Moody Grant Recipient: Galveston Urban Ministries


Moody Grant Recipient: Galveston Urban Ministries

With the support of the Moody Foundation, Galveston Urban Ministries is constructing a Retreat & Training Center to provide skills training and accommodations.
By: Josh Dorrell, Executive Director, Galveston Urban Ministries | July 25, 2023

How does Galveston Urban Ministries mission influence the work you do in the community?

Galveston Urban Ministries develops holistic relationships to transform the community.
We offer a “hand-up rather than hand-out,” and walk with our neighbors as they do the hard work to change their life circumstances and ultimately lift themselves out of poverty.

At GUM, we believe that true poverty is a broken sense of identity and a lack of vision for the future. We are passionate about helping families lift themselves out of poverty, and we do this by developing holistic relationships and programs. Our goal is to build resilience and hope in children, mentor youth as they graduate from high school and pursue higher education or fulfilling employment, prepare adults for competitive wage jobs, strengthen families, and transform our community.

How has the Moody Foundation funding been used to support your organization?

A Retreat & Training Center spanning almost 18,000 sq. ft. is set to be constructed on Galveston Island with the assistance of the Moody Foundation grant. The facility’s focus will be on offering a comprehensive culinary and job training program, as well as providing accommodations for paying guests throughout the year, while also supporting the sustainability efforts of GUM.

“The Moody Foundation has been most generous to GUM and we are grateful for the partnership,” Executive Director Josh Dorrell said. “We are excited to have this kind of backing from a local foundation to show its support in such a big way. Once word of Moody Foundation’s generous gift spread, other foundations decided to support the project too!”

GUM expects to break ground on The Center in summer 2023 and to complete construction in Spring 2024.

Equipping individuals with the tools for success – Galveston Urban Ministries’ Retreat and Training Center offers more than just a place to stay. It provides valuable job training and accommodations for those seeking to build a brighter future.

Can you tell us more about the Retreat & Training Center and how it will help?

GUM’s mission is to uplift families from poverty, especially given that 20% of Galveston’s residents live on less than $15,000 a year. To achieve this goal, the organization is developing the Retreat & Training Center, which will serve three essential purposes. First, the Center will provide training opportunities for unemployed and under-employed Galvestonians, while also creating job opportunities in management, hospitality, tourism, and marketing within the complex itself. Second, the Center will provide year-round accommodation for up to 100 paying guests, contributing to GUM’s sustainability. Lastly, the Center will serve as a shelter and resource during natural disasters.

The Center will offer a real-life training ground, where students can gain experience and certification in culinary arts, marketing, management, and groundskeeping. By accommodating 100 hotel guests nightly and hosting special events, the Center will provide a consistent revenue stream for GUM’s long-term sustainability. In addition to receiving thoughtful mentoring from GUM staff, students will build networks with individuals who can advance their careers. Upon completing the certificate programs, students will have the skills, networks, and confidence to pursue meaningful employment, either at The Center or elsewhere.

In addition to its other functions, The Retreat & Training Center will serve as a Relief Hub during natural disasters, providing shelter and services to the community. GUM staff, who have traditionally mobilized during disasters, will be able to operate out of The Center to better serve their neighbors in need.

How many individuals does your organization serve? Additionally, does your organization rely on the support of volunteers?

In 2022, GUM served 1,287 children, youth, and adults living in poverty. That same year, 440 volunteers served with GUM; 34 year-round and 406 came from across Texas to volunteer a week or more.

How do you measure success for your program?

Our measure of success for current funding is project completion (renovating The Center and opening the doors). Once built, the Retreat & Training Center will allow GUM to offer services at the core of our mission, create meaningful jobs and prepare marginalized Galvestonians for competitive wage employment while providing a consistent revenue stream and long-term sustainability for GUM.