| The Fayetteville Observer
A Fayetteville nonprofit is in the running for the A Community Thrives program, a $2.3 million initiative of the Gannett Foundation.
Fayetteville Urban Ministry is one of more than 900 nonprofit organizations across the country eligible for the next phase of the campaign, which involves fundraising on the A Community Thrives-Mighty Cause website.
The Community Thrives program is sponsored by the USA TODAY Network’s parent company, Gannett Co. Inc. It offers nonprofits the opportunity to highlight their community-building ideas on a national stage.
Fayetteville Urban Ministry, established in 1974, has four major programs that serve the Fayetteville community: the Nehemiah Project, emergency assistance, an adult literacy program and Find-A-Friend.
As a nonprofit, the organization is always looking for funding, which led it to A Community Thrives.
“This came right up our alley as somewhat of a challenge to get some community support, so it’s going to help us elevate, getting more people to know about what we do,” said Johnny Wilson, executive director of Fayetteville Urban Ministry.
During this next phase, Fayetteville Urban Ministry must raise at least $6,000 on the Might Cause website. To donate, go to usatoday.com/ACommunityThrives and search for Fayetteville Urban Ministry.
Organizations will be raising money during this phase through Oct. 16.
A Community Thrives will award 16 project grants nationwide: three $100,000 grants, seven $50,000 and six $25,000 grants.
The Fayetteville Urban Ministry programs address a variety of needs:
• The Nehemiah Project provides free home repairs for low-income homeowners.
• The Adult Literacy Program helps people with career readiness, getting U.S. citizenship, GED preparation, financial literacy, resume building and interviews.
• The Emergency Assistance program helps households in crisis, such as providing food from the nonprofit’s food pantry, clothes and support with rent or utilities.
• The Find-A-Friend program serves at-risk and court-involved kids.
The programs collectively serve more than 10,000 individuals and families, Wilson said.
“So all four of these programs that we outreach and administer, no one has to pay anything,” he said. “For every dollar that’s donated to us, 93 cents goes right back into the communities as far as direct services.”
Wilson said if the nonprofit receives a grant from A Community Thrives, the money would be used in all four programming areas.
“We’re very transparent,” Wilson said. “We’ll let folks know exactly where the support is going to, how we’ve broken it down through all four of our programs.”
It would like to use the grant to buy new software and books for the literacy program, he said.
“We’ll look to purchase a clothing baler, so this will help us recycle unusable clothes and create a small revenue that would allow us to buy even more food for our food pantry,” Wilson said.
With Find-A-Friend, it would like to purchase a wheelchair-accessible merry-go-round for the playground that is under construction, he said.
It also would like to purchase tools and equipment needed for the Nehemiah Project, Wilson said.
Groups keep the money they raise whether they reach their minimum fundraising goal.
Staff writer Akira Kyles can be reached at [email protected]