A Way Forward
by Dr. Carlos W. Perkins, Associate Director of Engagement
At the intersection of faith and giving, we have an opportunity to go beyond what has traditionally been a narrow vision and practice of philanthropy to include a more expansive community that invites BIPOC institutions and networks to learn and lead together. The commitment of Lake Institute is to become a leading catalyst to foster a deeper understanding of the dynamic relationship between faith and giving, through research, education, and public conference within this broader community. It is this commitment, along with a twenty-year history of being a leading voice in philanthropy, that led me to join the Lake Institute team.
Through my academic, professional, and ministerial experiences, I found myself developing a passion for creating educational environments that foster open communication with colleagues and the community. Each of my educational endeavors added new and unique elements to my background. This started at Ithaca College (New York) with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Politics and Sociology, which led me to the University of Maryland with a Master of Education and Counseling. From there I went on to graduate from the Samuel DeWitt Proctor School of Theology at Virginia Union University with a Master of Divinity, and most recently completed a Doctor of Ministry Program in Pastoral Leadership and Community Engagement from the Payne Theological Seminary (Wilberforce, Ohio).
A native of Jamaica, West Indies, and an ordained elder in the African Methodist Episcopal Church, I am honored to serve as the visionary leader of Bethel Cathedral African Methodist Episcopal Church, the oldest black congregation in the city of Indianapolis. My ministry experience as a lead pastor is complimented by 24 years of experience as an educator working in secondary education. Before moving to Indianapolis in 2018, I pastored St. Luke African Methodist Episcopal Church – St. Croix (2015-2018), served as an Associate Minister at the Greater Mt. Nebo African Methodist Episcopal Church under the pastoral leadership of The Rev. Dr. Jonathan L. Weaver, and as a Principal with the District of Columbia Public Schools (Washington Metropolitan High School). Additionally, I served as the Chief Operations Officer at the Bethel African Methodist Episcopal Church under the leadership of Rev. Dr. Frank M. Reid, III.
In addition to my ministry work, I have taught classes in Sociology, Psychology, and Human Development at the community college level while also holding certifications in Diversity Training, Designing and Implementing Diversity Initiatives, and Youth Development. I enjoy writing and have published two books on topics of leadership, community service, and service-learning for students in diverse communities.
I am excited about the opportunity to build on Lake Institute’s twenty-year history of education and research. Specifically, I look forward to developing new partnerships with BIPOC institutions and networks to further our collaborative work, and to help co-create opportunities to develop new and revise resources. Together this work will expand Lake Institute’s community of practice and reach through the conversations we convene at the intersection of faith and giving. As the new Associate Director of Engagement, I am most encouraged by the opportunity to bring Lake Institute’s voice to broader publics through our convening, speaking, and writing. I see my role as one way to help increase the amount and effectiveness of resources for diverse communities and networks through capacity building, education, and public conversations.
The way forward requires new insights and a new lens in which we view faith and giving within the BIPOC context. It calls for us to review our traditional practices, expand our audiences through intentional ongoing conversations, and develop new and exciting research work as well. Lake Institute is committed to help lead the way in how we understand, research, and teach at the intersection of faith and giving. To that end, I am excited to be a part of a team that is ready to lead the way forward.
Questions for Reflection
- What new resources would you like to see come out of Lake Institute’s intentional focus on communities of color?
- How is your organization engaging in this work?
Lake Institute on Faith & Giving is at the beginning of its 20th year of fostering a deeper understanding of the dynamic relationship between faith and giving, and we are thrilled to both celebrate this milestone and to turn toward what the next decade requires to further this mission. I’m delighted to lead the education area of our work and to collaborate with Dr. Carlos Perkins as he leads Lake in new engagement across the whole ecosystem of how faith and giving intersect.
Lake Institute’s core courses—the Executive Certificate in Religious Fundraising (ECRF) for individual leaders and practitioners and Cultivating Generous Congregations (CGC) for congregational teams—remain transformative opportunities for participants to gain skills and grow in confidence in their work. Both courses draw on Lake Institute’s 20 years of research and experience—and both courses continue to be updated to address the needs of a changing landscape for religious organizations and resources. More and more organizations are partnering with us to adapt these core courses for custom offerings with their constituents, and we’re looking forward even just this spring to tailored educational offerings with the Central Conference of American Rabbis, Hispanic Summer Program’s El Semillero, the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Louisville, and the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship—among many others!
Beyond the core courses and custom adaptations, though, Lake Institute recognizes that there are particular topics around faith and giving that need particular attention, and we are looking to address those across a whole “watershed” of educational opportunities. I lived for many years in the commonwealth of Virginia, and regularly, even when I was hundreds of miles inland from the coast, I’d see signs reminding me that I was still standing in the watershed of the Chesapeake Bay—that what happened even in the mountains would affect the coastal waters. Faith and giving intersect in questions of theology, leadership, technical fundraising work, spiritual formation, and more, and different religious and cultural traditions offer nuanced insight and experience for each intersection. Even issues seemingly quite removed from the bottom line of funding a religious organization are in the watershed of faith and giving!
Stay tuned this whole 20th Anniversary year at Lake Institute on Faith & Giving for information about new educational programs and new resources to address new places in this watershed—we’re thankful to journey with you in this good work.
IU Lilly Family School of Philanthropy Events
Lake Institute on Faith & Giving is just one of many institutes within the IU Lilly Family School of Philanthropy. Over the next few months, there are several events offered through the Mays Institute, the Women’s Philanthropy Institute, The Fund Raising School and the School of Philanthropy. Take a moment to explore these upcoming events and discover the many opportunities open to the public, including our Thomas H. Lake Lecture on March 2!
Faith & Giving Resource Library
We at Lake Institute are continually asking how we can best equip and support today’s religious leadership. Last year, we surveyed our constituents, and you told us that you need conceptual frameworks, inspiring stories, and context-setting data as you seek to re-purpose your resources for mission and ministry on a changing landscape.
So, we got to work growing our existing collection of leadership tools and religious giving scholarship. We gathered stories and resources from trusted partners. Finally, we built a robust Resource Library to house these sought-after resources.
Insights, a bi-weekly e-newsletter, is a resource for the religious community and fundraisers of faith-based organizations that provides:
- Reflections on important developments in the field of faith and giving
- Recommended books, studies and articles
- Upcoming Lake Institute events