100 Women Who Care support Saving Grace Advocacy with $10,000 donation
Karen Nicholson hadn’t been able to get to a fundraising tea for Saving Grace Advocacy, a program at St. Paul’s United Methodist Church that offers a range of support and case management to people in need.
She felt guilty about missing the tea and verified some information about Saving Grace before going to the quarterly 100 Women Who Care event on October 16. She and others paid $100 to participate in the social fundraising event that happens quarterly in Elkhart County.
When she was selected as one of the three women to present a potential charity for the $10,000 raised at the event, she was ready. She told the group about how it had purchased a welding helmet for a man whose equipment had been stolen, how it had bought a pair of steel-toed boots for someone in need. “Even if you don’t vote for the organization, I want you to be aware,” she said.
The women in attendance did vote to give the money to the ministry. Nicholson called Sandy Lindahl, president of the ministry’s board, and said, “I just have some news. We won.” Lindahl was so excited she hung up on her friend. Even the next morning, Lindahl thought it was a dream.
Chris Ulery started Saving Grace Advocacy in early 2014 in the old parsonage of the historic Elkhart church where she attends. She was working for another non-profit and also getting a master’s of social work. When she needed an internship, she convinced the church to back her work helping homeless in particular, but anyone with need. As the weather has turned colder, she’s been giving away a lot of blankets and coats. Donations support the small but effective ministry. It often needs diapers, sanitary wipes, prepackaged food, toilet paper and clothing.
Ulery works with other agencies to aid men, women and children. Police referred the welder whose equipment had been stolen. Someone else needed money for a drug test as part of a drug application and then got the job. She helps people read mail, navigate disability paperwork, and worked two years to get identification for a man with mental illness.
Saving Grace Advocacy spent about $14,000 last year. The 100 Women Who Care donation, along with the $3,000 or so from the tea, will help the work to continue. So far this year, Ulery has helped 650 clients.
“The work Ulery is doing in Saving Grace Advocacy is remarkable,” said Candy Yoder, Chief Program Officer for the Community Foundation of Elkhart County. “We’re so glad when the generosity of this community helps fund the work of caring people meet the needs.”