Help us create a world where the creativity, passion, and drive of Jesus’ followers carve out spaces of belonging and strength for those who feel left on the outside. Our Grassroots Initiative provides funding and mentoring for people and organizations in the Mars Hill community who are launching new projects—whether for-profit or nonprofit—that can make measurable change in the world.
Have an idea that could make a difference? Each year, we offer grant funding to selected Mars Hill Covenant Members and Attendees who are ready to get to work.
Our 2018-2019 grant application season runs from April 30-May 31. Check back in Spring 2018 to download an application.
Volunteer As A Grassroots Initiatives Mentor
Would you be willing to mentor our Grassroots grantees? As Grassroot Grant recipients are looking to grow in many different ways, we are looking for a variety of mentors with diverse skill sets to provide a listening ear and walk with our grantees. Email firstname.lastname@example.org to learn more.
2017-2018 Grant Recipients
The Treetops Collective helps refugee women find their place in the community, reclaim their identity, and put their roots down deep—so they can flourish in Grand Rapids for generations to come.
Last year, Treetops launched a community development initiative called Sister Circles. Now in its second year, Sister Circles plans to focus on economic development by launching a social enterprise out of the Treetops Makerspace, with the help of a Mars Hill Grassroots Grant.
By partnering with two talented seamstresses, both women originally from Iraq, the focus of the grant will be to launch a line of kids goods that are made from organic cotton grown in the U.S. and sewn at the Treetops makerspace on South Division.
Their ultimate hope is to provide more stable employment for refugee women, while helping them both understand and reach their career goals through proper support and infrastructure.
So far we understand that both seamstresses want to launch their own businesses. One is starting a pottery business and the other will be starting an alterations shop out of the makerspace. Not only does this social enterprise build financial sustainability into the lives of the women Sister Circles works with through sewing jobs and business mentorship, it also has the potential to eventually help fund community programs with the net profits from the Treetops Collective line of goods.
Treetops doesn’t help women resettle, it helps them belong.
Bethany Land Institute
The Bethany Land Institute [BLI] is a new agriculture school that will be built on a 98-acre site in Luweero, Uganda.
Their aim is to reach overlooked youth in rural villages, especially those who have dropped out of the national education system. The institute will train young Ugandans who are willing to commit to a two-year residential program on small-scale sustainable farming practices. The students, called Caretakers, will also learn the business side of farming including start-up loans, financing for seeds/equipment, and how to utilize local and outside farm markets.
Their Mars Hill Grassroots grant will be used to build infrastructure, which includes a storage barn for farm implements and a fish-stocked irrigation pond with a reed-filtering bed. It will also be used for the preparation of the land for the 4-acre Demonstration/Teaching farm.
Once the Demonstration/Teaching farm is prepared and irrigation ponds are installed, the BLI instructors will begin field-testing methods of planting, organic fertilization, crop rotation, and harvesting. This is critical for their curriculum development as BLI will be a hands-on training center. Plus, this land will later be used for seminars that will help anyone in the community.