Not all that happens at General Convention takes place in the House of Deputies or the House of Bishops. One of the biggest groups meeting here is Episcopal Church Women (ECW), who hold their triennial meetings in conjunction with General Convention. At their meeting, they voted on the UTO grants, which are directly funded by donations from people all over The Episcopal Church using those familiar UTO “Blue boxes.” This year Chris Whitaker was thrilled to accept a UTO grant for $43,000 on behalf of All the Way Up, which he serves as executive director.
All the Way Up is a tutoring program for adults in Newark launched in 2016 as an outgrowth of Newark Shared Ministries, a partnership between urban and suburban churches and agencies. Classes are taught in a renovated classroom “all the way up” on the second floor of House of Prayer, Newark, and support is provided by Christ Church, Short Hills; St. Paul's, Chatham; and the Diocese of Newark, among others.
“The work and ministry we are doing at All the Way Up is changing lives through personalized access to education. This approach has been live-giving and transformative to all involved: students, volunteers and staff,” said a joyful Whitaker, as he stood with the UTO leaders to accept the grant.
The United Thank Offering has been offering these grants since 1889. This year, the UTO Board received 68 grant applications and was able to fund 34 grants, totaling $1,257,778.18.
“This grant from the UTO allows All the Way Up to expand staff and programming to meet the demands of adult learners in Newark and the surrounding communities,” said Whitaker. “Expanded programs include GED (HiSET) and pre-GED prep, computer literacy o courses, ESL (English as a Second Language), and job readiness seminars. Additionally, the UTO grant will allow for additional community outreach and partnerships in the wider Essex County community.”
For more information about All the Way Up, including volunteer opportunities, visit their website, allthewayupnj.org.