Stew•ard•ship - stoo-erd-ship
- the office, duties, and obligations of a steward
- the conducting, supervising, or managing of something, especially, the careful and responsible management of something entrusted to one's care
Our Lady of Mercy Community Outreach Services is the name given to the actions of many who share “blessings of the heart.” That sharing is made possible through many gifts of prayer, time, talent and treasure. We take seriously our obligation as stewards of those gifts --- to use them to provide the maximum benefit for those we serve. Our Lady of Mercy practices stewardship in the following ways:
Origin of the organization – Our Lady of Mercy was begun by an outstanding act of stewardship. In 1989 the organization was created with a major financial gift from the Sisters of Charity of Our Lady of Mercy. They specified that their gift should be used to defray administrative costs. This provision makes giving to Our Lady of Mercy particularly attractive to donors. Their gifts go directly to those in need.
Mission - Our mission is to break the cycle of poverty, not just to provide temporary relief. Above all, we are careful to act in ways that will not add to the burden of poverty by creating or prolonging dependency.
Board of Directors, Staff, Volunteers - Many people are closely involved with Our Lady of Mercy, and represent a very broad cross section of the community. Their participation provides many layers of service and oversight.
Independence of the organization- Our Lady of Mercy is an independent non-profit organization dedicated solely to helping those in need. We determine our priorities based on the needs of the people we serve.
Control of Resources
Financial controls - Our Lady of Mercy utilizes an effective system of internal controls to include separation of duties, a sound accounting system, sound personnel policies as well as a yearly review by an independent accounting firm. The Finance Committee of our Board oversees all financial reporting.
Restricted gifts - Donors may make unrestricted gifts, or may specify that their gift is to be used for emergency assistance, educational programs, wellness services or the Neighborhood House. All donations are acknowledged, and donors are listed in our annual report unless they request anonymity.
Careful assistance - Through personal attention and counseling, Our Lady of Mercy staff helps its clients break the cycle of dependency. At times, the staff recognizes that a client needs more help than they originally requested; occasionally a request is denied in order to avoid dependency or abuse of available resources.
Annual report - Each year the Outreach publishes a report detailing its income, expenses, accomplishments, priorities, sponsors and donors.
GuideStar - Detailed information on Our Lady of Mercy is available on the Internet through GuideStar , a national clearinghouse for information on nonprofit organizations. The information is updated annually.
Community orientation - The Outreach is in and of the community. We are blessed to be able to connect people needing help with those who can help. The executive director, many staff and Board members live in the community. The community knows us and we know them.
Community leadership - The Board and staff are broadly representational of the community. Our Lady of Mercy frequently acts as a home and convener for other organizations that serve the community. Several local churches regularly “tithe” to us so that we might distribute more assistance to our neighbors.
Service area - In order to maximize the effectiveness of available resources, our service area is limited to James, Johns and Wadmalaw Islands and, through the Neighborhood House, downtown Charleston.
Volunteers - Our Lady of Mercy utilizes the talents of approximately 250 volunteers each year. Their participation magnifies the impact of other resources. Many service recipients eventually become volunteers and donors.