FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

What is Samaritan Ministry?

A community partnership bringing together people who are homeless and others in need in Greater Washington with support and volunteers from Episcopal and other churches in a joint effort to improve the lives of all. Samaritan Ministry pursues that goal by: 

  • Promoting awareness of community needs
  • Fostering partnerships at all levels
  • Breaking down barriers imposed by poverty, and
  • Developing participants

What services do you provide?
Samaritan Ministry’s Next Step program helps people who are homeless and others in need set goals and take steps toward these goals in a supportive environment of coaching and services. Samaritan Ministry offers: employment services, social services and HIV/AIDS Services.

Do participants have to apply for your services?
No, but we do ask prospective participants to: view a short video about the Next Step Program to help them decide whether they wish to participate; complete an enrollment form used by caseworkers during intake interviews to help participants identify needs/issues, priorities, goals, next steps, etc.; and  agree to follow program guidelines. Participants must continue to meet with their caseworkers and work on their steps in order to remain a participant. 

How do people find out about you?
Primarily by word of mouth from other participants and by referrals from other social service agencies. Some participants find out about us from advertising, from brochures (distributed by other agencies, partner parishes, etc.), and from our own staff who speak to groups of prospective participants at meal programs, shelters, transitional housing programs and other locations. 

Are you a religious organization?
As our name suggests, we are a faith-based organization, and many of our staff and volunteers feel called to this work by their faith, but there are no religious requirements for participation in our program. We do not proselytize or encourage participants to attend any particular church or religious service, and we do not provide unrequested religious materials.

How many people come to SMGW offices/how many people does SMGW serve?
Last we had more than 6,000 visits by people seeking employment services, social services and HIV/AIDS services.  We serve everyone who comes to us wanting to make changes in their life; we turn no one away. 

How many people get jobs each year?
Generally between 160 and 180 get jobs. Sometimes as soon as someone gets a job, we lose touch with them, so we don’t really know how many others have found jobs. However, in the past year another 213 completed resumes and 168 were screened for food stamps.

How many people get housing each year?
Generally about 50 that we know of.  Sometimes we lose touch with people once they find jobs and then find housing they can afford.  Others improve their housing situation while working with us (e.g. moving from a shelter to transitional housing, but not an apartment of their own).

What is your success rate/retention rate/results of your program?
We measure our success both by the success of our staff in providing the encouragement and support that participants need and by the success of participants in setting and taking next steps toward their goals. 

A participant survey conducted in 2010 found that nearly all participants feel that they get the encouragement and support that they needed and that they were able to set and take next steps towards their goals.  On average, participants each set and take 4-5 significant next steps during their time on the program. In 2009-2010 participants made 6,132 visits to SMGW and completed 7,676 steps.

What are the demographics of the people you serve?
In terms of race, ethnicity, homeless, and ex offender, our demographics are as follows:

Age

  • Over 65 – 2.3%
  • 41-65 – 72.2%
  • 26-40 – 18.6%
  • 18-25 – 6.9%

Race

  • African American – 85.9%
  • Hispanic – 1.9%
  • White – 6.8%
  • Other – 5.4%

Ex-offender participants – 45%

Homeless Participants – 70%

How is the economic situation impacting your organization?
We have seen an increase in the number of participants seeking our services because of the economy and a desire to change their lives. In spite of our rocky economy, many Samaritan Ministry of Greater Washington volunteers and donors increased their support for us and for our Next Step Program. This helped soften the impact of losing some grants from federal and local agencies because of their changing priorities.

What volunteer opportunities do you have?
We have lots of different volunteer opportunities ranging from working with participants one-on-one, helping with fundraising or special events, serving on various committees. Volunteers are critical to our success.

Because we rely heavily on volunteers to provide as many services as we do, we are careful to ensure that volunteers have well thought-out jobs that are meaningful, satisfying and rewarding.

Our director of communications and volunteers interviews all prospective volunteers, explores possible assignments and helps ensure a good match of volunteer and job.

In 2009-2010, 6,062 volunteers donated 28,794 hours of service during the year.

What is amount of operating budget?
Just over $1 million, although donations of in-kind goods and services amount to about $500,000 or more.

Where do donations go?
82 percent of our budget goes to program services. That includes in-kind contributed goods and services. 18 percent goes to administrative and fundraising costs.

What are your primary funding sources?
Samaritan Ministry has a broad and diversified funding base including partner parish contributions, individual and other organization donations, foundation grants, government grants and contracts, and income from special events and a small endowment.

What is a partner parish?
Partner parishes are congregations that participate in Samaritan Ministry’s work, often as an extension of their own outreach ministries, by sharing Samaritan Ministry’s news with their parishioners, by sponsoring Samaritan Ministry related events and by making contributions, both financial and in-kind, to the ministry’s program.  Individual parishioners are encouraged to participate in the ministry’s program and special events, and to enjoy the benefits of volunteering and supporting the program in any number of different ways.

Is Samaritan Ministry rated by any of the charity rating services, and if so, which ones?

  • The Catalogue for Philanthropy rates Samaritan Ministry as one of the best small non-profits in the Washington area.
  • Samaritan Ministry is “highly rated” (i.e. 3 stars) by Charity Navigator
  • Samaritan Ministry is recognized as a Jubliee Ministry by the national Episcopal Church.

Are your most recent audit and 990 available for review?
They are on our website. We also mail one to you at your request

Is your Board compensated in any way (stipend, travel, etc.)?
No. Our Board serves without any form of compensation and generally pays their own expenses.

Do you provide cash to participants?
No. We do provide some limited financial support for participants to assist them in taking next steps toward their goals, but payments are always made to a third party (e.g. DMV for driver’s license, bus tokens).

Do you have a written, clear and enforced conflict of interest policy about vendors, participants and staff?
Yes, as well as for board members. Copies of the policy are available upon request. 

How many full time paid employees does SMGW have?
We have 9 full-time paid staff, plus four stipended intern caseworkers

We also have anywhere from 30 to 40 part-time, unpaid staff (volunteers) who work with us on a regular basis, many at least one morning a week. Hundreds of others work with us on and off during the year.