The ELM Foundation team traveled to Springfield, Missouri for the annual True Charity Summit on May 19-20, 2022. The City of Huntsville was well-represented at the Summit as employees of Lincoln Village Ministry, Christian Job Corps, and Adtran attended as well.

The Summit centered around giving attendees tools to help fight and alleviate poverty in ways that transform individuals, families, and communities.

The following are some of our take-aways from the Summit:

Jess Ahrens, Lincoln Village Ministry: "The Summit was an amazing opportunity to learn from other like-minded ministries and hear what God is doing around our nation. They emphasized that effective poverty alleviation must start with healing relationships with God, others, and creation. 'True Charity' is love - it is taking the time to walk alongside someone to find out their real need."

Nancy Eckhardt, Christian Job Corps: "I was encouraged by all the organizations doing such great work with their clients.  There were so many great ideas of effort-based models displayed at the conference.  I'm already using the matrix given out in the Measuring Outcomes session! We realize we need to change some things to become more relevant to the people we serve and this has been a great tool to help us.

"Traci Harris, The ELM Foundation: "I really enjoyed my time at the Summit. As a case manager, I was reminded that my work is relational. Building relationships with those I serve is key to their success. I can better understand the person as one who has something to give through their gifts and talents. Rather than putting a quick fix band-aid on the problem, I can better understand the underlying challenge and help the individual in a more meaningful, long-lasting way. I can walk along side and stay in the fight with those I serve as they work toward a better life."  

MariBeth Morgan, Adtran: "I took many notes while attending the 2022 True Charity Summit, but one note I wrote stands out the most for me. In fact, I wrote it down repeatedly. 'Dependency is merely slavery in a smiling mask.' Before attending, I believed that we can do better for the people in poverty in our community. This Summit made me feel like there’s a whole team who is ready to help us get this initiative going and help us every step of the way. I’m excited to help others break the dependency mask - once and for all."

We feel driven and empowered - now more than ever - to share what we believe is a more effective and compassionate model of charity with our greater Huntsville community. We hope you will join us in our efforts to #GiveBetter.

by Beth Zinn

True Charity Community Initiative, Program Director

"Compassion is a powerful force, a stamp of the Divine nature within our spirits." -Robert D. Lupton