The “House of Hope" project” is a $900,000 capital campaign fundraiser to renovate, remodel, and transform the Grace and Peace Community Center into a safe haven committed to delivering social change, transforming young lives through the development and implementation of enrichment programs and services, and providing healthy meals for families in need in the North Philadelphia area.
A Letter from Zach & Julie Ertz. . .
To All of Our Wonderful and Supportive Family, Friends, and Fans:
Philadelphia has been our home for eight years and we are so excited and proud to begin the single most important project of the Ertz Family Foundation. We are eternally touched by all the indescribable love and support received since we started our mission of giving back to the community in 2018. The grit and indomitable strength of Philly have truly been the foundation on which stand in our ability to use our voice and public platform to serve its youth and families.
What started as an introduction and simple meeting in 2019 with Pastor Rob Whitmire, Pastor of Grace and Peace Community Fellowship, and Executive Director of Timoteo Sports, has transformed into a very special bond and relationship from which so much of our mission and goals align.
In the midst of the Covid pandemic, when it became a reality that high school athletes wouldn’t have sports as a way to cope with the many societal issues that they face in their daily lives, we became part of the “Beyond the Field” organization. To assist the organization with its program goals, we called upon Pastor Rob to help us locate a safe space to support youth that are profoundly and disproportionally affected by the pandemic, in addition to the loss of basic resources such as food, a safe haven during the daytime, and a way to continue their athletic training that is primarily a means for many youths as a gateway to college and a better life.
Beyond the Field quickly morphed from a platform offering football as a way to combat the risks its youth face daily in their communities to a successful program to access food, a safe haven, and a place to help supplement school programs that were inaccessible due to the pandemic.
Julie and I felt it was time to personally be involved in our community work from the ground level. Our commitment led to Julie volunteering every week and forming a bond with the youth that allowed us to learn more about the heightened issues facing the youth in their daily lives. With our proverbial “ears to the ground,” we gained the knowledge necessary to understand exactly what Philly youth and their families were dealing with not only due to the pandemic, but societal issues that impact their daily lives and the community as a whole. Violence in their neighborhoods is at an all-time high, food insecurity drastically increased, trauma in many of their homes was inescapable, and services that were typically offered in their school have decreased.
In 2016, Grace and Peace (GAP) Community Fellowship was blessed with a building in the heart of Hunting Park that was once used to raise up spiritual leaders that is now being used to raise up the Hunting Park community. As a church, GAP has been called to this great commission work in our city to serve our community in a holistic way. (Matthew 28:19-20).
GAP, along with Ertz Family Foundation, has been called to be the hands and feet of Jesus in North Philadelphia. This vision and mission will come to life in the Grace & Peace Community Fellowship "House of Hope.” The House of Hope project has been a long-time dream. It will be a place to provide much-needed space for the community to receive critical resources, encourage, empower and revive our neighbors and neighborhood, and a place of hope at a time in our world when hope is desperately needed. The House of Hope will be a place to feel God’s love for all of those who enter and with your support to get the renovation project underway, we can see our dream and God's work through fruition for the betterment of the community it will serve.
Thank you all for the amazing support throughout the years and for many years to come!
We love you all!
Zach and Julie Ertz
About Ertz Family Foundation
Ertz Family Foundation is a fiscally-sponsored project at Impact Philanthropy Group, a California nonprofit corporation with federal tax-exempt status as a public charity under IRS Section 501(c)(3). The Ertz Family Foundation works to empower others by sharing faith, learning through sports, and advancing education to build supportive communities. Visit the website at https://www.ertzfamilyfoundation.org and follow on Twitter @ErtzFoundation and Instagram @ErtzFamilyFoundation. All donations are tax-deductible to the full extent of the law. Please contact your tax advisor for further information. No goods or services were provided in exchange for your contribution.
About Grace and Peace Community Fellowship
Grace and Peace (GAP) Community Fellowship is a church body that has been serving in the Hunting Park area of North Philadelphia for the past 11 years. The House of Hope Project will be a place to provide much-needed space for the community to receive critical resources, encourage, empower and revive our neighbors and neighborhood, and be a place of hope at a time in our world when hope is desperately needed.