In order to fully understand how the Good Shepherd Fund became established, one must first understand the history of The Church of the Good Shepherd - Lutheran in Plainview.
This church was established in 1951 by a group of Plainview residents as an outreach mission of a nearby Lutheran church, Property known as the "Forsyth Estate," located on Central Park Road in Plainview, was purchased for approximately $45,000. The property consisted of a large brick house and ten acres of land. As time went on a church, a school, and a gymnasium were built, along with parking facilities. These facilities used about 5 acres of the property available; the remainder was used occasionally as a baseball field and for other recreational activities.
Sometime in the late '70's discussions got underway regarding the ultimate use of the "surplus" property. It had become somewhat of a headache to maintain, and it seemed that some better use could be made of it. Several different ideas were explored, some of which were church or mission oriented, others which were more secular in nature; but it eventually became apparent that it made more sense for Good Shepherd to sell the property to some other group or agency, rather than get itself involved in constructing and operating a facility on their own.
The value of land in the Plainview area had skyrocketed over the 20-odd years of Good Shepherd's history, and it appeared that the sale of the property would result in a huge windfall to the congregation. A group met and eventually agreed that the possibility of Good Shepherd suddenly becoming $500,000 richer was not necessarily an entirely blessed event. The effect on stewardship and the spiritual life of the congregation was potentially very damaging. It was not too difficult to contemplate many people sitting back and letting things take care of themselves. There was also the genuine possibility of some serious divisions developing when various ideas were broached on the expenditure of all that money.
Out of all of this discussion an idea began to present itself. Why not tie the sale of the property into the use of the proceeds? and that's what happened. The proposition to sell the property was tied together with a resolution that the principal amount not be used, but that only the interest income be used, and that it be used to advance the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Thus, an endowment fund was established which was supplemented by a previous bequest and initially amounted to a principal sum of $625,000.
A committee was appointed and developed a set of procedures and guidelines for managing the fund. The guidelines were proposed and accepted at the Voters' Meeting of May 26, 1981, along with a proposal that the committee be expanded to five persons, to serve staggered terms of three years. Subsequently, this committee became an elected board chosen at the Annual Voters' Meeting.
The Fund guidelines were kept simple, with the main guideline being the following:
"Grants shall be used to further new or original programs, projects, plans, or ideas which will bring the Gospel message to those who might not otherwise hear or receive it. Spread of the Gospel is an essential ingredient of the grant program and no project shall receive support if this ingredient is absent."
There are other rules and guidelines, but this is the essence of the program; and every grant request is reviewed and discussed by the Good Shepherd Fund Disbursements Board to ensure that it adheres to the spirit of the guideline quoted above. This is a unique program. To date, over $1,000,000 has been given to programs extending world-wide, from China to Sri Lanka, from embattled Lebanon to San Francisco, from Cleveland to the Rockies, and right here at home at Good Shepherd, New York City, and Huntington. The good people of Good Shepherd have shown an unflagging enthusiasm for continuing the program, despite some pressing economic problems of their own. God grant that they will continue to spread the Word to "those who might not otherwise hear it!"
The Grant Application form seeks assure that the applicant:
The process of the Board in disbursing funds is outlined in the constitution as follows in summary: