November 15, 2010

What Can One Person Do?

A lot. Ask Eric Hillegas, former associate minister at St. Mary’s Episcopal Church, Upham’s Corner.

Today’s new Fieldwork posting begins the story of how Eric is bringing his vision of free tutoring programs to an inner city neighborhood. As associate minister at St. Mary’s in the Upham’s Corner section of Dorchester, Mass., Eric saw a great need for programs to break the cycle of academic failure that often plagues inner city neighborhoods.

The funding model was simple: Invite congregations in affluent suburban communities to partner with Episcopal City Tutoring to offer quality SAT prep tutoring at market rate pricing in their community, using the net proceeds to underwrite a similar program in the inner city.

“The program creates a concrete partnership between urban and suburban parishes, “ explains Eric. “It forges new relationships between our churches and expanding our mission to the broader community. This kind of partnership is as old as the Christian Church. When St. Paul was travelling around the ancient Mediterranean and planting churches in affluent cities like Philippi and Corinth he was also gathering a collection of money for the poor church in Jerusalem. I’d like to build on that model by using a tool that wasn’t available to Paul: the capital market. By tapping into our established network of church buildings, we’d like to establish profitable tutoring centers in affluent cities and then send that money to the poor neighborhoods of Dorchester.”

Click here to read the first installment of Eric’s story.

Do you have a story to share about how one person, one family, one community, or one church can make a difference?