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2018 Top-Rated Nonprofit

Guiding Light

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Nonprofit Overview

Mission: Guiding Light exists to create a healing experience that allows individuals to discover a new life in Christ. We expect re-engagement in community. We provide food and shelter to all and resources to men that support their social, physical, spiritual and intellectual needs.

Target demographics: Homelessness, joblessness, addiction, recovery

Direct beneficiaries per year: 737 Individuals back to work, off the street and on a payroll.

Geographic areas served: Grand Rapids, MI

Programs: A 90-day, live-in Back to Work program; a Long-term Addiction Recovery program, or The Job Post, a local staffing agency located within Guiding Light to serve the community.

Community Stories

28 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

1

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

Guiding Light creates an avenue for men in Grand Rapids to receive assistance in recovering their lives from addiction as well as securing employment and job placement. This org is different in the sense that it helps men find their footing as opposed to giving them a resource and leaving them to fend for themselves after. Many of the men work in the facility and there is an emphasis on donor appreciation among the staff and development office that is unparalleled in the nonprofit world.

Ellie P.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have become acquainted with many men who have been in the Guiding Light programs. This has been through my own recovery. I have been so impressed with the success rate of the programs, and have seen several men make dramatic life changes. What a wonderful program - it combines excellent programming, a safe environment for those in the program, and adequate time to make life changes. Throughout it all, the men are fully supported by a caring, dedicated staff. My husband and I have enjoyed volunteering and are great supporters of this nonprofit.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have been involved with the Guiding Light Mission since 2006. It was good then but nowhere near as good and effective as it is today! They are not concerned about "filling beds" as they were previously. Today they focus on building up men who for whatever reason, have fallen into some type of addiction. The Mission, as I like to refer to it as, is doing all phases of rebuilding these men from recovery, job hunting and placement, housing, and follow up. I would encourage anyone and everyone to visit the Mission and take a tour. Here what they are doing and well above the national averages for program houses.

Cory Dean S.

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

This organization is aware of the need to support men and they value the donations as they value the men. High level of accountability and stewardship with men and donations. There is hope with the help you offer; monetary, material donations or service.

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

I had no idea how great of an organization this is until I started working with The Guiding Light! The dedication they have to the community and those that walk through the door is amazing! The work they do definitely deserves 5 stars and I encourage anyone that isn't familiar with this non profit to go take a look!

2 John H.4

Volunteer

Rating: 5

My Name is John Hair. For over a year and a half I've volunteered for Guiding Light Works. I have to say the transformation in the lives of the men in this program is nothing short then a true miracle to have been able to witness first-hand! The staff are truly genuine and committed to their mission. The men in this program, are shown the tools and support for them to achieve reengaging back into the community as productive members in the workforce and as positive role models for each other including for their families and loved ones. Add to this mixture of a driven and compassionate staff at Guiding Light Works, the men in the program, in tandem with a supportive donor community network ranging from local area businesses, organizations of faith, and individual donors and volunteers, All collectively working together, equals an unparalleled success rate and proven track record.

Said in short,

"Guiding Light Works, is an amazing organization whom are in the daily business of saving and restoring lives and families each and every day, 365 days of the year"

1 JayDePoy

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Guiding Light has deconstructed the traditional methodology in serving the marginalized. The intentionality to communicate the mission, to share stories of transformation, and to celebrate individual victories has confirmed the implementation of positive changes.

I have been volunteering in the Heartside District of Grand Rapids for the past few years, and the reputation of Guiding Light is impeccable. The men whom are in recovery from self-destruction and/or experiencing a housing crisis, are frequently pointed to the brick building on the Division Avenue... the one with the sign that says, "We are not a mission. We are on one."

The holistic approach to individual transformation (mind/body/spirit) is evident from entrance to exit. The job placement program helps men rebuild their lives one dollar at a time. The recovery program helps men rebuild their lives one 'step' at a time. Within the doors of Guiding Light you can feel the sense of belonging, believing, and becoming.

There is order from chaos. There is intention and strategy behind every policy. There is grace. There is hope. There is an invitation to be a part of the ongoing narrative of redemption.

- Jay DePoy
(Volunteer, Ready For Life)

1

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

In the last 12 months, over 600 individuals are no longer homeless and are employed full-time. Off the street and on a payroll. That is called results!

1 Sheila L.3

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have volunteered for GL for almost 5 years now and see positive changes almost every time I’m there. The Development office is staffed by truly dedicated people who work diligently to fulfill the mission of GL. I see constant evidence of stewardship regarding the financial offerings provided by donors. As a retired professional I am proud to say I work at GL as a volunteer. They are making a lasting difference in the lives of the men who are in their programs.

1

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

Guiding Light is one of the only agencies that truly operates as a solution to end homelessness and addiction in the Grand Rapids community. Their services not only meet the immediate needs of those in our community, but also set their clients up for success in the long-term.

Additionally, funds are used extremely ethically. Nearly 80 cents on every dollar goes to direct programming. All of the programs at Guiding Light are free to the individuals who need them and are not subsidized by government funds.

1 Maria K.2

Donor

Rating: 5

Excellent recovery program for anyone really wanting to get the help they need to get clean from drugs or alcohol.

1 Olivia Jenison B.

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

I have worked with Guiding Light for a year now and truly believe in the organization's mission to help men off the street and on a payroll. When men come to us they are broken and are looking for the tools to rebuild their lives. We assist them through our 120 day Back to Work program and our 120 day minimum Guiding Light Recovery program.

3 Johnny B.

Client Served

Rating: 1

While I was there at the mission I watched this organization have a policy of telling the people who wanted to get in their addiction program that if they had debt that they couldn't enter that program. I watched them turn a man away for that reason. The director himself lost his burger king buisnesses owing money to his suppliers. It seems to me that they really don't want to help some of the very people they appear to be helping. I also watched as a man named paul be very rude.

1

Board Member

Rating: 5

Guiding Light Mission is an excellent organization. I've been a Board Member, Volunteer (primarily as a Mentor) and a donor over the years. All of the programs are Christ centered and are designed to help the men get re-engaged back in to their families/work/community. People are fed, have a place to stay overnight, and the Addiction Recovery Program is where the men have the most life changing experience.

Alumni come back to help.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I teach the men in the program at the misson about banking services. They are eager to learn what is going on in the business world. The staff at the mission enlists my volunteer services to help the men gain valuable knowledge and provide a well rounded education. The facility is always neat and clean and the men well kept and attentive.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I recently came to GLM as part of a service learning programe and have had nothing but positive experiances. The staff at Guiding Light are engaged, hard working people, who seem to genuinly care about the people in our community. They, along with their volunteers, have worked hard to provide not only food and shelter, but professional level services to men in need. These services provide an effective and practicle way to change lives and to help build a better world.

Jessica T.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Watching the people Guiding Light serves make positive transformations and find themselves in the hearts of people who care is a wonderful experience that I look forward to encountering every week when I volunteer at Guiding Light Mission. For almost a year, I have worked with the people who benefit from the services provided by Guiding Light Mission. I have heard stories that have touched my heart and changed me forever. People are truly grateful for having this haven...this place to go for help, hope, and love. I am grateful for the opportunity to grow and reach out to others. Guiding Light is a catalyst for change in the hearts and minds of the people it touches, whether they may be a volunteer, a board member, or a patron. Thank you for all you do GLM :)

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

Guiding Light is a role model in its involvement with the community, its focus on holding its program men accountable, and its ability to get people talking about important issues such as homelessness. I am proud to be affiliated with GLM!

Client Served

Rating: 5

Hello ny name is Rob and I am a new creation. It didn't happen overnight to be sure, but thanks to the START program I have been clean and sober for over two years. I am a successful graduate of Victory Trade School, and am back home to mend fences in my relationships and to start new ones. Thank you!!!

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Guiding Light Mission is such a great support for the Grand Rapids Community. It is truly amazing seeing all the wonderful things they do to help out those in need!