Wheat Ridge Ministries Awards Five New GrantsPLUS Grants Totaling $220,000

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Itasca, IL – Wheat Ridge Ministries recently approved five grants totaling $220,000 that will assist inspired leaders who are serving others and sharing health and hope. The GrantsPlus Program supports new and innovative health and human care programs led by congregations and nonprofit organizations affiliated with the Lutheran community. Grants range from $5,000 to $50,000 over two to three years. GrantsPlus recipients participate in capacity-building activities offered by Wheat Ridge during the term of the grant, including webinars, convening events, workshops or consultations.

The five new grant recipients are:

Advanced Manufacturing Training (AMT) Program
Bethel New Life, Chicago, IL
Grant Amount – $40,000

Bethel New Life plans to expand its Advanced Manufacturing Training (AMT) program, a comprehensive job training program that helps low-income individuals on the West Side of Chicago who are unemployed, underemployed, or formerly incarcerated, to improve their ability to compete for living-wage jobs and careers. The AMT program prepares these individuals for skilled jobs through a combination of employment readiness training, academic skills enhancement, life skills and behavioral change coaching, financial literacy training, and high-demand computerized numerical control operator training, and then connects them to jobs through industry and business association partnerships. Once they are in a job, individuals continue to receive career and financial management support, including financial literacy, homebuyer and foreclosure prevention workshops, and coaching.

By The Hand Moving Everest
By The Hand Club for Kids, Chicago, IL
Grant Amount – $50,000

By The Hand Moving Everest (BTH-ME) is a school/after-school partnership designed to provide greater comprehensive care for children to succeed in academics and in life. BTH-ME serves kindergarten through second grade students in Chicago’s Austin neighborhood, and plans to add one grade level each school year. Students who come to By The Hand are behind in school and struggling with basic math and reading skills. When children fall behind in reading, they have trouble learning in other subjects. Children who cannot read by third grade are eight times more likely to drop out of school; in turn, children who drop out of school are eight times more likely to go to prison. BTH addresses this and other barriers to learning through its wrap-around services, including literacy support, mentorship, medical and mental health care, and opportunities for students to explore their gifts and talents.

Health and Wellness for Homeless Women’s Day Center
Elizabeth Gregory Home, Seattle, WA
Grant Amount – $40,000

Being homeless makes it difficult to attend to the most basic hygiene and health requirements. Elizabeth Gregory Home recently expanded its Day Center to meet more of the needs that their clients identified. The new facilities enable them to grow the offerings of the Health and Wellness program, giving low-income, homeless, at-risk women a place where they can address health-related needs in one stop. When more of their essential daily needs are met, women are able to turn their energy towards taking the important steps needed to become independent. In addition to helping with immediate needs such as food, clothing, and day shelter, Elizabeth Gregory Home also assists with long-range goals such as acquiring permanent housing, improving life skills, and earning sustainable income to break free from the cycle of homelessness.

Refugee Resettlement in Northwest Arkansas
Canopy NWA, Fayetteville, AR
Grant Amount – $40,000

Canopy Northwest Arkansas (NWA) is assisting in the direct resettlement of refugees in their area by providing resources such as wellness, employment, housing and public services as well as education and community integration. Currently, there are no other refugee resettlement programs – or even any Lutheran social service organizations – in northwest Arkansas besides Canopy. They take an innovative ecumenical approach to capacity development by catalyzing the Lutheran community as well as other denominations. Co-sponsorships are one unique aspect of Canopy’s organizational design in that these are networks of community volunteers who have already committed to support a refugee family through the integration process. Additionally, Canopy takes a collaborative approach by forming local partnerships with key stakeholders such as businesses and other nonprofits, as well as national partnerships with Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service and Lutheran Family Services Rocky Mountains.

Restorative Justice Community Court
Lawndale Christian Legal Center, Chicago, IL
Grant Amount – $50,000

The Restorative Justice Community Court (RJCC) will serve 18-26 year olds from Chicago’s North Lawndale community who are charged with non-violent felonies and misdemeanors. The RJCC engages the community in restorative justice practices with victims and offenders, coupled with social services, to heal and strengthen all affected, thus building community capacity to address crime. Defendants will enter the program voluntarily. Those who successfully complete their program will have their charges dropped and arrest expunged. An equal partnership of Circuit Court stakeholders and North Lawndale Community Restorative Justice Hub (RJ Hub) members leads the RJCC. Convened by Lawndale Christian Legal Center, the RJ Hub is a network of community-based service providers and residents providing wraparound services to engage offenders and support skill and competency development.

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