A Fifty Thousand Dollar Grant for Community Engagement


This article was composed by Zachary T. Dutton.

The Tyson Memorial Fund has granted Philadelphia Yearly Meeting fifty thousand dollars to support the formation of a new Community Engagement Team!

We are over the moon that Tricia Coscia’s role on staff has become Community Engagement Coordinator! This includes the responsibilities associated with her former position, Sessions & Volunteer Coordinator. Yet, with a five year plan that emphasizes partnership and integration, Tricia’s new role will approach organizing Annual and Continuing Sessions as part of a larger vision. Tricia will be responsible for galvanizing Friends to discover what we can accomplish when we work together.

The Tyson Memorial Fund grant will allow us to hire an additional Community Engagement Fellow. This is a twenty-month paid position. The Fellow will work with Tricia also to lay sustainable groundwork for the many burgeoning ways to engage in work, witness and activity.

Please forward the Community Engagement Fellow job posting far and wide!

Along with Tricia and the Fellow, George Schaefer, Care & Aging Coordinator, and I will form the Community Engagement Team. In the coming months, this team will focus upon the universal, spiritual insights of Friends to keep the Quaker Way a vibrant and attractive religious tradition for generations to come. We will work with Friends across the yearly meeting to reemphasize community, reignite efficient organization, and extend the Quaker Way into our whole lives, transforming ourselves and the world.

There are many examples of the work that has already begun. Here are three highlights:

At the recent Continuing Sessions, we conducted discernment in Thread groups, developing action items for which Friends were invited to sign up. Afterward, many of those who signed up joined Google Contact Lists to discern whether there were energy to form collaboratives or sprints or join existing groups like the Undoing Racism Group. You can see the different groups on the Work and Witness form where you can join the work of any of them or indicate your interest in doing something new. You can also access the form directly at this web address: http://www.pym.org/work-witness-connection/

We recently brought Friends together via conference call regarding the Syrian Refugee Crisis to discover potential points of collaboration and to encourage networking. We posted a story about the work and follow up notes on the PYM website.

The Quaker Life Council has developed an application that Friends can use if they have work, witness or activity they’d like to come under the care of the yearly meeting. The Council will guide Friends through the application process to find a place for them in the new structure that best fits their leadings.

Each of these highlights were supported by the work of our Community Engagement Team, yet the many Friends who’ve converged across our monthly and quarterly meetings were the ones who made it all happen. Join us!

You can reach Tricia Coscia at tcoscia@pym.org or 215.241.7238.

Zachary T. Dutton
Associate Secretary for Program and Religious Life