In October Diocesan Convention approved a resolution from the Racial Justice Commission establishing a set of guiding principles for the Episcopal Diocese of Massachusetts Reparations Fund, and calling for the creation of a committee to oversee the fund’s investments and activities. At its December meeting the Diocesan Council authorized Bishop Alan Gates to establish the Reparations Fund Committee to steward and oversee the assets of the fund and its mission to make financial reparations for slavery on behalf of the diocese. As of Dec. 31, 2023, the fund’s assets will be nearly $1.8 million, with the long-term goal, set by the 2022 Diocesan Convention, of reaching $11 million.
The Fund Committee’s primary duty will be to carry out the convention’s stated mission for the fund, “to help repair the breach of systemic racism in the life of our diocese, region and nation, by resourcing Black communities to flourish in myriad ways,” in a manner consistent with the fund’s guiding principles. To do this the Fund Committee will be an active, working committee which will prioritize relationship building with African American and Afro Caribbean communities and organizations committed to serving these communities in this region.
The Fund Committee will have the authority to discern, oversee, direct and report on all reparations payments, disbursements, investments and other financial transactions to further the fund’s mission. In addition to determining recipients of reparations payments, immediate and longer-term tasks for the Fund Committee include establishing and maintaining a spending policy for the Reparations Fund, creating and implementing investment policies and encouraging contributions to the fund by individuals and congregations.
An online application form is now available here for those who would like to be considered for appointment to the Fund Committee. The deadline to submit an application for consideration is Jan. 31, 2024.
The Fund Committee will comprise 11 members (including both clergy and lay people) appointed by the the bishop diocesan, a majority of whom will identify as African American or Afro Caribbean. Applicants should be lay members in good standing of a congregation in the diocese or clergy who are canonically resident or licensed by the bishop to serve in the diocese. In particular, applicants with one or more of the following skills are being sought:
- Understanding of systemic causes of racial disparities in social systems resulting from slavery, including: housing, education, criminal justice, health care and others.
- Demonstrated ability to build relationships within African American and Afro Caribbean communities and organizations that serve their needs in eastern Massachusetts.
- Financial acumen sufficient to oversee invested funds, create and implement an investment spending policy, make asset allocation decisions and consider short-term and long-term fund goals.
- Skills in communications and public messaging, ability to balance multiple objectives and the capacity to be a voice of reason.
- The ability to work within legal, financial and conflict of interest policy constraints.
While no one committee member need have all of these qualities, as a body the Fund Committee will benefit from all these skills. Fund Committee members will be expected to meet on a regular basis, work in relationship with other individuals and bodies of the diocese and engage in significant work between meetings. A small, racially diverse screening committee will assist the bishop in identifying suitable candidates. He anticipates appointing the Fund Committee in late winter, with work to begin in April 2024.
Find additional information about the Reparations Fund Committee and the application form at www.diomass.org/reparations-fund. Questions may be directed to Laura Simons, Executive Assistant to Bishop Gates, at email@example.com or 617-482-4826, ext. 407.