket
Yes, we do pass the collection basket at Masses to help to cover the day-to-day expenses (and we also put out a free-will-offering basket at events that do cost the chapter money, for those inclined to help shoulder the expenses).

Yes, we schedule some events for the express purpose of raising funds, for the chapter's General Fund and, at least in some instances, for some specific worthy cause. From time to time, during the back-to-school period or around a major religious holiday, we raise funds for poor students of a neighborhood school, to help pay for school clothes or a holiday meal that their families could not otherwise afford.

Pledge Drive
In the Fall each year, we ask members to consider making a pledge of their financial support for the upcoming year, to help the chapter Board in adopting a budget. Just how and when the pledged amount is paid may vary, from a single payment to two semi-annual payments to monthly payments to a little extra on Sundays. The commitment to help support the chapter for the upcoming year is what is important, not the payment method.

Spontaneous Donations
The chapter does accept, with no questions asked, your spontaneous generosity in whatever amount you wish and with no commitment about how long it could be before you do something like it again, if ever. Makes budgets a tad more difficult, but we will deal with it.

Restricted Donations
Donations for some designated purpose are accepted when the chapter has a fund for that particular purpose (and otherwise, if approved by the chapter, and approval is usually routine). Donations in this category range, for example, from a donation to the chapter's AIDS Fund to donations to purchase flowers for use on the altar during Mass to remember an anniversary of some kind. They are a wonderful way to personalize a donation, just so long as the designated purpose is not too kinky.

Estate Planning
We encourage members to include the chapter when they do their estate planning, no matter the amount. We even conduct an estate planning seminar, from time to time, in order to assist members in facing up to a duty few really enjoy. Such efforts have borne fruit in the past, especially in enabling the chapter to buy, and in short order pay for, the building that houses the Dignity Center and to carry on generous AIDS Fund efforts.

with money continues at the top of the next column

with money (continued)

Endowment Fund Trust
The chapter has a trust called the Endowment Fund Trust of Dignity/Los Angeles. This Trust serves as a vehicle for receiving and investing the donations to it, for the purpose of providing a regular stream of investment income for the chapter's General Fund. Making a donation to this Trust is particularly suitable when a large or one-time donation is involved, for example as part of your estate plan.

Membership Dues
In the interest of full disclosure: Dignity/USA remits to the chapter a small portion of the membership dues paid by a chapter member. Needless to add, Dignity/USA raises funds from sources other than membership dues as well; for more info on its fundraising activities, click here.


Support in other ways

There are many ways that you can support the chapter besides donating money. Below are listed just a few (and the first one listed is the most important).

Becoming a member
The most effective way to demonstrate your support is to become a Dignity member. It lends moral support; and it shows your support in a very concrete way. When Dignity raises its voice in support of the GLBT cause, all will listen more fully if it has really a lot of members. Help us amplify and empower its voice by becoming a member yourself, even if you cannot afford to pay dues. Click here for more information on supporting Dignity, by becoming a Dignity member (or otherwise); and please do not forget to also sign up there for Dignity's free on-line News Service.

Spreading the word
This may be redundant; but...: If it helps to amplify and to empower Dignity's voice for you yourself to become a member, think how much more it would do so if you (and all the other members and supporters of Dignity) were to persuade even a few friends to explore becoming Dignity supporters. Just consider how much power you have to contribute to real reform of Church and Society!

The chapter (and all of Dignity) is a volunteer effort. That means that it operates only by virtue of the members who volunteer their services; and more volunteers are always welcome. It may be simply a matter of volunteering to help with some existing chapter activity (and that is how most volunteering gets started). Also significant, however, is a member who volunteers both a good idea and also some time to work on implementing the idea (usually with help from others also). That is precisely how many of the best chapter projects got their start.

Since volunteering has already been mentioned, just what does networking add? If everything needed were planned perfectly in advance, the volunteer work might cover it; but, of course, not all needs are covered by planning. We are a faith community; and salvation takes place in community. That means that we all need to be attentive to the needs of each member of the community. In a theological manner of speaking, we really do need to be Christ to one another, on a continual basis; or, as President Kennedy famously phrased it in his inaugural address, "On this Earth, God's work must truly be our own."

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SUPPORT by the Chapter

Support with money

While the chapter's financial resources are limited (and we do not serve as a conduit for funds from governmental agencies or any other organizations), we do have some resources and are sometimes able to assist those found to be most in need, including:

We are blessed with an AIDS Fund. At this time, the Fund primarily contributes to organizations that have staff and facilities to use funds most effectively to assist individuals who are most in need. However, it can sometimes assist an individual directly, primarily long-time chapter members and for emergency necessities that agencies are unable to provide in a timely manner.

AIDS Service Center
The chapter has a long-standing relationship with the local AIDS Service Center, to assist it. Sometimes the aid is cash but often it is in-kind assistance. Monthly, donations are gathered and delivered to the Service Center to help it in aiding those with HIV/AIDS, primarily the poor in need of basic supplies.

Neighborhood school
There is a neighborhood school close to Dignity Center. Sadly, there are many students there whose families have only limited financial resources. At the start of each school year and around major religious holidays, we contribute funds to assist those who are most in need, whether it be for their school clothes or foodstuffs for a holiday meal or whatever.

Special needs
Even though there cannot be a regular schedule, special needs do come up, from time to time. The members (and other supporters) who can afford to do so (and the chapter itself, if it itself can afford to do so) may be asked to make a special donation, so a contribution can be made in the name of Dignity. For example, this was done to assist the victims of Hurricane Katrina.

Support in other ways

As church
For most of us, Dignity serves as a church. Although it is a church-reform movement more than a church as such (and it is not subject to the jurisdiction of any church as such), it serves in the meantime the functions usually performed by a church. When we go to Mass, it is usually to go to Mass at Dignity Center; when we become ill and are in need of the Sacraments, we call Dignity; and the list goes on and on.

Though we listed networking as something that you can do to contribute to Dignity, it needs to be mentioned again at this point, because the networking that we do is in a very real sense a gift given to ourselves. The social networking we provide is the social network from which we benefit; in other words, what goes around comes around.

Intangible spiritual benefits
Those who itemize their deductions on their income tax returns will know that to deduct a donation to an eligible organization, it has to be a real donation for the benefit of the charitable (or other tax-exempted) purpose(s) of the organization; i.e. it cannot be simply a disguised way of buying something. Using bureaucratic jargon, this legal requirement is reflected in an IRS requirement that the receipts for donations to tax-exempt organizations are to recite that the donor did not receive anything in return for having made a donation; but in recognition that the Spirit will (or, more importantly in legal jargon, may be believed by the taxpayer to) provide a reward, the IRS recognizes (and thus it permits the required receipt for a donation to recognize) an exception for the donor's having been the ricipient of an "intangible spiritual benefit" for having made the donation. We do hope that, in this limited instance at least, you will concur with the IRS: there is an intangible spiritual benefit to you when you contribute to the chapter, irrespectiveof whether the nature of your donation (and your tax situation) makes it of interest to the IRS. For the Spirit doth reward!!

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