Each month, the PMA Blog will feature a past/current client that is making exceptional progress in advancing its mission and vision. The showcased client will typically exhibit strategies that are timely and speak to challenges and opportunities facing us all.
This month’s Nonprofit of the Month is the Charlotte Rescue Mission. The Mission has a long history of reaching out to the homeless and to those battling addictions. Founded in 1938, the Charlotte-based ministry was started by nine Christian business leaders, including the father of evangelist Billy Graham. It initially fed, clothed and sheltered the homeless and poor, while providing them with chapel services.
Today, the Mission provides an intensive drug and alcohol recovery program to homeless or about-to-become-homeless men and women. The goal of this thriving ministry is to address the spiritual, mental, physical, emotional, social, and vocational issues of addiction with each person and return them as contributing members of society. Charlotte Rescue Mission works to minister the good news of Christianity to individuals caught in the cycles of poverty, hopelessness, and chemical addictions by meeting their spiritual, physical, social, psychological, and vocational needs.
Charlotte Rescue Mission serves 500 men and women a year through its renowned “Rebound” and “Dove’s Nest” long-term Christian recovery programs. Rebound is a 140-bed long-term residential recovery program for men who are homeless or at risk of becoming homeless and who are addicted to drugs or alcohol. Dove’s Nest serves 23 women a year at its 12-bed shelter for homeless, addicted women, 99 percent of whom also have a history of sexual abuse. The Rescue Mission is scheduled to open a new 120-bed women’s shelter in the fall that will include 30 beds for the children of residents.
Every Christmas, Easter and Thanksgiving hundreds of men, women and children are served “like they were at Grandma’s house” with a deluxe breakfast and dinner. During Thanksgiving 2011, the Mission served over 400 guests with dignity (white linens, wait staff, no standing in line), had celebrity hosts, provided new shoes to the homeless (partnering with Samaritan’s Feet) and allowed guests the use of cell phones to call friends and relatives. Guests were invited to stay throughout the day to watch movies and Thanksgiving Day football.
The Rev. Tony Marciano has served as the Mission’s executive director since 1996. The New Jersey native previously served as executive director of Central Union Mission in Washington, D.C., where he pioneered the country’s first family and parenting conference for homeless men and women.
As with most ministries, the Charlotte Rescue Mission is greatly dependent on philanthropic support and the thousands of volunteer hours performed every year. When discussing donors recently, Reverend Marciano said, “the Mission’s donors are our absolute lifeline. Because we do not accept Government or United Way funding, we simply could not do what we do with our donor’s generous support.”