in a year when everything changed,
project transformation's commitment to its communities only grew stronger. this is our story.
Project Transformation exists to transform communities by engaging children, college-age young adults, and churches in purposeful relationships.
COMMUNITY ISN'T CANCELLED.
As I reflect on this past year, it is overwhelming to think about how much pain and suffering has occurred – a global pandemic that has taken the lives of over 250,000 people; an accompanying economic recession that has been the most unequal in modern U.S. history, widening societal inequities and further marginalizing already vulnerable communities; and a national reckoning on systemic racism and injustice in our country following the killing of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and Ahmaud Arbery.
But in the midst of these dueling pandemics, I believe we still have reason to be hopeful. At Project Transformation, the source and foundation for this hope comes from our Christian faith. Against the backdrop of suffering, loss, and hatred, we believe in a God who transforms us and the broken systems in our world. We believe God calls us to embody this hope through mutual, loving relationships.
At the beginning of 2020, Project Transformation laid out a new vision: We envision a world that is rooted in love, pursues the equity of all people, and amplifies God’s call on every life. When the pandemic began sweeping across the country, this new vision became our North Star as we discerned how to respond to these challenges. Even though the viruses of COVID-19 and racism threatened to isolate and divide us, the Project Transformation national community came together in new and creative ways to embody love, pursue equity for those who were suffering due to the systemic injustices of racism and poverty, and amplify God’s call on every life through virtual communities.
Our 2019-2020 annual report tells the story of how Project Transformation reimagined how to live out our mission of transforming communities through relationships amidst these pandemics. It also celebrates how our incredible network of chapters, young adults, churches, and partners came together to make sure that “community isn’t cancelled” this summer.
We are deeply grateful to our affiliated network of Project Transformation chapters, and the many individuals, foundations, churches, and community partners that generously support our mission and believe in our vision. Thank you for your commitment and partnership.
PROJECT TRANSFORMATION NATIONAL
Project Transformation envisions a world that is rooted in love, pursues the equity of all people, and amplifies God's call on every life.
RELATIONSHIPS ARE OUR CORE
At Project Transformation, three groups – children, college-age young adults, and churches – build relationships with one another. These relationships are reciprocal, meaning that the individuals in the relationships both teach and learn, both give and receive, both contribute and benefit to and from the other. Transformation in one life, in one system, has the potential to impact numerous lives in numerous other systems. Thus, community transformation happens through the relationships developed and fostered in Project Transformation’s programs.
90% of parents agreed their children benefitted from the summer reading activities
SHOWING GRACE THROUGH AGILITY
When COVID-19 hit last spring, the power of relationships became evident in Project Transformation’s response. As a national network, we listened to the families in our communities to better understand how this pandemic was impacted them. Several needs emerged, including food insecurity, insufficient access to books for summer reading, and a lack of opportunities to build social-emotional skills.
3,965 children and youth received food, educational supplies, and virtual summer camp
HERE FOR EACH OTHER
I have been reminded of this truth over and over again throughout this pandemic: We are a resilient people who know how to show up for each other even when it looks different than it ever has before. Community isn’t cancelled. Even when we are grieving the way things have been in the past, we are continually finding new ways to be together, while apart.
69,570 meals and food supplies were provided to children and families
It hadn't crossed my mind that I may actually get to meet my Pen Pal. The day was winding down. The lunches and "summer camps in a bag" had been distributed. Volunteers and Telly, the Site Coordinator, were cleaning up and storing supplies. Just as we were about to finish, the last family arrived. A mother and three kids—two older boys and a tiny first-grade girl. They were a fun bunch—talkative, friendly, and thrilled about this week's "summer camp in a bag".
Telly said the little girl's name and I realized I had a Pen Pal letter for her—from me!
1,298 volunteers distributed meals and provided virtual reading support for children
STRONGER ROOTS FOR GROWTH
When Project Transformation National was formed in 2015, our primary objective was to replicate Project Transformation's model of ministry across the country. Following five years of rapid growth and expansion, we began to realize that in order for this growth to be sustainable, we need to examine the needs of the network of chapters and how our national office can best support those needs.
Thanks to a grant from the Lilly Endowment, Inc. and several other donors, Project Transformation National partnered with the Bridgespan Group in 2019–2020 to assess our strategy to strengthen and scale our impact. After a comprehensive, five-month engagement with Bridgespan and leaders from the PT network of chapters, PT National has developed a new strategic plan for how the national organization will support the network of chapters and ensure the Project Transformation network is prepared to strengthen our impact. Over the next four years, Project Transformation National will invest in key capacity-building initiatives.
If we think about the growing Project Transformation network as a tree, these capacity-building investments represent a strong root system that must be in place in order for this ministry to thrive and yield the fruit of long-term impact on children, young adults, churches, and communities.