Purchasing an AED for Church

The unfortunate reality is that churches, synagogues, mosques, temples, and nearly all other faith-based organizations operate with a constrained budget. As a result, even if your church wanted to purchase an Automated External Defibrillator (AED) for its facilities, the budget simply may not allow for it since AEDs are undeniably expensive. 

However, the cost of AEDs doesn’t eliminate the clear need to have these devices to protect your community. Since faith-based organizations can have hundreds if not thousands of people walking their halls on a weekly basis, it’s inevitable and unfortunate that someone will eventually go into SCA at your facilities. It may not be today, tomorrow, next month, or even this year…but the odds are high that it will happen eventually. When the day comes, the excuse that a church opted to save money, and therefore not protect their members, becomes inexcusable.

If your organization is unable to afford an AED from its own operating budget, we’ve outlined a few ideas that have been used by other faith-based organizations to get AEDs funded for their facilities. 

We hope these resources provide everything you need to know to buy a life-saving AED.

Pursue “Local” Grants & Sponsorship from Non-Profits or Companies: 

Instead of applying for grants from larger national organizations, we recommend that you apply for grants and sponsorship from local organizations since they are likely to have a more tangible and personal connection to your community. 

“Are there any business owners or employees at local companies who are part of your congregation?” If there are, ask them for support to make their place of worship safer! These local organizations often want to support impactful endeavors in their own backyard.

A couple of great examples of how local organizations have funded AEDs for churches are: 

  • In Jackson, TN – a local non-profit called Friends of Heart and a local company called Master Medical Equipment jointly donated an AED to Presbyterian Day School and Church in Jackson, TN 
  • In Newton, IA – a local non-profit called the Iowa Heart Foundation donated an AED to a church in the community called Bar None Cowboy Church.

These are just a couple of many examples that exist! So how can you implement this strategy?

  1. Reach out to your congregation to learn if there are any local organizations that would be interested in donating funds for an AED. Remember to tell them their funds will be used to purchase important equipment that will keep them, their families, friends, and community members safe from one of the leading causes of death in the U.S. 
  2. Also, research if there are any local non-profits working on Sudden Cardiac Death prevention in your state. These non-profits are exclusively focused on helping equip organizations such as yours with AEDs.

Partner with the Local Health System, Hospital, or Medical Practices:

Most health systems and/or local hospitals have community outreach teams that are both willing and often required to give back to the local community. Protecting the lives of their community members by donating AEDs to faith-based communities fits perfectly within the wheelhouse of initiatives that a healthcare system should want to fund!

There are many instances in which healthcare systems have funded AEDs for churches, and here are a few examples:

  • Since 2017, Mercy Medical Center in Cedar Rapids has donated more than 70 AEDs to their local community, many of which were to churches
  • The Hugh Chatham Memorial Hospital Foundation donated more than 30 AEDs to non-profit and religious organizations across Yadkin County in North Carolina. The Hospital’s Stroke and Education Coordinator felt this program was very important for their community because, “by more widely distributing defibrillators in local communities and training more people in how to do CPR and use AEDs, we can create more ‘heart safe’ communities.” And while the coordinator acknowledges that AEDs are expensive, she feels even more strongly that the expense is well worth it as, “the value of saving a life is priceless”
  • St. Elizabeth’s Hospital in O’Fallon, Illinois donated an AED to Enjoy Church located in the local community. As reported by local news, when asked about the impact this makes in the community, the CEO of the hospital said, “We always hope that they won’t ever be needed, but if we can help provide the equipment so area citizens can help save a life, then it is definitely worth it”
  • Heartland Cardiology has donated numerous AEDs to churches within the Wichita, Kansas community 

How can you implement this strategy? 

  1. Create a list of all local hospitals, health systems, and cardiology focused medical practices  
  2. Go to all of their websites to:
    1. Learn whether they have an affiliated foundation through which they provide grants and donations. If they do, reach out or fill out an online application!
    2. If not, then try to find the contact information for their “Outreach” or “Community Engagement” Director with a request for funds to equip your faith-based organization with AEDs

Apply for Grants from “Like-Minded” National Corporations

If you’re unable to secure funding for AEDs from local organizations, then it’s worth applying for grants from larger or national organizations whose core mission aligns with your need to equip your church or other faith-based organization with these life-saving devices.  

A great example of a corporation that meets this criterion is the Firehouse Subs Public Safety Foundation, and according to their website, their mission is to impact the lifesaving capabilities and the lives of local heroes and their communities. This is accomplished by providing lifesaving equipment and prevention education tools to first responders and public safety organizations.”

In addition, there are numerous grants available online that are specifically focused on providing funds for AEDs to community-based organizations that are not community or region-specific. 

Organize a Fundraiser

And lastly, you can always work with your congregation to organize a fundraiser! A few ideas for fundraisers to raise money for an AED are:

  • Host a paid event or carnival for families of your congregation and the community at large
  • Host an auction where your congregants donate novel items, and start bidding wars!
  • Host bake sales after weekly services 
  • Use a crowdfunding platform such as GotAED, and widely share the link about the initiative with your congregation

If properly educated about Sudden Cardiac Arrest and the importance of having AEDs readily accessible, your congregation and community will certainly band together to ensure that everyone is safe from cardiac arrest at their respective churches, synagogues, mosques, temples, and other faith-based organizations!

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