Millis Fund to Launch Annual Fund Drive

J.D. O’Gara
Issue Date: 
February, 2019
Article Body: 

What does it mean to help your neighbor?
Organizers of the Millis Fund know it as being there to help your neighbors in their time of need. In fact, that’s just why the Millis Fund was created. The small nonprofit has helped over 400 families out of critical financial crises, due to such issues as illness, accidents, and family issues, since it was begun 25 years ago, says Brooks Corl, who is entering his 19th year as treasurer for the organization.
Established in 1994, the Millis Fund was created by volunteers from four houses of worship in Millis –St. Thomas the Apostle Parish, Ael Chunon Congregation, St. Paul’s Episcopal Church (which is now closed) and the Church of Christ, Congregational.
The fund is supported through private donations to provide emergency financial aid to Millis residents, for such items as rent, utilities, medical costs, fuel, clothing and other emergency needs.
“The Millis Fund helps Millis families with financial emergencies - usually arising from something unexpected and short-term,” says Corl.” It’s everything; it’s rent, it’s medical, it’s utilities – when utilities become futilities.” Corl adds that many events can contribute to a sudden emergency need.
“It’s not hard for an illness, an accident, or some other sort of financial emergency or family problem, things that are generally very much unforeseeable, to tip the scales,” he says.
Corl points out that some founding principles of the Millis Fund are complete confidentiality for the family needing help, that the fund pays the creditor owed, that it does not help any family more than once per year, (and rarely would it support any one family more than three times overall,) and that The Millis Fund is designed to relieve temporary financial emergencies only, not chronic needs.
The nine members of the Board of Directors meet about four or five times a year to plan the fund drive, create the materials and review the applications. The annual mailing is also donated, so just about all of the funds donated to The Millis Fund benefit Millis residents. Board members take care to personally contact each applicant.
”The average need has continued to rise a bit year to year. Living in general has gotten more expensive, even for a small town like Millis,” says Corl.
This month, the Millis Fund holds its annual drive throughout Millis, traditionally centering around the NFL’s Super Bowl Sunday – this year on February 3rd. Contributions are welcomed at any time, however. (Originally, a soup bowl was literally passed through places of worship to gather contributions for the fund.)
Millis residents can apply for assistance with a simple, one-page application, up to once a year. These are available at the Millis Senior Center or the Church of Christ (Congregational) at 142 Exchange St., says Corl, neither of which is affiliated with the organization.
If you would like to help your fellow residents in need, you can send your donation to:
The Millis Fund, 142 Exchange Street, Millis, MA 02054.
The fund is a 501 (c3) organization and will provide a letter of thanks, which could serve as a receipt.