OUR PRAYER for Gary, IN

The city of Gary, Indiana is rich in history, dating back to 1906 when it was founded as one of many steel cities in America – in fact Gary is home to the largest steel mill complex in North America. This focus on such a thriving industry made Gary a diverse, booming city where families wanted to build their lives and plant their roots. Its proximity to a major international city like Chicago, farmland and beautiful natural landscape along Lake Michigan gives it a diverse ecosystem that not many cities can boast. Despite all of the good that Gary has to offer it still holds a stigma today that puts it at a disadvantage compared to other cities with similar offerings.

What was once a growing and thriving manufacturing city has witnessed a decline in population as economic and employment opportunities have drastically decreased similarly to Detroit, Michigan. Much like the city of Detroit has seen a revival in recent years, we believe the same is possible for Gary. That is where Faithworks Network comes in. Faithworks Network is a coalition of clergymen and local community leaders  who have a vision for a brighter future and see all that Gary has to offer for current and future residents and businesses. We believe that through comprehensive collaboration among local community leaders, creative use of existing spaces and focusing on uplifting the community- redevelopment and rehabilitation is possible through 6 pillars. These include: Farm to Table, Business Growth, Holistic Healing, Environmental Justice, Renewable Energy and Community Justice. Within each of these pillars are 4 unique pathways that highlight a different focus area where we have identified funding and growth opportunities that 

While we are off to a great start in identifying the needs, planning and outlining the future of the city- we can’t do this all alone. We need faith based leaders, business leaders, community activists and residents to come to the table, bring their ideas and make sure they are representing the interests of Gary. All initiatives will be led by the chairs of each pillar but need the support and ideas of the community to really bring them to life. We are still at the beginning stages of our journey but we believe that this network can be a force for community wide growth, healing and prosperity.

OPTOMISTIC OUTLOOK

While recent years may have proven difficult and tumultuous, we have high hopes for the future of Gary. We recognize the wealth of knowledge, talent and untapped potential from the community members that are just waiting to be cultivated. We recognize the assets that the city organically has and want to build upon it.

Our vision for Gary is a brighter tomorrow that puts the residents’ best interests first and makes Gary a destination that people from all across the region, the state and even the country want to visit. The stigma currently surrounding Gary can and will be changed from a city that is impoverished and abandoned to a city that is innovative and thriving.

We may not be able to recreate the same atmosphere and industrial output of Gary’s past, but we will be able to recreate the excitement and pride that comes with innovation, opportunity and economic development.

SOLUTION FOCUSED AND COMMUNITY DRIVEN

We cannot do the work that is necessary to make our vision a reality without the full support, trust and voice of the community. While we value the knowledge and expertise of our partners and stakeholders who come in with ideas of how we can create sustainable and meaningful change, we recognize that at the end of the day- community members know their community best. The partners we have identified to launch initiatives that develop the city have years of experience and proven track records of excellence that will make them wonderful assets to the city. Our proposed solutions will take advantage of state and federal funding opportunities that address key areas of need and create sustainable, community centered programs and services.

OUR NETWORK

Farm-to-table is “a social movement which promotes serving local food at restaurants and school cafeterias, preferably through direct acquisition from the producer. “ With a farm to table approach, most foods are grown or raised locally and can help to combat the issues of food deserts in Gary by making fresh, high quality foods easily accessible to residents. It will also support restaurants, farmers markets and local businesses.

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The goal of the business growth team is to develop and support innovative projects that not only make the city of Gary more economically prosperous but create opportunities for ownership and wealth building for residents. These projects span across sectors including: construction, real estate development, tourism and hospitality and film. We will empower Gary residents to claim ownership through entrepreneurship and participation in community development corporations to voice concerns and sustain the community for years to come. 

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For a community to progress and heal, it is important to focus on growth in the most holistic way possible. This means creating resources that uplift the women, children and families that could use additional support. It means lending a hand to and serving the most vulnerable in our communities. Education, housing security and recovery from mental health and substance use disorders are just a few key areas where we hope to heal our community members.

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For our communities to be safe we must address systemic issues that cause a lack of trust with local law enforcement agencies and ensure that all of our residents have access to quality services, like community paramedicine that put their wellbeing first. Being safe as a community isn’t just about reducing crime rates, it’s also about creating spaces that give people the freedom and opportunity to enrich themselves and their communities.

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While many people are aware of the impact that the community you live in will impact the access to and quality of services and resources that will be available to you, they aren’t aware that not all communities are impacted equally by the effects of waste, pollution and quality of air or water. Our environment has a huge role in our health and wellbeing, environmental justice is critical to ensuring that we all have safe spaces to work, live and play.

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Looking forward to a bright future requires change in how we live and fuel our day to day lives. This is where renewable energy comes in as one of many solutions that can combat the issue of climate change and pollution. Within the renewable energy we hope to: reduce waste, manage energy production more efficiently, implement existing and innovative solar and wind energy technologies and educate community members on steps that we can all take to bring about a cleaner, greener Gary.

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