Daily Point of Light # 1602 Mar 24, 2000

Faith, Inc. is an organization that is dedicated to helping the poor, especially the poor who are willing to work. The mission of Faith, Inc. states: “people helping people help themselves.” Faith serves women and men of all races, ex-offenders, homeless persons, and those on welfare, by providing jobs, job disciplines, and work skills training opportunities that will lead to their economic independence.

The Faith, Inc. operation began in June 1991, under the direction of Co-Founder and President, Verne Barry. Once homeless and unemployed himself, Barry used entrepreneurial experience from former jobs and his understanding of what it means to be homeless and poor to build Faith, Inc. into a thriving institution. To date, the organization has helped more than 2,000 people move along the path to economic independence.

Faith, Inc, a charitable, non-profit corporation with 501(c)(3) status, is striving to become financially self-sufficient. Revenue generated from manufacturing contracts pays the organization’s labor costs and direct overhead. To date, Faith has relied exclusively on support from the community and has not received any government funding. The generosity of individuals and private foundations has allowed Faith to pursue its established goals thus far.

To be a successful community, people need jobs, but for some people there are barriers such as alcoholism, substance abuse, and emotional problems that must first be addressed. Faith/Works is a job training employment program that operates under Faith, Inc., and provides a transitional, sheltered training/employment opportunity that “discouraged” workers often need to prepare for entering the competitive job market. The program provides basic skills necessary for survival in the job market, such as being on time, understanding and following instructions, and being competitively productive. Chronically unemployed persons are rehabilitated through this program by receiving initial job placement, training, and skill upgrades at Faith employment sites. Program participants progress from this level to halfway employment status, before finally securing employment independent of Faith, Inc.

The quantitative measurements of success for Faith, Inc. include the number of clients served, moved to “real world” employment, and moved into permanent housing, reduction in the cost per client served, and improved client self-confidence and self-image. However, the real success story behind Faith lies in personal power, power to transform lives. Within this acquisition of personal power, there are stories of once sleeping in the street or shelter to now moving into an apartment of one’s own, being reunited with family and helping financially and physically support one’s children, losing self-loathing and finding self-respect. At Faith, people that for whom having a job seemed impossible just a short time ago are now making choices, accepting responsibility for their choices and enjoying the pleasure that comes from making a good choice.