A Ministry Update from Rev. Tim Anderson, Director of Community Development for Austin City Lutherans
Thanks be to God, Mariposa Family Learning Center survived an obstacle-laden first year and currently serves upwards of ten toddlers and their families with high-quality childcare and a “2-Gen Parent” program in SE Austin. I also extend gratitude to faithful ACL congregations and individual funders, a timely PPP loan, and new funders outside the ACL network who and which helped Mariposa weather the storms of 2020. The pandemic-induced difficulties have now started to diminish, and Mariposa FLC is poised to carry out the next expansion of its services, doubling capacity, by the fall of 2020.
As some of you will remember, Mariposa’s board hired a part-time director of advancement in December to develop a sustained funding model. That hire didn’t work out due to unforeseen circumstances, and the board has asked me to temporarily take on additional duties related to fundraising. Eventually, the board will seek out a permanent director of advancement when the time is right.
I’m happy to be able to serve Mariposa at this time to help the organization establish a sustained funding model. I continue to serve as ACL’s director of community development, which also includes coordinating Mariposa’s 2-Gen Parent effort and promoting Mariposa’s mission in the broader Austin community. My duties with Bread For All, including the goal of expanding its ministry efforts alongside those experiencing economic difficulties, remain intact. I’m inspired by the commitment of Pastor Brad Highum of Abiding Love who continues to provide excellent leadership as ACL board president.
By design, Mariposa FLC has its own governing board led by Pastor Tom Grevlos of Shepherd of the Hills, another congregation of the ACL network. This allows Mariposa to be supported by varying streams of funding and, importantly, for the organization to grow ownership roots in the Montopolis community.
That said, Mariposa and ACL maintain an inseparable bond, sharing ministry and mission goals, and claim an ever-widening pool of resources, contacts and volunteers.
Mariposa, under the leadership of its director, Sheila Pharis, is committed to providing high-quality childcare and parent programming for low-income families. This type of programming – typically scarce – is made available for Mariposa families because of the organization’s commitment to a subsidized-tuition model.
The sustained funding initiative for Mariposa FLC that undergirds this model consists of supporting congregations and individuals (part of and outside the ACL network), community and corporate partners, an annual appeal, spring and fall fundraising events, and grant-writing efforts.
In April 2017 at an ACL summit meeting, the idea of providing high-quality early childhood education for low-income children in SE Austin emerged like a green springtime shoot from a dry, brown and wintered rose stalk. At that meeting, as participants considered the impending death of ACL congregation Prince of Peace in SE Austin, the possibility of new life blossomed.
We are believers in the cycle of death and resurrection. Through the hard work, commitment, and vision-keeping of more than one hundred ACL supporters and partners, Mariposa FLC is blooming beautifully in SE Austin. More tilling and weeding of the soil is needed, as is deep digging to expand the garden’s parameters. Many more will come to this rose garden. You’re invited to come and work the garden, and in the process, to smell the roses and see the butterflies – las mariposas – flutter.