1: What is the purpose of the Pension Boards’ Ministers’ Financial Vitality Initiative (MVFI), and why should I apply?
MFVI is an intentional investment by the Pension Boards in the financial vitality of authorized ministers in the United Church of Christ. The Pension Boards recognizes that many clergy are pouring themselves into various ministry settings and often do not have the time and energy to invest in their personal financial wellness. This program will help eligible participants develop a holistic approach toward managing finances, including reducing debt. This program is also designed to strengthen financial management literacy skills and give ministers the tools and cash incentives they need to move toward a financially vital future.
MFVI is divided into two distinct programs:
- MFVI Program One: Engages a selection of 30 UCC authorized ministers each year for three years, to commit to a three-year personal finance education curriculum, including a yearly financial incentive, and no-cost financial planning and counseling through Ernst & Young Financial Planning Services (EYFPS).
- MFVI Program Two: Helps 100 selected UCC authorized ministers serving in parish/local church settings achieve financial vitality through provision of one-time grants of up to $1,000, with the employing congregations committing to raising a matching amount.
2: What is MFVI’s application criteria Program One?
To qualify as an applicant, you must meet the following criteria:
- Ministerial authorization and standing in the United Church of Christ
- Endorsement from the Association/Conference Minister in which ministerial standing is held
- Endorsement from a lay leader in your ministry setting who will serve as a mentor in achieving established financial goals and milestones
- Seminary or other educational debt, or personal debt
- Be a member of a historically-underrepresented group in the United Church of Christ (e.g., people of color, LGBTQ persons, people living with disabilities, and clergy under 30.)
- Willingness to engage key lay leaders and your ministry setting in education on financial stewardship, and to set a baseline goal for increased giving
- Invest reasonable time and energy into MFVI
3: What are the components MFVI Program One?
MFVI Program One consists of a required three-year curriculum that will include meetings with a certified financial planner through Ernst & Young Financial Planning Services (EYFPS), and an established lay financial mentor that you identify to keep you accountable throughout the program. As a participant, you will have access to several online resource tools and financial worksheets. We ask for a commitment from participants to utilize their learnings to enhance the stewardship capacity of their various ministry settings. Any authorized UCC minister from a historically-underrepresented group is eligible to apply. Participants also receive a yearly cash award for the completion of programmatic milestones. Please view the three-year financial wellness curriculum for MFVI Program One.
Please view the three-year financial wellness curriculum for MFVI Program One.
4: As a UCC authorized minister, what outcomes should I expect to come away with after the three years in MFVI Program One?
The goal for MFVI program participants is to strengthen their ability to make confident, well-informed money-related decisions resulting in financial security for both the short- and long- term.
5: What is MFVI Program Two and how does it differ from Program One?
MFVI Program Two is designed to help 100 selected UCC authorized ministers achieve financial vitality through the provision of a one-time grant of up to $1,000 to assist local pastors in paying off educational or other debt, or to help set up an emergency fund or other savings. The one-time grant is only available to applicants whose employing congregations commit to raising a matching amount.
- MFVI Program Two does not have a required curriculum as does Program One and does not require working with a lay mentor.
As a MFVI Program Two grant recipient, you will not participate in the financial vitality curriculum through Ernst & Young. However, if you are an actively-contributing member of the Annuity Plan, you will continue to have access to financial planning resources through EYFPS.
6: What is the application criteria for MFVI Program Two?
- Ministerial authorization and standing in an Association or Conference of the United Church of Christ
- Endorsement from the Association/Conference Minister of the Association or Conference in which ministerial standing is held
- Must work with the employing congregation to raise the matching grant amount.
- Must be a local church pastor with seminary or other educational debt, or personal debt
- Commit to dialoging with the employing church around stewardship and financial vitality.
7: Is MFVI Program One a prerequisite for MFVI Program Two?
Participants may select either Program One or Program Two, and are ineligible to participate in both programs.
8: What are some of the benefits of participation in MFVI Program One?
MFVI Program One participants will have access to:
- A cohort of 30 pastoral leaders from various ministry settings in the life of the church
- Confidential financial counseling and coaching from certified Ernst and Young financial planners
- The Ernst and Young Financial Planning Center® (EYFPC), an online tool where participants can learn about financial planning topics; evaluate personal financial situations with calculators; take questionnaires; or utilize other personal assessment tools; and create a financial wellness plan
- Financial incentives for achieving milestones and learning goals
- Regular social media engagement
9: What are the benefits of applying for MFVI Program Two?
Becoming a recipient of a one-time grant of up to $1,000 is the benefit of MFVI Program Two. If eligible, participants may use their grant funds and those matched by their congregation to alleviate any outstanding personal/educational debt or to set up emergency savings. It is also an opportunity to raise awareness on the importance of financial vitality within your congregation.
10: How often will Ernst & Young financial planners be available? What are the boundaries to using this service? Can I get help with my church’s finances?
The Ernst and Young Financial Planner Line® (EYFPL) is an important part of the MFVI Program One. With EYFPL, you have unlimited, toll-free access to financial counseling over the phone. EYFPL financial planners will help answer your financial questions, and educate you on all your money-related needs and goals. There is no limit on the number of calls you can make. The specific purpose of the MFVI Program is to focus on the personal financial vitality of authorized UCC ministers with the hope that these tools can strengthen their leadership around church stewardship. However, EYFPL cannot be used to manage church finances.
The financial planners deliver independent, objective, and confidential financial education and counseling, and can assist with the following personal financial services:
- Planning for retirement
- Determining how much to save
- Making investment decisions
- Understanding tax issues
- Insurance needs and options
- Buying a home or car
- Financing college education, and more
11: What are some of the financial wellness tools offered through MFVI?
As an MFVI Program One participant, you will have access to a dedicated Ernst and Young Financial Planning Center® (EYFPC) website, a comprehensive and financial resource tool that will provide:
- Guided financial education
- EY Financial Wellness Assessment with prescriptive action items
- Step-by-step guidance maps for managing life events
- User-friendly, interactive calculators
- Media library with on-demand webinars and short animated videos
- Chat support
- One-on-one financial counseling
- Dedicated phone support with experienced, credentialed financial counselors through EY Financial Planner Line® (EYFPL)
- Personal financial reports
- Collaborative browsing support through the EY Financial Planning Center® (EYFPC)