StepUp Ministry was founded in 1988 by members of White Memorial Presbyterian Church and became an incorporated, self-sustaining 501c(3) in 1989. The early mission of StepUp was to provide transitional housing to working families who were homeless or on the verge of becoming homeless. StepUp’s early program model was adapted from a similar program in Dallas, Texas and was focused on financial literacy. Program participants met weekly with mentors (co-partners) to share dinner (provided by volunteers) and review the participant’s income, expenses and savings. Over 250 families have gone through this program and 80% have moved into independent housing upon concluding their time at StepUp.
Since its inception, StepUp has sought the support of the wider faith community. As a faith-based ministry StepUp is currently supported by a number of congregations across Raleigh. The make-up of the Board reflects the diversity of these faith groups and also includes former clients of the program.
On February 8, 2004, StepUp entered a new era. On that day, a major grant was received through the White Memorial Community Fund to enable StepUp to undertake a new, comprehensive program model. Building on the strengths of almost two decades of experience, StepUp now offers participants a year-long, phased, incentive driven program leading to safe, affordable housing and a stable, life-sustaining job.
The comprehensive program model continues to serve working families while expanding to meet the needs of single adults (particularly ex-offenders). A core curriculum has been created to address financial literacy and responsibility, physical and mental health, spiritual nurture, and healthy relationships. A management system (the Balanced Scorecard) has been implemented to tie our strategies to objectives and measures that generate monthly reports and long-term measurable outcomes. StepUp now works with approximately 500 adults and 75 children a year.