These grassroots expressions weren’t started by Mars Hill, and they aren’t run by Mars Hill either. So why are they here? Because in Grand Rapids and in other cities and countries, people connected to Mars Hill have come up with ways to reflect our mission through their own work and service. They’re helping to bring about measurable change in the world, and that’s something we’re pretty excited about. If you’re looking to give to or get involved with some great efforts, we hope you’ll consider these.
2016-2017 Grant Recipients
West Michigan Center for Arts and Technology [WMCAT]
In the process of collecting feedback collected from students, alumni, and community partners, the West Michigan Center for Arts and Technology [WMCAT] discovered a great need for students with entrepreneurial desires to have a place to learn how to successfully take their ideas to market. Their new youth entrepreneurial initiative codenamed, “I Am TOO” [Teen Owner Operator] was developed to meet that need.
TOO will take a group of 6-10 recent high school alumni, who are also graduates of WMCAT, through a year long entrepreneurial cycle of discovery, business model planning, product design, development, marketing, and accounting.
This initiative provides a level of student ownership and engagement that is unlike anything in the region, and unprecedented within their diverse student body, which was most recently comprised of 35% African American, 26% Hispanic, 27% Caucasian, 9% Mixed Race, and 3% Asian students. TOO will continue to honor this diversity with a similarly proportional demographic, and in doing so provide real world entrepreneurial experience to a student population that is most often left out of extracurricular programs of privilege.
To get involved and use your skills and talents to help students grow their business, contact Kirk Eklund, Manager of Social Enterprise, or visit the WMCAT website.
Partners in Compassionate Care [PCC]
South Sudan, the newest country in the world, received its independence in 2011. Due to continuing conflict among tribal communities, the country remains void of infrastructure and in need of many things—especially protein. Children who do go to school, are often weak and don’t perform well due to malnutrition.
Cindy and Rachel Warner, working in collaboration with Partners in Compassionate Care [PCC], are making measurable change in South Sudan. As PCC addresses the considerable medical needs, Cindy and Rachel are helping to expand their community development by supporting the community through a Sudanese-run chicken farm. This farm provides a renewable source of food and income which is essential as they build their country from the ground up.
Visit the Partners in Compassionate Care website to learn more about how you can take part, or email Cindy and Rachel with questions
Michigan Abolitionist Project
End the Demand is a [Michigan Abolitionist Project] MAP initiative to combat human trafficking [slavery] by reducing the demand that fuels it. Internet sites exploiting people and selling sex are prevalent and primarily used by men. Sexual exploitation is becoming normalized. Many men do not see erotic massages, strip clubs, or lap dances as forms of sexual exploitation. Sex buyers, and even men who do not buy sex, often do not understand how these activities impact the victims, the users, their families, and the community. Even though good resources and opportunities to help men challenge themselves and others to end sexual exploitation exist, MAP believes there is still a growing number of men and boys who are trapped, sitting in shame, and unaware of a way out.
This project reaches out and connects boys and men to intervention programs and resources. It is inspired by a Seattle, WA program, Buyers Beware, that is experiencing early success in helping men examine their attitudes about sexuality and their motivations for paying for sex.
For more information, contact Kathy Maitland, Executive Director of MAP, or visit their website.