We Raise Foundation, in Partnership with the MIGMIR Fund, Awards $300,000 GrantsPlus Grant to MAAFA Redemption Project
Itasca, IL – We Raise Foundation, in partnership with the MIGMIR (Much is Given Much is Required) Fund, is excited to announce its largest grant ever – a $300,000 three-year GrantsPlus Grant to MAAFA Redemption Project in Chicago, Ill.
The MAAFA Redemption Project is a faith-based residential institute for emerging adult men of color (ages 18-30) located on Chicago’s West Side. It offers dormitory-style residential support, workforce training, character/spiritual-development, and a host of wrap-around social services.
“Since our founding in 1905, We Raise has invested in people impacted by the challenging parts of life,” said Paul Miles, president and CEO of We Raise Foundation. “From health crises like tuberculosis in the early part of the 20th century to the forgotten communities of our current times, we believe all of God’s people are worth our very best effort to invest in them. We are proud to join our friends at the MIGMIR Fund to support Marshall Hatch, Jr. and his team at MAAFA Redemption Project as they bring solutions to Chicago’s West Garfield Park community. The ideas, passion, and leadership to create a thriving, blessed community exist within this neighborhood and our role is to help get resources to those closest to the issues.”
Based in West Garfield Park, a neighborhood with one of the lowest life expectancies in Chicago, MAAFA’s mission is to significantly improve the quality of life for high-risk young men of color and their families. With its unique direct-service and community-building approach, MAAFA aims to drive the community’s redevelopment plan. To accomplish this mission, MAAFA implements a multi-pronged approach: gun violence prevention/mediation, leadership development, and community outreach.
MAAFA’s approach is built on the understanding that basic human needs must be met to create an environment where transformation can begin to happen. The men live together as a cohort in a safe, stable, dormitory-style home for nine months. At the MAAFA house, they work with life coaches and support each other to build a sense of community, belonging, and shared responsibility. Recognizing the importance of education and the critical thinking skills it instills in students, MAAFA provides learning opportunities, allowing the men to successfully complete their GED and, for those seeking more, an Associate’s degree.
Each MAAFA man is matched with a spiritual life coach to support them in the development and implementation of both their personal life and career plan. The men participate in spiritual meditation each morning and actively participate in counseling around drug abuse, mental health and family development. They also learn soft and technical job skills through rigorous training in the construction trades, landscaping, as well as their leadership roles in the residence. MAAFA also provides the men with a stipend that mirrors real-world employment and incentivizes their engagement for the duration of the program.
“MAAFA Redemption Project was selected after a months-long process with MIGMIR because of their holistic approach to violence prevention and because of their foundational anchor that is their Christian faith,” Miles shared. “MIGMIR and We Raise fund Christian programs and we cannot think of a better time – or a better recipient – in which to invest. As violence in Chicago has increased during the COVID pandemic, we must commit ourselves to finding passionate leaders who know how to help their community experience a better path forward. MAAFA is exactly the kind of organization we need to partner with to achieve that objective.”
The MAAFA Redemption Project is a partner organization of Chicago CRED (CREATE REAL ECONOMIC DESTINY), whose singular purpose is to achieve a transformative reduction in Chicago gun violence. Chicago CRED was co-founded in 2016 by Arne Duncan, a former U.S. Secretary of Education and CEO of Chicago Public Schools, and Laurene Powell Jobs, the founder and president of Emerson Collective, a Palo Alto-based social impact organization.
“Chicago CRED welcomes the joint funding partnership of We Raise Foundation and the MIGMIR Fund in their grant to MAAFA Redemption Project,” Duncan said. “As a critical partner with Chicago CRED in the work to end gun violence in Chicago, MAAFA works directly with those most impacted, promoting proven solutions to help communities thrive. We Raise and MIGMIR are an example of what can be accomplished together, proving that what unites us in this work is stronger than the challenges we face.”
We Raise GrantsPlus grants support new and innovative projects in Chicago, St. Louis, Milwaukee, and Oakland/San Francisco working at the intersection of poverty, violence, and inequality. In addition to the grant award, We Raise will also provide the MAAFA Redemption Project with critical capacity building services, including a resource development assessment, incentivized crowdfunding campaign, and research, to help strengthen and sustain their program.
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-add 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.