Letter from the 2019 Chairman
Dear Friend of Grace,
We are in Grace’s 50th year of existence. The Center is alive and well, although leaner than we’d like to be.
Elaine Page, our Executive Director, and her excellent - but tiny - staff are doing a marvelous job of building Grace’s capacities. They are developing personal leadership skills in both the children and adults of our service area, while building an ever-stronger neighborhood spirit in that same space.
Here are some recently recorded stats that show just how well we’re doing:
97 youth participated in this past school year’s Learning Heroes and Super Saturday programs.
65 (up from 50 last year) junior high youth - and their parents! - were involved in our Principals’ Choice program. This program is adjunct to our Afro Ball. It lifts up and engages the young people who embody the Afro Ball slogan “The Future Belongs to Those Who Prepare.”
59 – quickly headed for 75 – elementary age kids are enrolled in our EduCamp Program, which began on June 10 and will run until August 2 (8 weeks). Camp staff consists of 12 high school trainees and 12 foster grandparents from the Area Office on Aging, as well as our regular paid and volunteer staff.That’s impressive coverage - almost a 1-3 ratio! The kids are going to have a great summer of learning and fun, and our leaders will too.
35 attendees came together for a Neighborhood Revitalization Summit on May 23, which Grace organized and led. We had representatives of city government; neighborhood churches; the city’s other community centers; and all the major public funding entities in Toledo, as well as several of the private ones. The purpose was to convince Toledo’s influencers and decision makers that community centers must be thought of as a vital component of any strategy to make neighborhoods healthy and keep them that way.
3 of Toledo’s 6 main community centers were represented at a meeting arranged by Grace on June 17. The meeting was to begin putting together a coalition of community centers that will seek to learn from each other, gain efficiencies and cost savings by sharing resources, and build political clout in their dealings with the city and other potential partners. A second meeting has already been set and the attendees of the first meeting have all accepted assignments aimed at pulling in the other 3.
3 outstanding new members were added to our Board of Directors… and more in the pipeline.
$10,000 in special gift giving was received from the Northwest Ohio Association of UCC churches in recognition of our 50th birthday. Enthusiasm for sending mission dollars and volunteer hours our way is growing among the area UCC churches.
$33,000 of Port Authority grant money has been deployed to upgrade our Co-Op garden making it easier to take care of, more productive, and more attractive to neighbors as a place to learn and grow. These upgrades also make it more of a true business enterprise, capable of paying for its continued existence.
$3000 was deployed to renovate the Center’s bathrooms. WooHoo! What a welcome improvement!
As you see, support for Grace’s neighborhood revitalization work is significant and growing. However, the financial support of “The Friends of Grace” - private individuals and foundations, like yourself - is still vital to our success.
We ask you to consider the following:
Our EduCamp Program is the most ambitious program we do every year. While much of the staff expense is underwritten by various governmental agencies, it still costs us about $5,000 a week, out of pocket to deliver it
In order to continue our work, it is essential to build program capacity, expand our staff appropriately, and compensate our core staff fairly. These people are some of the best front line social-fabric-strengthening operatives in the City of Toledo. We need to make it possible to keep them at their work. A matter of the highest priority is to raise approximately $25,000 to fund a quality administrative support person. With a person like that in place (we don’t have that at the moment), the productivity of our key staff can go up by multiples of 2 and 3. We need Elaine and Jay Shavers out in the neighborhood, the churches, and other community organizations, cultivating the engagement of neighbors and support of donors, volunteers, and community leaders. That’s hard to do when you’re answering the phone, meeting people at the door, or doing the paperwork that is involved in administering grants.
One of our very generous Board members has vowed to match any donation by “The Friends of Grace” up to $10,000, so right now any donation you make will be doubled! This is too great of an opportunity to pass up. Using the one of the options listed to the right, please help us meet that goal and get every penny of that $10,000. Help us demonstrate what a good investment we are.
President of Grace Community Center Board of Directors
P.S. Every dollar helps and is greatly appreciated, whether it’s $50 or $5,000!