The Black Health Care Coalition has launched a GoFundMe effort to support the National Baptist Convention coming to Kansas City in early September.
The effort comes after a lawsuit from an atheists group challenged the use of taxpayer dollars to support the convention, which will be held Sept. 5-9 in Kansas City.
The lawsuit challenged a City Council vote in April to award $65,000 in tourism tax dollars to Rev. John Modest Miles and Modest Miles Ministry. Miles had hoped to use the money to transport conventioneers from area hotels to Bartle Hall for the convention. But the city says no contract has been signed to spend the money, because it has not received assurances that the money will be for secular purposes not related to a religious convention.
City officials have said there will be an effort to raise private dollars to replace the public funding.
The health care coalition has established a GoFundMe page at gofundme.com/faithlives2016.
Coalition officials said the church is the oldest social-service organization in history. It said the National Baptist Convention will have a significant social-service agenda at its Kansas City gathering.
The coalition will provide numerous health care services at the convention this year, Black Health Care Coalition president Melissa Robinson said in a statement.
“The convention has a social justice and social service agenda that we cannot ignore,” she said. “They are working on a criminal justice agenda, disaster relief, housing and health. We feel compelled to support these efforts.”