We Raise Foundation Awards Two Emerging Leader Grants
We Raise Foundation recently awarded two Emerging Leader Grants totaling $30,000. 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 Emerging Leader Convening in Chicago, hosted and paid for by We Raise Foundation; and promotion and networking within the We Raise community.
For more information regarding the Emerging Leader Grant program, please visit the website at weraise.org/emergingleadergrants.
The newest Emerging Leader Grant recipients are:
House of Hope Refuge of Love, Inc., Brunswick, Ga.
Sarah Casiano-Diffoot serves as the Community Impact Director at House of Hope (HOH) as well as a direct care worker to the residents of HOH. In this role, she works to develop and implement strategies that mobilize the caring power of the community and incentivize businesses to cross-collaborate with the common goal of improving the lives of House of Hope residents. Casiano-Diffoot also serves as a community advocate, speaking at events, conferences, church groups, schools, etc., to educate the community about human trafficking and to raise awareness for the need for residential care and victim’s services. She holds a bachelor’s degree in political science with a concentration in international relations from Georgia State University, Atlanta, Ga., and is currently working on her master’s degree in clinical counseling through the Townsend Institute of Concordia University, Irvine, Calif.
The Harboring Hope Project will help House of Hope (HOH) extend the capacity of their residential and community education programs. The grant will enable HOH to expand to serve eight formerly-trafficked girls annually. The girls will go on a year-long therapeutic journey to healing and reintegration into society. Locally, hundreds will be educated monthly on human trafficking, protecting the community from future victimization and empowering them to report crimes, disperse the message, and to act by donating their time/resources.
Youth Artist Organizers
Freedom Arts and Education Center,
Saint Louis, Mo.
Andrew Gibson co-founded the Freedom Arts and Education Center in Saint Louis, Mo., in 2012, and currently serves as the Center’s executive director. In this role, he oversees the planning, implementation, and evaluation of all programs, manages all finances and contracts, and provides leadership at all levels to maintain the integrity of the organization. Andrew facilitates many youth workshops, mentors and tutors several scholars, and devotes his time to building relationships with fellow artists and likeminded organizations. He is tirelessly devoted to ensuring equity for systemically underserved youth, creating support systems for devoted artists and educators, and advocating for justice and equity in the Saint Louis region. Andrew has been a performing and teaching artist since he was a teenager and began his professional career in 2003 by performing and recording with a variety of musical artists, teaching private lessons, and learning the basics of music production. He has worked in multiple churches as a worship leader and audio technician, and currently serves with the Christian advocacy group, Faith For Justice, through which he has co-organized national conferences and receives ongoing anti-racism and de-escalation training. Andrew earned a bachelor’s degree in music with a double minor in philosophy and audio production from Webster University. He has organized several unique shows and concerts, recorded on nationally-acclaimed albums, and shared stages with Grammy winning artists.
The Freedom Arts and Education Center’s “Youth Artist Organizers” (YAO) initiative financially compensates enrolled scholars between 5th and 10th grade as they actively work with the teaching artists and local organizations to intentionally grow in their creativity, professionalism, and social consciousness. YAOs have engaged with community events and guided activities to learn a wide range of needed skills such as public speaking, event planning, design thinking, lesson planning, contract development, musicianship, adaptability, and neighborhood canvassing. YAOs have completed mock and real artistic and community projects, explored local institutions, which helped to expand their network of mentors, developed their own creative voice, and gained the skills and confidence needed to succeed in their school years and beyond, all while being compensated for their valuable time and efforts right now. The Freedom Arts and Education Center seeks to support the scholars as they intentionally develop their artistic voice and mission, relevant professional skills, and the awareness and engagement needed to transform their lives and the lives of others in their communities.
About We Raise Foundation
Motivated by the belief that freedom is grace in action (Galatians 5:1a), We Raise Foundation partners with Christian nonprofit organizations and emerging leaders working at the intersection of poverty, violence, and inequality. We have a preference for funding solutions within the areas of education, workforce development, and criminal justice and employ a unique approach to our investing by coupling program funding with a variety of robust value-added services that empower our grantees to grow their solutions. As a result of these value-added services, every $1 that donors invest through We Raise multiplies into more than double the benefit to the organizations we support. To learn more, please visit weraise.org. You can also find We Raise on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.