QVS is launching the Clarence and Lilly Pickett Endowment for Quaker Service thanks to the generous seed funding from the Clarence and Lilly Pickett Fund. The Pickett Fund dissolved in 2018 and discerned it would redistribute their remaining endowment funds to other organizations that honor their mission and the Pickett Legacy. QVS was awarded 62% of the funds, which will seed our endowment.

“QVS has already contributed to the growth of Quaker leadership around the country. The Trustees are thrilled to encourage [QVS’s] important efforts to nurture Friends and spiritual leadership in hands-on and grounded ways.”


– Anna Crumley-Effinger on behalf of the Trustees of the Pickett Fund

This is particularly exciting news as we near the close of our eighth program year and wrap up our Rooted, Grounded, Growing fundraising and outreach campaign this July. Read more below about this amazing new chapter and QVS’s work to steward the Legacy of Clarence and Lilly Pickett.

Who were Clarence and Lilly Pickett?

Clarence and Lilly Pickett were Friends who lived during the late 1800s and early to mid 1900s. Both were transformative leaders of our faith tradition.

Clarence Pickett is most well known for his service as executive secretary of American Friends Service Committee (AFSC) beginning in 1929. During his 22 years at AFSC, Clarence Pickett identified the need to support young adult leadership development and spirit-led service, and created the AFSC workcamps in response to that need. Following the dissolution of the workcamps, Wilmer Tjossem, Stephen Cary, and others who were committed to supporting emerging Quaker leaders established the Pickett Fund to carry forth the living tradition of Friends witness.

“Clarence Pickett was an Earlham College professor and pastor whose views on racism, capitalism, and the Christian Gospel were considered too radical by many Friends of the time. When Earlham hesitated on whether to keep him on staff, Clarence answered the call to become the next executive head of AFSC.” – Read more of Clarence Pickett’s story.


Stewarding the Pickett Legacy

The Pickett Fund (also known as the Clarence and Lilly Pickett Endowment for Quaker Leadership) was established in 1991 to encourage the development of Quaker leadership. Inspired by the Picketts’ examples and rooted in Quaker values, the Pickett Fund funded self-chosen projects which nourished leadership among Quakers of all traditions, and which had potential to contribute to our society and the betterment of humankind. In pursuit of this mission, between 1994 and 2019, the Fund provided grants totaling over $325,000 to 150 Friends all across the United States and across the Quaker theological spectrum, including many leaders within QVS:

  • Founding QVS Executive Director, Christina Repoley;
  • Founding QVS board member Noah Merrill, now General Secretary of New England Yearly Meeting;
  • Founding QVS board member Deborah Shaw, recently retired director of the Quaker Leadership Scholars Program at Guilford College;
  • Former QVS board member Evelyn Jadin, now a core teacher in the School of the Spirit Ministry;
  • Former QVS board member Wess Daniels, now Director of Friends Center at Guilford College;
  • Former QVS board member Greg Woods, now Youth Ministries & Education Coordinator at Friends Meeting of Cambridge; and
  • QVS alumni: Liz Nicholson, Carol Anne Ferlauto, Hannah Kunde, Kelsey McNicholas.

This video, featuring QVS Alum Liz Nicholson highlights the Fund’s work to support the leadings of young adult Friends.

Way Opens

At their annual board meeting in March 2018, the Pickett Trustees came to clearness about their need to transition. They affirmed that there are kindred organizations that are doing precisely the work that the Pickett Fund was established to facilitate, and doing it in ways that are vitally alive and directly relevant to the present condition of our religious society. 

In January 2020, the Pickett Trustees announced the following as successor organizations, each of which would receive funds:

  • Quaker Voluntary Service – the whole organization
  • Friends Committee on National Legislation – young adult programming
  • Pendle Hill – Continuing Revolution conference and work with young adult Friends

QVS is excited to share that we received 62% of the dissolved Pickett Fund, which will seed our own endowment. At this time, here are a few things you’ll want to know as a supporter of QVS:

  • The purpose of the endowment is to help ensure the strength and longevity of Quaker Voluntary Service while providing a sustainable source of income for our annual operations.
  • The endowment is invested in accordance with Quaker principles.
  • The endowment was named the Clarence and Lilly Pickett Endowment for Quaker Service in recognition that QVS continues the Pickett legacy of Quaker service for young adults.
  • Quaker Voluntary Service will continue to operate as it always has, with ongoing operations dependent on annual donations and site placement fees supporting the yearly program expenses.
  • The endowment allows QVS supporters to go beyond their annual investment to give “a gift that keeps on giving.” 
  • The endowment provides supporters an opportunity to include Quaker Voluntary Service in their will.
  • The suggested minimum donation to the endowment is $5,000, though we hope that those who are able to will consider contributions or bequests of $15,000 or more.

Claire Hannapel, QVS’s Development Coordinator, will be happy to discuss this wonderful new opportunity with you: [email protected], or by phone: 404-600-1128.

Why Support QVS?

Click the video above to learn from three Friends and QVS Alumni sharing about why they feel led to support the transformative work of Quaker Voluntary Service.

“When we founded Quaker Voluntary Service, we were very clear that this was not just simply to provide one more option for young adults looking to serve, [but] that this was important to do for our Religious Society of Friends.”
Bruce Birchard

Founding Board Member

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