Year-End Celebrations and New Staff!!

Our Red DoorTHANK YOU to all who made contributions to our ministry in 2014. You helped us raise our largest total annual income on record: $863,575. Yes, we have been singing the Doxology and giving thanks to God for the bounty that enables us to continue with programs of Compassion for Today and Wholeness for Tomorrow! We look forward to sharing more exciting news in the weeks to come and hope that you’ll let us know how we can be of further service to you and your organization, congregation, corporation/business.

We also give thanks for the following Foundation gifts received as 2014 closed and 2015 began:

SAIL (Summer Adventures in Learning) via Alabama Power Foundation, Joseph S. Bruno Charitable Trust, Mike and Gillian Goodrich Foundation, The Caring Foundation of Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Alabama, and The Daniel Foundation of Alabama:
$30,000 for Urban Kids Summer Learning Camp

Butler Snow Foundation:
$15,000 for WE Community Gardens, Emergency Food Pantry, and Urban Community Cafe and Jr. Chef Interns Program

The Daniel Foundation of AL:
$15,000 for WE Community Gardens, Emergency Food Pantry, & Urban Community Cafe and Jr. Chef Interns Program

Whole Cities Foundation (Whole Foods):
$4,800 for WE Community Gardens, Urban Community Cafe, and Jr. Chef Interns

Independent Presbyterian Church Foundation:
$5,000 for Wellness Programs

North AL Conference UMC Missions Resource Team:
$7,000 for Joe Rush Center for Urban Mission

The Gratitude Foundation:
$5,000 for Wellness Programs

UAB’s One Great Community CHIA (Community Health Innovation Awards):
$12,500 for Urban Community Cafe and Jr. Chef Interns Program

And for an unexpected, and very significant gift from the Estate of Ellen Hodges Powell, we give thanks that in her passing she has enabled us to strengthen and grow our programs here in the West End Community of Birmingham and well beyond.

But wait…we have more! In January, we welcomed 3 outstanding, new staff members to our Urban Ministry Team:

Lisa Jones is our Director of Development and Communications. She brings a wealth of experience in marketing, fundraising, and non-profit management to us, having worked with Baptist Health System’s former SportsFirst, and then many successful years at the YMCA of Birmingham. She is a longtime member at Trinity UMC (Homewood), where she remains active as a leader.

Wanda Larosiliere is our Director of Urban Kids. She brings a wealth of experience as a former Birmingham City Schools math/science teacher, corporate executive, and has Masters degrees in the Sciences. Wanda has been a longtime friend of WE Community Gardens and Urban Ministry, and she has a heart for children and young people and for Urban Ministry’s mission and vision.

McKinzie Harrison is our new Chef Instructor working closely with Ama Shambulia, Wellness Director, on our upcoming Urban Community Cafe. She will instruct our Jr Chef Interns regarding all things Culinary. McKinzie was trained as a Chef in California, where she also served as a Chef Instructor, and has a wealth of knowledge to share. She is also the niece of our beloved Church without Walls’ “Ms. Ernestine” Washington, and she also supports their ministry via meals served at each of 4 weekly worship times.

We do not rest but have already been hard at work in 2015 to deepen and expand Compassion and Wholeness in this part of God’s kingdom. We covet your support – your gifts, your prayers, your action – and look forward to another exciting year!

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