Another Avenue to Spread Love and Grace to Our City

Greg Hockenbrocht moved to the city three years ago and got involved volunteering with Hope for New York after hearing about our work through his church—during Christmas, he volunteered at His Toy Store. But he wanted to go deeper in the mission to spread mercy and justice throughout New York City. It was then that a close friend and HFNY staff member suggested he consider joining the Community Grants Circle, a collection of volunteers, church staff, donors, and friends of HFNY who participate and advise in our grant-making process.

We asked Greg about what he’s learned and experienced as a member of the CGC at HFNY.

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How did being on the CGC allow you to engage more deeply with the poor and marginalized in NYC?

I found that the responsibilities and opportunities provided through the CGC caused me to become more deeply engage with HFNY, its affiliates, and the poor and marginalized in our city. These responsibilities include partnering with HFNY board members and other CGC members to review affiliate grant applications, conduct onsite due diligence, and guide grant decisions in the coming year.

As part of our onsite visits, we actively dialogue with affiliate founders and executive management teams, who live and breathe their organization's mission and vision each day. We hear from each affiliate, often about how they are uniquely positioned to engage with and address the needs of the community they seek to come alongside. I am fortunate to have found an avenue to serve in this capacity, and I continue to look forward to opportunities that involvement with the CGC brings!

How has being on the CGC had an impact on you? On your view of the city?

After serving on the CGC last year, my eyes were opened to many of the needs of individuals and families in our city, whom in many instances, may be living down the street, or just around the block from us.

More specifically, last year, I had an opportunity to visit with World Vision in the Bronx as part of the work we do through the CGC. As we explored their space, including the Teacher Resource Center, their team shared insight and detail about the community they serve. By setting itself in one of the poorest congressional districts in the United States, World Vision creates opportunity to serve the immediate needs of children and families throughout the Bronx.

For example, each school year, they engage with families that lack the resources to purchase school supplies for their children. Each child who comes to World Vision is given a backpack filled with all the supplies they need for the start of their year. This is one example of the many ways that World Vision, fueled by HFNY’s commitment and the involvement of the CGC, continues to work with children, families, and their communities to reach their full potential by loosing the grip of poverty in their neighborhoods.

What would you say to someone who's thinking about joining the CGC?

For those who may consider taking steps to engage more deeply with the needs of those throughout our city, HFNY’s CGC provides a terrific avenue to serve and spread the love and grace of Christ in our city.