According to the Centers for Disease Control, an estimated one in five individuals has a disability. In addition, the National Organization on Disability reports that less than half of all disabled people attend a church each month. With laws keeping church and state separate, this makes it even more difficult for church leaders to find money to better accommodate the handicapped, and as a result their attendance numbers lower. Several programs provide grants to churches to improve communication and architectural accessibility for handicapped individuals.
United Methodist Church
The United Methodist Church awards $1,000 in grant money to United Methodist churches that meet application requirements. The United Methodist Church states that the grants are to be used to better accommodate church members with hearing and visual disabilities. The grant's funds cover the remodeling and restructure of facilities, programs, buildings, services and other sites. When applying, churches must demonstrate a financial need, a quality plan for revision and participation within their congregation.
Global Ministries United Methodist Church 475 Riverside Drive, Suite 340 New York, New York 10114 212-860-3872 umc.org
The Episcopal Diocese of Arizona
The Episcopal Diocese of Arizona has a program that focuses on disability concerns. The program offers a $500 grant to one church within its membership. The grant funds are to be used for only one project related to accommodating worshipers with disabilities. Projects may include purchasing large-print books, an architectural remodel and purchasing assistive listening and seeing devices. Interpreters for American Sign Language are not covered under this grant.
The Episcopal Diocese of Arizona Program Group on Disability Concerns 26554 S. Saddletree Dr. Sun Lake, AZ 85358 480-802-4911 azdiocese.org
Retirement Research Foundation
The Accessible Faith Grant is sponsored by the Retirement Research Foundation in Illinois. The grant amount awarded each year is up to $30,000. The grant is awarded to churches that can demonstrate financial need for increasing accessibility for older handicapped members of their church. Their remodel plans must show that these members would use the new services, programs and buildings often.
The Retirement Research Foundation Accessibility Faith Grant Program 8964 West Higgins Road, Room 460 Chicago, IL 60732 rrf.org
Lucy Bowles is an avid freelance writer from Indianapolis. She has written for various websites since 2009. As a certified paralegal Bowles has worked in the areas of business, intellectual property and entertainment law. She has a bachelor's degree in history and a minor in legal studies from Indiana University.