Applications opened on July 1st and, in addition to previous focuses, now cover parish capital improvements for health and safety, tuition assistance for struggling Catholic schools, and programs oriented at re-engaging Black youth in the Church.
The more general criteria for applicants align with the NBCC’s current Pastoral Plan of Action, released after its most recent quinquennial meeting (Congress XII held in Orlando in 2017). The document is issued after each congress as a guide for Black Catholic ministry for the next five years (until the next national gathering).
Qualifying areas include spirituality and Black saints, leadership development and promotion, anti-racism, prison ministry, domestic violence, human trafficking, catechesis and evangelization, reaching the unchurched, Catholic schools, Black vocations, cultural training for non-African American clergy/seminarians, and youth ministry.
The NBCC website notes, however, that DRF grant funds cannot be used for office supplies, utilities, salaries, or third-party compensation.
The DRF was started as the Daniel Rudd Fund for Black Catholic Activities in 2013, following Congress XI the previous year. Its namesake, Daniel Rudd, was a legendary Black Catholic journalist and advocate who founded the Colored Catholic Congress in 1889—from which the NBCC gained its founding inspiration in 1987. The DRF was formed to adhere to Congress XI’s Pastoral Plan.
Recent grantees from the fund include the Archdiocese of New Orleans, which was awarded a grant to develop a Black Catholic curriculum for its schools; Victory Youth’s Merrick Center in DC, which provides outreach to at-risk Black male youth; and Little Zion Workshop Way Preschool, a preschool in Powhatan, Virginia.
In 2020, the NBCC partnered with 22 grantees who together received just over $100,000. It was the largest disbursement since the first two cycles of the fund, in which the totals were each $95,000.
The deadline for this year’s DRF cycle is September 1st, with award letters due to be mailed in November. An application checklist can be found on the NBCC website, and the process to apply is conducted through an online portal.
Questions concerning the program can be directed to the DRF grant administrator at email@example.com.
Following a one-year delay due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Congress XIII has been scheduled for July 20-23rd, 2023 at the Gaylord National Resort & Convention Center in Oxon Hill, Maryland. According to the organization’s website, the theme for the event will be “Write the Vision: A Prophetic Call to Thrive”—drawn from the book of the prophet Habakkuk.
Nate Tinner-Williams is co-founder and editor of Black Catholic Messenger, a seminarian with the Josephites, and a ThM student with the Institute for Black Catholic Studies at Xavier University of Louisiana (XULA).