Celebrating our past; building our future.
What is VISIONFUND300?
We at Rocky Hill Congregational Church will celebrate our 300th birthday in 2027! How special is that? Yet, while we celebrate our long history, our focus is firmly on the future.
We are proud of our history, while also being very conscious of the need to equip our church for the future. Times are changing, and we must respond to those changes so that we can be the active and engaged “church of the future” that we feel called to be.
VISIONFUND300, a “Capital Plus” fundraising campaign, is one way for us to help pave the way to the future. This campaign will help us start our next 300 years with our building and facilities in top condition and a more welcoming and visible presence in Rocky Hill and beyond. With this base, we plan to expand our programs to change lives through our outreach efforts, our nurturing programs, our learning and growing ministries, and our work for justice and equity.
What does “Capital Plus” mean?
VISIONFUND300 is not about one single project. It is a combination of both capital projects plus vision projects.
Capital projects include some large restoration projects in our historic meeting house and facilities, as well as modernization, energy efficiency, and welcoming improvements.
But we all know that the church is not just about the buildings and grounds. Vision projects relate to our basic purpose as a church community — serving God by loving our neighbor (all of our neighbors) and being a loving and welcoming community to all. We work along with other ministry partners to provide food, shelter and other comfort to those without basic human needs. We also work for justice, we nurture our children and youth, and we create a safe and caring community that can sustain and nurture us all.
Our many ministries change lives. We want to expand our ability to act for love and justice in all that we do. We plan a strong start for our NEXT 300 years.
It is clear to us that if we want to continue to grow and thrive, we need to invest now. Our Memorial Fund and annual budget are not sufficient to carry out all of the restoration items on our list or to support all the items of our vision. Necessary capital projects include some restoration of historic features, as well as projects focused on making our facilities more attractive, accommodating, energy efficient, and welcoming. See the letter from our new Pastor.
“We plan a strong start for our NEXT 300 years.”
At a special Congregational meeting on April 2, 2023, the congregation voted to initiate a fundraising campaign, which we are calling VISIONFUND300. The various projects and ministry initiatives will be completed over the next three to five years, and we are hoping to complete many of them before 2027, our “milestone” birthday year.
NOTE: While the list indicates our current priorities, our project list is a living document. As conditions and opportunities evolve, we may need to revise our priorities to meet more pressing needs.
Who we are
Rocky Hill Congregational Church was founded in 1727 — before Rocky Hill was a town, Connecticut was a state, or the United States was a country. For almost 300 years we have been engaged in the business of carrying out ministry to the people of Rocky Hill and far beyond.
While we are almost three centuries old, our faith, thinking and commitments are definitely twenty-first century. We have been an open and affirming family of faith for over 15 years and have a renewed and energized commitment to taking meaningful action for justice and equity.
No matter who you are, or where you are on life’s journey, you are welcome here.
Our basic goal is $750,000 with a stretch goal of $900,000. While many of the donations will come from church members and active friends of the church, we also hope to reach out to our wider community for support.
Our projects fall into one of three general categories.
To maintain our historic meeting house for future generations
To modernize our facilities and make them more energy efficient and welcoming
To expand our ministries in support of our vision
View a list of our current project priorities and estimated costs [PDF].
While the list indicates our current priorities, our project list is a living document. As conditions and opportunities evolve, we may need to revise our priorities to meet more pressing needs.
Frequently asked questions
What is VISIONFUND300?
VISIONFUND300, a “Capital Plus” fundraising campaign, will help us start our next 300 years with our building and facilities in top condition, a more welcoming and visible presence in Rocky Hill and beyond, and expanded programs to change lives through our outreach efforts, our nurturing programs, our learning and growing ministries, and our work for justice and equity.
Why are we having a Capital Plus Campaign?
A successful Capital Plus Campaign will make it possible to do needed structural repairs. It will allow us to modernize our church to be more efficient and environmentally responsible. And it will also provide seed money to expand our programming. Our church has changed lives for 300 years. We are making sure it can continue doing so for 300 more.
Have we ever done something like this before?
Yes, twice in the last 30 years. You have likely used the resulting improvements yourself. From 1993–1998 we raised $825,000 for the rear addition to the parish house. Then from 2006–2008 we raised over $600,000 to renovate and upgrade Chapin Hall.
For three major reasons: To make the necessary repairs to our historic meeting house, to bolster our endowment fund for future capital and programming improvements, and to make sure we can carry out some of the improvements before our 300th anniversary in 2027.
What is our campaign goal?
The campaign fundraising goal is $750,000 with a stretch goal of $900,000.
How can I support the campaign?
You can support the campaign by completing a Letter of Intent. The Letter of Intent is your confirmation of your desire to donate funds (including stock, retirement, or other funds) to the project over the next three years.
When is the campaign happening?
The official kick-off of the campaign was on July 13, 2023, with a Zoom meeting of the Campaign Executive Team (CET). All campaign volunteers were commissioned in our worship service on August 6.
When will I need to make my commitment?
You can make your commitment any time before October 8, 2023. Our goal is to receive Letters of Intent (commitments to donate funds) from all supporters prior to the Campaign Celebration Service on October 22.
How much time do I have to fulfill my commitment?
Payments may be made over a three year period from October 2023 to October 2026. They may be made annually, quarterly or monthly. See Ways to Give for more information.
Is a Capital Campaign contribution separate from our regular, annual pledge?
Yes, it is a separate campaign and should not affect your annual pledge. As with all donations to our church, your contribution to the Capital Campaign offers tax advantages. It is always a good idea to consult your tax accountant or financial planner for details on your personal situation.
What if my situation changes and I am unable to completely fulfill my commitment?
How do I make a commitment?
Please see How Can I Give? above. You’ll return your Letter of Intent to the church office (attention Dave Hall or Deb Copes) prior to Celebration Sunday to indicate your campaign commitment. Even if you feel yourself to be unable to make any commitment at this time, we would like you to return your Letter of Intent, so that everyone has a chance to be part of the campaign, no matter their ability to give.
Who has access to the campaign giving records?
The church treasurer and financial secretary are the only people with access to the campaign giving records.
Does the church anticipate the need for any additional fundraising or borrowing beyond the Capital Campaign?
While we cannot predict natural disasters or future congregational decisions, we do not anticipate any need for additional fundraising in the foreseeable future. We also don’t anticipate the need for financing from a financial institution, other than the unlikely possibility of a short-term bridge loan.
Will all this fundraising come from the Congregation?
Although we assume that much of it will come from our large extended church family, we also plan to cast a wide net for this fundraising effort and solicit donations from our wider community and teaming partners community as well.
Why do we need the UCC fundraising consultant and what is the cost?
The consultant, Jill White from Capital Campaign Services, UCC Church Building and Loan Fund, is helping to ensure that we achieve the optimal result from our campaign. She is guiding us to follow best practices based on her extensive experience of success in working with other churches. In addition, the Service’s vast array of resources and sample materials are available to us. The fee is less than 3% of the total campaign goal.
Can funds given to the campaign be used for anything else?
No. The congregation has approved this campaign to fund a list of priority projects relating to a) preserving and maintaining our historic Meeting House and other facilities, b) making our facilities more modern, efficient, environmentally sound, and welcoming, and c) enhancing and expanding our ministries and programs. As our world evolves, other situations could arise which affect the priority of projects, but only projects that fall into the above categories would be funded with VISIONFUND300 donations.
What will happen if funds given to the VisionFund300 campaign exceed our $900,000 goal?
This would be a wonderful outcome! Until the projects on our current list are completed, there is still the possibility that related issues needing funding may arise. Funds remaining upon completion of the entire project list would be placed in a dedicated account that can only be used for other Capital projects. Any significant undertaking would require additional approval from the Facilities Ministry and Church Council, and any project costing over $35,000 would require a congregational vote.
$750,000 to $900,000 is a lot of money; can we do it?
Yes, with your help we can! We believe this undertaking is possible due to the success of our church’s previous capital campaigns and a positive assessment from our consultant. To kickstart the campaign, the council has voted to assign $65,000 of previous bequests, and the congregation has already received early gifts totaling $400,000. Together these contributions put us more than halfway to our goal.
How can I learn more about the campaign and its projects?
We will be hosting group meetings over the next couple of months for members and friends to give you an opportunity to ask questions and to hear more about the campaign.
Ways to give
Other than giving an outright cash gift, there are many creative and tax-efficient ways to provide a generous pledge to our capital plus campaign.
Cash, check, or bank transfer
A gift of appreciated securities
You can transfer shares of appreciated stock electronically from your brokerage account directly into the church’s account. You do not realize and pay taxes on the gain associated with the transfer. You provide your financial institution with a Letter of Instruction containing the name of the church, the church account number, and DTC number, all of which you can obtain from the church treasurer. Remember to ask your financial institution to identify you as the donor so that you receive both the credit for the gift and the official acknowledgement letter from the church.
Qualified charitable distributions
You may take such a distribution from an IRA, SEP IRA, or SIMPLE IRA. This distribution is not included in your taxable income.
You must be 70½ or older at the time of the gift.
The distribution check from the IRA must be payable to the qualified charity.
The maximum annual amount that you can take as Qualified Charitable Deductions is $100,000. A spouse can also take this amount.
Since the gift is not included in the donor’s gross income, no charitable income tax-deduction is allowed for the gift.
The distribution will count toward the IRA owner’s Required Minimum Distribution.
You could name Rocky Hill Congregational Church UCC either as the beneficiary or as the owner and beneficiary of the policy. You could also contribute a paid-up policy to the church, naming the church as owner and beneficiary. The church may then take the policy’s cash value as a campaign gift.
Sell jewelry, artwork, or real estate
You may have appreciated assets such as jewelry, art, or property that you would like to sell and donate the proceeds to the church. Special arrangements may need to be made with regard to real estate to avoid capital gains tax. Contact your tax advisor or attorney to discuss this further.
You might consider naming Rocky Hill Congregational Church UCC as the beneficiary on a retirement account. This would include Traditional, SEP, and SIMPLE IRAs, Roth IRAs, and any qualified plan that you have through current or former employers.
Bequest by will
You could designate Rocky Hill Congregational Church UCC as primary or contingent beneficiary. Bequest language may be as follows:
Specific Dollar Amount
“I give, devise, and bequeath to Rocky Hill Congregational Church United Church of Christ of Rocky Hill, CT the sum of _____ dollars ($ _____ ) [or other specifically described personal or real property] for its general uses and purposes.” [A bequest for a particular purpose may be made by the addition of words either naming the Board, Committee, a specific program or ministry within RHCC UCC to be benefitted, or describing the purpose or area of work for which the bequest is to be used.]
“I give, devise, and bequeath to Rocky Hill Congregational Church United Church of Christ of Rocky Hill, CT, an amount equal to _____ percent ( _____%) of the value of the assets covered by my will at the time of my death for its general uses and purposes” [or particular purpose — see above].
A charitable trust may be one of two types:
With a Charitable Lead Trust, you transfer property to a trust that is set up to benefit the church. The church receives the income from the trust for a set period of years (or the life of the donor), after which the remaining assets are passed back to the donor or a beneficiary.
A Charitable Remainder Trust is the mirror opposite. The trust pays the donor or a beneficiary an income for life or a set period. The trust then ends, and the church receives all remaining assets.
For up-to-date campaign information, return to this page. Please note that the information included above does not constitute legal advice. The Campaign Executive Team encourages you to consult with your accountant and/or legal advisor as you consider making your generous commitment to RHCC’s capital-plus campaign through any of the ways to give that are cited in this document.
If you would like additional information about any of the above-mentioned ways to give, please fill out this form and return it to the church office. Thank you for being a part of Rocky Hill Congregational Church.