In 1980 the Church of the Nazarene re-purposed its response to global “hunger and disaster” as Nazarene Compassionate Ministries (NCM). The “Hunger and Disaster Fund” became the Compassionate Ministry Fund. This was more than a name change. It represented an intentional, organized effort to alleviate human suffering caused by global poverty.
These changes affirmed the Church of the Nazarene’s belief that faithful discipleship to the life and teachings of Jesus requires action to respond with compassion to human suffering, whatever its cause.
NCM continued its response to suffering caused by natural disasters - volcanoes, earthquakes, floods and fires. In addition, consistent with its historic missions of mercy, primarily medical missions, the Church of the Nazarene through NCM encouraged organized efforts to alleviate if not end extreme poverty in underdeveloped countries.
NCM recognized and supported efforts to relieve suffering and poverty in the midst of wealth in the United States and other developed countries.
A decade later in 1990 the Church of the Nazarene created a separate support organization, Nazarene Compassionate Ministries, Inc. (NCM Inc.), a nonprofit, United States tax-deductible corporation with board members elected annually by the General Board, to attract funds from sources such as the United States government, foundations and corporations which would not grant funds to the Church of the Nazarene’s ministries of compassion. Similar so-called “resource partners” have been created in other worlds areas.
While NCM Inc., and other resource partners are legally separate and their board members have legal and fiduciary responsibility to their entities, they are connected to and in support of the Church of the Nazarene’s mission to respond to human suffering and lift people out of poverty even as the Church seeks to bring them to faith in Christ and fellowship in the Church of the Nazarene.
As a 509(a)(3) “supporting” organization as well as a 501(c)(3) approved by the IRS for tax-deductible contributions, including grants from the U.S. government, NCM Inc., has no separate or independent reason for existence. It exists only to support and at times facilitate missions and projects initiated by the Church of the Nazarene.
While NCM and NCM Inc. have been organized by the Church of the Nazarene for the same end, they are necessarily distinct.
NCM exists as the relief and development arm of the Church of the Nazarene. As such it organizes responses to natural disasters, designs programs such as Child Sponsorship and HIV/AIDS prevention and treatment and NDR (Nazarene Disaster Response). It deploys staff and volunteers to various Nazarene church agencies including approved nonprofits and NGOs.
Internationally, NCM sponsors a network of 30 non-government organizations (NGOs) and domestically over 170 faith-based organizations (FBOs) developing humanitarian projects to address poverty issues.
NCM may be thought of as promoting faith to end poverty while the NCM Inc. motto is “challenged by faith to end poverty.” The difference recognizes that funds from U.S. government agencies received by NCM Inc. cannot be used to promote faith, or what is called proselytization. Nevertheless, it is appropriate for NCM Inc. to acknowledge the faith that inspires people to volunteer and contribute to end suffering caused by poverty. NCM and NCM Inc. are motivated by the conviction that empathy and compassion are moral mandates for the common good.
NCM Inc. exits to support missions and projects initiated by the Church of the Nazarene, thus having the role as an intermediary. As an intermediary, NCM Inc. has the capacity to identify sources of significant funding and facilitates that funding for NCM’s network of agencies and their projects.
In certain instances NCM Inc. may be asked or required to perform activities and/or employ personnel to support and lead a mission.
NCM Inc. as an Intermediary
When NCM Inc. agrees to accept funds from the U.S. government agencies or other agencies, it acts as an intermediary guaranteeing that funds are used for their intended purpose. This places responsibility on NCM Inc. for “M&E” - Monitoring and Evaluation. Field personnel understand that NCM Inc. representatives are necessarily required to audit financial records, observe the delivery of services and record outcomes.
Unlike other faith-based intermediaries, which functions as parallel or para-church organizations, NCM Inc. is committed to working with and through the existing infrastructure of the Church of the Nazarene.