This Black History Month, we're celebrating our six Black-led partner organizations making history every day through incredible and impactful work in their communities.
Every Sunday in February, we'll dig into their work - leaders from the groups will speak at 10am Community Hour, and they'll be featured in worship and Children's Messages. Old South is proud to support these organizations financially as well through grants ranging from $6,000 to $60,000. These organizations include Alternatives for Community & Environment, common cathedral, Mattapan Food and Fitness Coalition, Fathers' Uplift, Young Man with a Plan, and Union of Minority Neighborhoods. You can learn more about each organization below or by visiting their websites, or reading below.
Join us for a forum discussion at 10 a.m. every Sunday in February, in person and on Zoom
Alternatives for Community & Environment (ACE) is a neighborhood-based, environmental justice and transit-oriented development nonprofit. In 2021, Old South committed $40,000 over two years to support their environmental justice organizing work.
ACE organizes Roxbury residents and work with community organizers locally, statewide and nationally to build platforms and offer resources that address systemic injustice. They work directly within the frontline communities that are most impacted bringing critical solutions that include advocacy, organizing, legal and regulatory campaigns. ACE is the first environmental justice nonprofit organization in Massachusetts and has defended the rights of Roxbury residents for over 25 years.
common cathedral's mission is to build community, provide spiritual care, and bridge the gap between unhoused and housed individuals. Old South supports common cathedral with $20,000 per year and supports in bringing lunch to the outdoor service a few Sundays per year.
common cathedral’s ministers are out on the streets nearly every day of the week offering prayer and companionship, and making referrals to social service agencies. Their weekly outdoor worship service and mid-week programs, common art and Spiritual Care at the Barbara McInnis House, continue to provide community, inspiration and healing to thousands of un-housed men and women each year, and our spiritual care program in hospitals and jails allows them to maintain and deepen their connection with those in need. While they provide a Christian context for worship and spiritual reflection groups, they are a non-proselytizing ministry, open to broad discussions of belief and belief systems.
Mattapan Food & Fitness Coalition's mission is to promote health and healthy behaviors by improving the nutritional and physical activity environments for Mattapan residents and residents of surrounding communities. Last year, Old South committed $60,000 over three years to support this work.
MFFC is a grassroots movement in the Mattapan neighborhood of Boston designed for making healthy and affordable food, safe and inviting recreational spaces and streets and sidewalks readily accessible to all. The organization grew out of an effort to draw on the wonderful ethnic and cultural diversity of the Mattapan community to promote a healthy living environment, with a focus on access to healthy foods and the promotion of physical fitness for all ages.
Positive changes in these areas complement other efforts to decrease health problems like diabetes, heart disease, obesity and other health conditions.
Fathers' UpLift provides mental health counseling, coaching, advocacy, and resource support to assist fathers with overcoming barriers (racism, emotional, traumatic, and addiction-based barriers) that prevent them from remaining engaged in their children's lives. Last year, Old South committed $60,000 over three years to support this work.
Fathers' Uplift is the country's first mental health and substance abuse treatment facility for fathers and families. Their programs include therapy, uplift coaching, youth enrichment, and education. According to Dr. Charles Daniels, Jr., Co-Founder and CEO of Fathers' Uplift, men enter their programs with broken relationships with themselves, their children, and their community. Through group therapy sessions, coaching, and organized retreats they meet fathers where they are at and introduce interventions designed to boost their coping skills, as well as their sense of empowerment and efficacy. Ultimately the goal is to allow fathers to sustainably re-engage with their children. Fathers in the program positively engage with their communities and overcome obstacles every day.
The mission of Young Man with a Plan (YMWAP) is to create a new culture of brotherhood, respect, aspiration, and achievement for Black and Latino teens in Boston in order to help them access college, career, and life success. Last year, Old South contributed a $6,000 grant to YMWAP.
YMWAP is dedicated to closing wealth and life-expectancy gaps for men of color through educating, mentoring, academic monitoring and support, and exposing students to new ideas, places, experiences and college and career options. It is a 4-year program of sustained mentoring serving 80 Black and Latino teens, currently in four 10th and 12th grade groups that meet weekly in Dorchester and Hyde Park. YMWAP is a cross-sector collaboration between Boston’s district, charter, and one faith-based school, and has a focus on both academic and social-emotional growth. It provides a safe place for young men from all Boston neighborhoods and different cultures to meet together to share their hopes, fears, challenges and achievements.
Union of Minority Neighborhoods (UMN) organizes and trains people of color and low-income people to end discriminatory policies and practices that limit access to political, economic, and social power. Last year, Old South contributed a $6,000 grant to UMN.
Founded in 2002, UMN is committed to fully engaging and training communities of color to be active participants rebuilding their communities. They use active participants as opposed to outsiders telling folks what to do. UMN’s efforts are designed to strengthen democracy and to rebuild communities of color which continue to be pummeled by the pernicious effects of racism and resulting lack of economic, social and educational opportunity. As UMN's website explains, "We are organizers, creating power in our communities. We are trainers, building the skills of activists and developing new leaders. We are technical advisors, building the capacity of organizations to develop successful campaigns."