Matt Overton: A new partnership helps a social enterprise create 'networked impact' | 1/8/2019 | Staff
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Late last May, a friend contacted me with an idea: he wanted to quit his job and start an affordable, faith-based strength-training program. I told him I was on board.

To make his dream happen, we needed to raise $50,000 for equipment, come up with a business plan, persuade our church it was a good idea, clear a 1,500-square-foot warehouse of vans and junk, install the weight equipment, and begin recruiting the necessary students -- all before I headed out for a sabbatical in a little over a month’s time. We got it done.

Youth - Pastor - Entrepreneur - Ventures - Underway

Why would I -- a youth pastor and Christian social entrepreneur with several ventures of my own underway -- drop everything to do this?

I proposed that my organization try to launch this dream because I could see that it could magnify the impact of our church-based nonprofit, The Columbia Future Forge.

Future - Forge - Impact - Lives - Teens

The Future Forge already was making gospel impact on the lives of teens and young adults, getting them ready for life after high school. But for a while, I had been thinking that we needed to find ways to partner creatively with other like-minded organizations.

So we decided to form an experimental partnership with the strength-training program -- called Utmost Athletics -- under the umbrella of the existing nonprofit. We already had a teen life-skills, job-skills and mentorship program that engaged students in our county. Students in that core program can choose to take part in our other programs, such as our landscaping business. Now they’d have an additional option.

Athletics - Partner - Friend - Ty - Singleton

Utmost Athletics seemed like a great partner. My friend Ty Singleton, who had worked for years coaching athletics, had decided that God was calling him to transform sports culture. He was disillusioned with the massive industry that student athletics had become. He saw that increasingly, students were conditioned to be...
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