SPEC IAL FEATURE
PARTNERING FOR CHANGE By: Jennifer Tudor
t requires a strong vision and determination to impact a seemingly intractable problem like homelessness.
On any given night, more than half a million people are without permanent homes in the United States. And Stockton is not immune. So how does a community combat a growing problem like homelessness? There are simply not enough government resources available, so cities rely on non-profit agencies to help. In turn, organizations like the Gospel Center Rescue Mission (GCRM) largely depend on charitable donations from individuals and businesses to help fund their programs — and look for creative ways to broaden community awareness. For over 75 years GCRM has served the Stockton and surrounding communities by providing food, shelter, clothing, addiction treatment and medical care for the homeless. And since its inception, GRMC has remained true to its core belief that each and every homeless person is an individual — not a statistic. When a person walks through the doors at the Gospel Center they might be seeking temporary shelter or a hot meal, but what they get is an opportunity to change their lives. When Wayne Richardson took over the CEO position in 2016, he envisioned new ways to strengthen community relationships and broaden awareness of GCRM through partnerships with corporations.
“When we realized just how bad the homeless situation has gotten here, we wanted to make a commitment to help…and not just a one-time donation,” says Johnson. “We have the resources and the passion to make a positive social impact, and the fact that we can actually sponsor individuals on their path to leading productive lives is powerful.” PHIL JOHNSON | President of Lincoln Center
Wayne Richardson and Phil Johnson
And Lincoln Center was a logical choice — a locally owned and operated business with strong community ties. The partnership with Lincoln Center offers a unique opportunity to help the homeless a bit differently than traditional philanthropy. As Richardson explains, “Instead of just a check being written we are joining forces to help work on the homelessness problem together. It enables a branding of a non-profit like ourselves with a community leader like Lincoln Center and becomes a winning situation for us both.” President and CEO of Lincoln Center, Phil Johnson, is proud of the partnership and three-year commitment to partner with the agency. “When we realized just how bad the homeless situation has gotten here, we wanted to make a commitment to help…and not just a one-time donation,” says Johnson. “We have the resources and the passion to make a positive social impact, and the fact that we can actually sponsor individuals on their path to leading productive lives is powerful.” Lincoln Center has pledged financial, promotional and hands-on support. Last month several volunteers from Lincoln Center rolled up their sleeves and painted at the Gospel Center as part of the “Love Stockton” work day. Another mutual benefit of the partnering, Richardson says, is that the branding includes all Lincoln Center merchants. They can feel good about making a difference in the community, and their
LINC OLN C E NTER C HRONIC LE | N OVEMBER 2017