Grant Helps Grace Lutheran Church Expand its Reach

Articles ATF 09-23-14

The Arlington Tomorrow Foundation recently gave a $100,000 grant to Arlington’s Grace Lutheran Church’s Good Neighbor Revitalization Project.

The primary vision of the Good Neighbor project is to fix broken family homes by forming and strengthening relationships in the Arlington community and allowing mentorship to take place, said Pastor Russell Hildebrandt.

“We can bring hope in our own backyard and I consider the 3 mile radius behind our church, our backyard,” Hildebrandt said.

The church is conveniently located in the center of two YMCAs, the Central and North YMCA Family Centers. The church has additional land and has already begun leveraging it to create a space for children and families in the back of the property. When it’s complete, kids will be able to play soccer, baseball, flag football and cricket.

The target for the project is children and homes lacking a father figure, said Hildebrandt. The church wants to connect every child with a role model and mentor.

“The community has a need and Grace Lutheran has a commitment to serving others,” he said.

Members of the Key Club, a high school organization, need service hours and once the sports begin, Hildebrandt hopes to connect them to the young children on the teams to begin the mentorship process.

Key Club members could also connect with foreign students from the Lutheran Student Center who are pursuing a Master’s or Doctorate Degree at UT Arlington and begin to be mentored by them, Hildebrandt said.

“We create a way that a lot of people can be mentored, building relationships and that is again building families,“ he said.

The Arlington Independent School District has agreed in principal to the concept of this project, said Hildebrandt. Each school in AISD will be given vouchers for students to freely participate in a sports league identified by the principal.

The ultimate goals for Grace Lutheran are to bring unity to the community, assist in the building of families, provide positive environment and meet the needs of youth and family.

According to their website, the Arlington Tomorrow Foundation is a public charity serving Arlington exclusively. Its mission is to support causes that benefit the citizens of Arlington and enhance the natural surroundings and lifestyle of the city.

Since its inception in 2007, the Arlington Tomorrow Foundation has awarded more than 320 grants worth more than $9 million to local groups and projects.

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