Our Grantees Loving Their Neighbors
Our Grantees Loving Their Neighbors
We Raise Foundation provides grants and assistance with resource development to Christian nonprofit organizations and emerging leaders that work at the intersection of poverty, violence, and inequality.
We Raise Foundation partners with amazing leaders and organizations around the country that are working to break the cycles of poverty, violence, and inequality in their communities.
The COVID-19 pandemic has only increased the vulnerability of the individuals and families in these communities. In the midst of this devastating crisis, we are so proud of the many ways our grantee partners are stepping up and stepping in to meet the most immediate needs of their neighbors and communities. We are thankful to be in partnership with these organizations and look forward to how we can continue to come alongside them on the long road ahead.
Stay informed about the many ways we’re investing in communities across the country
Here are some of the ways our grantees are loving their neighbors
RIVER CITY COMMUNITY
DEVELOPMENT CENTER (R CITY)
R CITY has launched a Homework Incentive Program called “H.I.P. Hip Hurray” to encourage and excite students to do their homework while they now learn at home. Each day, as students complete homework, they color in that day on the calendar and at the end of the week they have their parents sign their completed calendar and then submit it for the weekly raffle. Four winners are drawn each week! The “prizes” awarded for the raffle include STEM project and craft kits to engage students in creative science learning; kid-friendly snacks; board games to promote positive parent and sibling engagement; and dinners from local restaurants, supplementing family food supply, while also supporting small restaurant owners in their community.
LUTHERAN SOCIAL SERVICES
OF WISCONSIN AND UPPER MICHIGAN
Lutheran Social Services of Wisconsin’s school-centered mental health program – offered to under-resourced communities – is typically provided to Milwaukee children during the school day. However, due to COVID-19 restrictions and school closures, LSS therapists like Ivy, are providing virtual counseling sessions with the kids they normally see at their schools, and their families. They have been sharing coping mechanisms, while also connecting families with resources for food, gas money, school supplies, and other needs. Tele-health has been vital for Ivy as it has allowed her to keep in touch with families in possibly the most critical time, while day treatment programs and hospitals are taking fewer mental health patients. She’s helping families establish plans in case suicidal thoughts arise, a child runs away, or there’s an escalation of domestic abuse.
Before COVID-19, Beloved Community Incubator (BCI) empowered a number of individuals to become financially stable by facilitating the development of employee owned co-operatives such as a home cleaning service (Dulce Hogar) and dog walking (Brighter Days Dog Walking Collective). With businesses closed due to the pandemic, BCI stepped in and launched a crowdfunding campaign to raise funds to support these entrepreneurs, especially those who will not receive stimulus funds. Exceeding their first fundraising goal, the money raised will benefit co-op worker-owners and street vendors through stipends and vital resources such as food, medicine, and cleaning supplies.
MOSAIC ARTS AND EDUCATION PROGRAM
How do you navigate a crisis when most resources aren’t in your primary language? At Mosaic, they are stepping up to respond to the needs of the families they serve, including vital language resources. They are purchasing grocery boxes filled with nutritious food for their students and families! They are recruiting Spanish-speaking volunteers, in addition the volunteers they have, to provide bilingual eLearning and tutoring over the phone and video chat. Of course, they’ve also found ways to have some fun with their students through Zoom scavenger hunts, storybook time, and Pictionary!
THE FIELD SCHOOL
Oak Park, Ill.
Once the stay-at-home order was given in Illinois, The Field School teachers and staff quickly mobilized to provide food, learning materials, and practical help for their students and families. But their resources go beyond reading, writing, and arithmetic. Community members of all ages have been offering up prayers of gratitude, protection, and faith and The Field School administrative team and chapel musicians put together a video for “virtual chapel.”
The Field School team is also serving those beyond their community. This Thursday, April 28, at 8 p.m. CT, The Field School will be offering a free Zoom webinar, “Following Jesus as a Family in Quarantine.” The webinar will feature four parents and is open to anyone – viewers do not need to be affiliated with The Field School. Learn more and register here.
“We will never, ever quit on this community. We LOVE Merced.”
Restore Merced is continuing the work of employing individuals with barriers to employment (safely) and leaning into the relational network they’ve built with families in downtown Merced. They have been staying connected and providing support in a variety of ways – rescuing perishable food from local restaurants and getting it out to neighborhood families, putting together activity packets for kids to do at home, and calling/texting vulnerable neighborhood residents to check in on them.
BY THE HAND CLUB FOR KIDS
“Desperate days call for desperate FAITH!”
With the students unable to come to By The Hand Club For Kids for academic support due to the stay-at-home order, the staff are finding creative ways to go to them! Ms. Martha, one of their reading specialists, wanted to make sure the kids stayed on track with their reading, so she started a virtual story time via YouTube for students. Each Tuesday and Thursday she hosts, “Story Time with Ms. Martha,” where students read a story and work on building their vocabulary. Mr. Tevin has been challenging his students with online Jeopardy competitions, and Ms. Shanta delivered Easter baskets to her students. Staff and team leaders have conducted nearly 1,000 student wellness checks. Additionally, By The Hand has provided hot meals for families and shared nearly 400 food boxes and emergency care packages, which have included fresh groceries, household supplies, and child care essentials.
Thanks to several volunteer entrepreneurs and their kitchen manager, UpStart Kitchen has been preparing and donating meals to families experiencing food insecurity in their community. They’ve partnered with several food pantries, churches, and other distribution organizations, including Milwaukee JobsWork, Kingdom Prep High School, Mt. Calvary Lutheran Church, and Ascension Hospital. The food is being donated by a food rescue group.
SAINT LOUIS UNIVERSITY
PRISON EDUCATION PROGRAM
St. Louis, Mo.
With all in-person learning suspended for the remainder of the spring semester, the Saint Louis University Prison Education Program has donated a variety of books from previous classes to its students in prison so they have reading material and are able to continue their learning until classes resume. On a broader scale, the University’s response to the pandemic continues to reveal their heart of service to the St. Louis community, including opening up student housing to healthcare workers quarantining from their families. Additionally, over 40 student and faculty researchers from 20 departments are studying this pandemic and its broader effects.
NEW LIFE CENTERS OF CHICAGOLAND
New Life Centers has turned to emergency response, remote mentoring for their students, continued 24/7 street outreach, providing emergency provisions, and has more than tripled their food giveaway to over 300 families a week. They are also working closely with the city of Chicago and other agencies to widen safety nets for the community. Additionally, New Life Centers is collecting #HopeNotes for incarcerated youth who can no longer receive visits from their family. They’ve collected far beyond their original 265 card goal, making it possible to get cards into three different facilities!
San Francisco, Calif.
Farming Hope has pivoted from running a daily social mission Mediterranean restaurant to serving 1,500 bag lunches a week to their unhoused sisters and brothers and providing support to help them better shelter in place. This work is not only serving these vulnerable neighbors, but is helping keep Farming Hope’s apprentices employed so they can continue to fulfill their mission to empower and employ formerly incarcerated and unhoused neighbors to grow, cook, and serve food to others.
MILL VILLAGE FARMS
Mill Village Farms, one of four social enterprises under Mill Community Ministries, has been distributing healthy FoodShare boxes bi-weekly to neighbors in need. Starting April 8th, to meet the increased demand for families needing food, they plan to distribute the FoodShare boxes every week at their main FoodHub and at over 24 partner locations across Greenville County.
THE SOULFISHER MINISTRIES
St. Louis, Mo.
The SoulFisher Ministries is partnering with Riverview Gardens School District and Two Mikes Catering to provide 3,000 meals per day – for as long as it’s needed – for hungry children in their community.
With the shelter-in-place order throughout the Bay Area, food distribution remains an essential service to families in the Harbor House community. Twice a week, they are offering “Grab-and-Go bags” with pre-bagged fruits and vegetables, pantry staples, and loaves of bread to anyone in need. They are also offering students from their after-school program books and games to take home to make the long days at home pass more quickly. They’ve also paired 21 of their after-school kids (and counting!) with virtual tutors who will meet with them online 2-3 times per week while they are away from school.
While continuing to provide holistic and loving legal defense and social services for the marginalized in their community, Restoring Justice is sending out Walmart grocery gift cards to their clients’ families to aid them during the COVID-19 pandemic.
BREAKTHROUGH URBAN MINISTRIES
To meet the needs of their East Garfield Park community neighbors, Breakthrough Urban Ministries staff is bagging groceries, including perishable items like milk, eggs, and meat. The groceries are then distributed at their Fresh Market food pantry, which continues to see a significant increase in guests.
Please consider a gift today to ensure We Raise can continue to provide critical resources to organizations as they serve their communities.
Mill Village Farms
By the Hand Club for Kids