Representative: Toni Hagerman
Galilee Ministries builds community among the diverse population of East Charlotte and fosters cooperation among nonprofits that work together to provide vital wrap-around services. The goal of The Galilee Center is to provide a welcoming place of learning, service and fellowship. The result is a true reduction in social isolation, addressing both individual needs and organizational anxiety.
How did your organization start?
The Episcopal Church as a way of utilizing a closed church building started Galilee. The facility was shared rent free with a group of nonprofit organizations that were already active in the neighborhood that shared a broad and simple mission of “feeding mind, body, and spirit.” The synergy created by this community of nonprofits continues to evolve as we engage in conversation with our neighborhood, refining our focus so we can better respond to emerging needs in East Charlotte.
From where does your passion for this cause come?
Instead of a narrative of scarcity, isolation, and competition, Galilee is experimenting with a different story-a story of community. As I have stepped into the space of community building, I see the power of relationships to reveal the world as it actually could be, one that is abundant and beautifully connected. East Charlotte is diverse in every way and teeming with assets and gifts to be shared. At Galilee, we make connections that help unleash those resources.
Why is your work so important?
The need for social connection is not limited to any demographic group, whether you are a native-born American or an immigrant. We all seek a place where we belong. Everyone who comes to Galilee, whether as a client or as a volunteer, comes hungry in some way-for food, safety, counseling, education, conversation, a way to “give back” or simply a human touch. Our goal is to connect people with others, trusting that we CAN meet each other’s needs.
What excites you most about the SEED20 process?
I am super excited to meet the representatives of the other Class of 2020 organizations and tap into the amazing resources of Social Venture Partners. At Galilee, we have experienced rapid growth over the past four years and have struggled to learn how to connect with funders to support our work. Being part of the SEED20 process has already expanded the way we see ourselves and encouraged our commitment to our work in East Charlotte.
What do you hope to gain from the SEED20 experience?
The breadth of our mission challenges Galilee. Instead of meeting one specific need, we have attempted to respond holistically to the divisions in our city caused by race, nationality, religion, education, economics, and nonprofit organizational competition. This makes our organization and our impact hard to describe. I am hopeful that the SEED20 process will help us refine our messaging so we can better tell our story.
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