July 30, 2014

Respect and pride on the East Side









Located on Saginaw’s east side is a sports and fitness park that is a true “gem.” Established by New Life Ministries outreach program Mission in the City in 2011, the park, filling a city block at N. 6th and N. 7th Streets and Federal and Janes Avenues, serves as a hub for residents in the area.

“In 1999, we conducted a survey to find out the needs of the community and how we, as a church, could fulfill those needs,” said Bradley, pastor of New Life Ministries. “Near the top of the list was recreation.”

Bradley says the church began acquiring property in a block-long area directly across from the church and constructed the Mission in the City Sports and Fitness Park. The park features two full-sized basketball courts with bleachers to seat approximately 70 people, a picnic pavilion and a quarter-mile paved walking track.


“Our park, staffed by volunteers and open to the public daily from 6:30 a.m. to 8:30 p.m., provides a clean, safe, family-friendly environment,” said Bradley. “It is never open without supervision, and in the three years the park has been open, there have been zero discipline or vandalism incidents. There is a tremendous amount of respect.”

Since 2011, the park has been filling a need for recreation opportunities for residents of the neighborhood. Bradley admits, though, that one thing was missing.

“There isn’t anything for the young children to do – those between ages 2 and 5.”


Helping improve the community

In 2012, Saginaw Community Foundation introduced a new community improve­ment initiative which will grant $25,000 to a selected project in the community each year. An additional $5,000 can be added to the grant total if the initial grant is matched.

“We defined a community improvement initiative as a project that will create indelible, measurable impacts in the immediate and broader community,” said Foundation president and CEO Reneé Johnston. “These projects need to be supported and planned by a broad range of community members ranging from businesses to governmental entities to neighborhoods and individuals.”

The initiative extends beyond existing charitable organizations, churches, schools and county/city officials. Individuals, community groups, neighborhoods, businesses and youth groups can apply if they utilize the Foundation as a fiscal agent. New and existing community projects are eligible.












A safe place to play

After careful consideration of all grant applicants, the SCF Board of Directors shared Bradley’s vision of a safe place to play within the Sports and Fitness Park and awarded the 2013 Community Improvement Initiative Grant to Mission in the City. The grant will be used to construct a curriculum-driven playground geared for children ages 2-5.

“A curriculum-driven playground will provide children an opportunity for brain stimulus,” said Bradley. “They will be able to explore music and play counting games while exercising. The beauty of the playground design is that the children won’t realize that they are learning while playing.”

By December 2013, Mission in the City raised the matching $25,000 and was awarded the additional $5,000 as part of the Community Improvement Initiative. A ribbon cutting ceremony occured in early June 2014.

“This park is a source of pride for the neighborhood. It’s a hub for social gatherings,” Bradley said. “The community has embraced this park and taken owner­ship of it. With the grant award, we are excited to be able to add a playground and provide a safe, supervised place for young children to play.”


What is the Community Improvement Initiative?

Learn more about how to apply and the types of projects we are searching for to provide funding.





Making an Impact: 2013 Annual Report

2013 was another great year of making an impact in Saginaw County. Download a PDF and read more inspiring stories and see what is going on “behind-the-scenes” in our latest annual report.