We Raise Foundation Awards Four Emerging Leader Grants

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We Raise Foundation recently awarded four Emerging Leader Grants totaling $60,000. Emerging Leader Grants are an investment in the development of leaders between the ages of 20-35 at Christian organizations who are leading new programs at the intersection of poverty, violence, and inequality.

Each Emerging Leader Grantee receives $15,000 over two years with $10,000 supporting the program and $5,000 supporting leadership development. This leadership development includes attendance at a Leadership Fundamentals conference through The Center for Creative Leadership; attendance at the Global Leadership Summit through satellite locations; and individualized leadership coaching. Grantees also receive an invitation to attend the annual Emerging Leader Convening in Chicago, hosted and paid for by We Raise Foundation; free attendance for all We Raise webinars; and promotion and networking within the We Raise community.

Proposals for the Emerging Leader Grant Program are accepted year-round with grants awarded quarterly. The next deadline is August 31, 2018 with grants awarded in October. For more information regarding grant requests, please visit the website at weraise.org/emergingleadergrants.

The newest Emerging Leader Grant recipients are:

Bryson Davis
The Dream Lab
The Akron Leadership Foundation, Akron, Ohio
Grant Amount – $15,000

Leader Summary:
Bryson Davis is the Chief Executive Officer of the Akron Leadership Foundation, Akron, Ohio. He has been serving in various leadership roles for 13 years. Davis has lived and worked in some of the poorest and most challenging places around the world. He is passionate about seeing men and women live an abundant life, especially those in communities that lack resources and access to opportunity. Learning from his own experiences of poverty and loss, Davis has transformed these disadvantages into advantages for others. He has worked for a youth-focused organization called Generation Akron for the last several years. Davis is a graduate of the University of Mount Union, Alliance, Ohio, and he holds a master’s degree in public health from Kent State University, Kent, Ohio.

Project Summary:
About 30% of Akron, Ohio’s, population lives in poverty. Having a limited income puts this population at a higher risk of poor health outcomes, low academic achievement, greater interaction with the criminal justice system, and diminishes the ability to find viable employment, build assets, and much more. The Dream Lab is an experimental social enterprise incubator designed to test and develop business concepts that can be spun off to local leaders, thus stimulating the local economy. The Dream Lab focuses its efforts on facilitating enterprises that are directly in, or intended to directly benefit, under-served pockets of Akron with an intense focus on training and employing individuals who are underemployed and unemployed at living wages, with future ownership/leadership in mind. The Dream Lab has a creative co-working space dedicated to business entrepreneurs and local artists.

Jonathan Little
Ending Gun Violence through Restorative Justice and Youth Leadership
Precious Blood Ministry of Reconciliation, Chicago, Ill.
Grant Amount – $15,000

Leader Summary:
Jonathan Little is the Youth Leadership Coordinator for the Connected Chicago Youth Leadership program through Precious Blood Ministry of Reconciliation (PBMR), Chicago, Ill. Little grew up in the Back of the Yards/Englewood neighborhood of Chicago where PBMR is located, and for the past five years he has worked at PBMR as a Youth Mentor and Restorative Justice Practitioner. Before working at PBMR, Little participated in the programs as a middle schooler and high schooler. He relates well with the youth because he grew up in the neighborhood and understands the gun violence and other challenges that face the young men. Little is currently enrolled in the College of Nursing at Malcolm X College in Chicago.

Project Summary:
The Ending Gun Violence through Restorative Justice and Youth Leadership project will select a team of PBMR youth participants from the New City/Englewood neighborhood to become agents of peace in the neighborhood. The selected youth will receive in-depth training in the philosophy and practice of restorative justice. Afterwards, the team of youth leaders will conduct inter-community peace circles around the topic of community violence. These circles will occur in collaboration with community Restorative Justice Hub partners located in other Chicago neighborhoods. The program will provide space and training for these young people to learn about restorative tactics such as de-escalation, mediation, peer conferencing, and dialog.

Jeremy Mann
The Field School Incoming Class
The Field School, Oak Park, Ill.
Grant Amount – $15,000

Leader Summary:
Jeremy Mann is founder and Head of School at The Field School, Oak Park, Ill. Prior to this role, he served as the Director of Programming and Development for the Center for Pastor Theologians, an organization based in Oak Park resourcing pastors writing academic theology. Mann is a doctoral student in Christian theology at Wheaton College Graduate School, Wheaton, Ill.; he also serves on the advisory board of the Illinois School Project, a ministry promoting evangelism in Illinois public high schools. Mann has a master of divinity from Trinity Evangelical Divinity School, Deerfield, Ill., a master’s degree in special education with an emphasis in urban education from Loyola Marymount University, Los Angeles, Calif., and a bachelor’s degree in philosophy and great books from Biola University, La Mirada, Calif. He has studied and participated in funded academic conference workshops in England, Germany, Poland, Israel, Wales, Quebec, Utah, New York, Michigan, and Indiana.

Project Summary:
The Field School is a classical, multiracial, Christian elementary school in Oak Park, Ill., just outside of Chicago. The school serves a diverse student population both racially and socioeconomically – 40% African-American, 28% white, 16% multiracial, 8% Asian-American, and 8% Latino(a). Over half of the families at the Field School are low income and a quarter of families are high income. The first academic year started in August 2017 with 45 students from pre-kindergarten to first grade. This fall, the Field School will nearly double in size to roughly 80 with the grant supporting the incoming pre-kindergarten class. This class will have the same disparities of readiness, income, and parent educational background as the other classes, but also the same incredible potential and God-reflecting glory.

Matt St. Pierre
Restore Jobs
Restore Merced, Merced, Calif.
Grant Amount – $15,000

Leader Summary:
Matt St. Pierre is the co-founder and executive director of Restore Merced, Merced, Calif. He has led the development of current programming, recruited and trained volunteers, and developed significant relationships with neighbors. St. Pierre was first exposed to faith-based community development work as a college student while working with a youth job training program through Restore St. Louis and New City Fellowship Church in St. Louis. After working in vocational ministry in San Francisco, Calif., for seven years – both in college ministry and community development in the Tenderloin neighborhood – St. Pierre moved back home to Merced and co-founded Restore Merced. He is passionate about empowering communities on the margins of society to move towards God’s intended flourishing. St. Pierre has a master of divinity from Western Theological Seminary, Holland, Mich., and a bachelor’s degree in business administration from California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo, Calif.

Project Summary:
Restore Jobs is a holistic program providing work experience, education, counseling, and long term placement in order to connect those who are most disenfranchised to opportunities for self-sufficient flourishing. For 9-12 months, participants will receive paid work experience through contracted work for the city of Merced. Simultaneously, the first half of the program will consist of education that provides a foundation for success in work – Jobs for Life classes, Faith and Finance, life skills, anger management, etc. At the halfway point, the student, along with program leaders, will identify a fitting career path and then receive the necessary training and certification (i.e., welding and fabrication, auto mechanic, and other various trades). Restore Merced will also continue to build a network of local employers to place these individuals into entry level work opportunities upon completion of the program. Quarterly follow-ups will take place with graduates after job placement that includes a savings matching program up to $250/quarter for the first year after program completion.

 

About We Raise Foundation
We Raise Foundation identifies innovative ideas, people, and programs that raise consciousness, community leadership, and capital. Motivated by the belief that freedom is grace in action (Galatians 5:1a), We Raise provides grants and assistance with resource development to organizations that work at the intersection of poverty, violence, and inequality. We Raise supports Christian nonprofit organizations and emerging leaders and has a preference for funding solutions within the areas of education, workforce development, and criminal justice. To learn more, please visit weraise.org. You can also find We Raise on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

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