Discretionary money

Alongside the formal structures of the Anglican Communion are two linked funds to which members of the AC can apply for assistance.

On the global scale of things they don't offer big money (though no doubt invaluable to recipients) and they are not big funds. But they are significant in that, in addition to grant aid around the Communion, they also give the ACC a degree of flexibility and the potential for new developments at a Communion-wide level which would otherwise be very difficult to fund.

The funds are:

The Archbishop of Canterbury's Anglican Communion Fund (Charity Commission pages) It doesn't seem to have its own website.

and a US parallel - The Friends of the Archbishop of Canterbury's Anglican Communion Fund (website)

Funds are built up from a linked trust: the Anglican Investment Agency Trust (website, Charity Commission pages). Investment firms give the equivalent of "50% of fees from participating accounts."

There seem to be three main groups grants / beneficiaries:

  • A Personal Emergencies Fund for "urgent or critical medical needs of bishops, clergy, lay-workers, and their families or dependants." (Anglican Communion website - page looks old - 2001-2001? - and is not dated. I guess this fund was at some point rolled into the newer, larger, present fund.)

  • Grants to central Communion structures (not least the Office of the Anglican Observer at the United Nations, the Network for Inter Faith Concerns, and the Anglican Centre in Rome)

  • General grants (e.g. for new projects, to help rebuild after natural disaster and some new construction projects, to strengthen governance in weaker dioceses) Some headings are vague: 'to support the Church in Myanmar'; and some intriguing, e.g. Cuba: 'Relief for results of a sudden unexpected reduction of diocesan revenue by more than half'', though no doubt all are worthy.
All listed here. Go to 'Successful Grant Applications 1997-2007' and in the Annual Reports of the ABC's Anglican Communion Fund available through the Charity Commission site.

There are two key political points to be made about these funds.

First they shows the degree to which communion-wide work which is dependent on discretionary grants and, conversely, the limitations of central funds for innovative work.

Second, their personnel ae overwhelmingly UK and US - reinforcing complaints, especially from Africa, that the Communion continues to be run from Washington and London.

I can't tell much from the list of American Trustees though it is clear that Mr and Mrs Carr are the key people and all of them seem to be powerful money people - The Rev Steven K Green, for example, is (or was) Chief Executive Officer, HSBC Holdings.

The three trusts are closely linked through overlapping trusteeships and, in turn, overlap with the Standing Committee of the Anglican Communion. The trustees of the ABC's Anglican Communion Fund are nominated by the ACC, the AIA trust (above) and the Primates' Standing Committee. Others are co-opted (in 2008 - the Anglican Observer at the UN, the Bishop of Peshawar, Emmanuel Olatunji from the Council of Anglican provinces of Africa, and from USPG and CMS. There are three ex-officio trustees: the ABC himself, the Chair of the Inter-Anglican Finance Committee and the Secretary General of the Anglican Communion (sic) who is also ex officio on the AIA Trust.

The critical question will be: how can or will access to these discretionary funds be used as part of the 'relational consequences' which would, under the proposed Covenant, constitute the leverage of the centre over ostensibly autonomous Provinces?

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