[Westlake, Ohio] – Community West Foundation announced True Freedom Ministries as the 2023 recipient of the David and Martha Hessler Illuminating Hope Award. True Freedom Ministries is a nonprofit organization dedicated to reaching people locked in jails and prisons, the homeless and those suffering from addiction across Ohio. They work in partnership with correctional facilities and private organizations to apply a multi-faceted approach to Prison Ministry incorporating evangelism, discipleship and mentorship with pre-release education and post-release programming. This approach creates a climate based upon faith, positive values and accountability which provides the tools to equip prisoners and ex-offenders with behavioral skills, job training and experience for successful reintegration into their communities.
The announcement was made during the Foundation’s Virtual Community Update which happened on Thursday, July 27th at Noon. Mike Swiger, Executive Director of True Freedom Ministries, appeared during the program to talk about their work in the prisons. Warden of Grafton Correctional Institution, Keith Foley, was also interviewed to talk about the positive impact True Freedom has on the inmates while in prison and when they are released. Funding from Community West Foundation supports the nonprofit’s work in Greater Cleveland and Lorain County.
The award itself is a replica of the Homeless Jesus statue by Canadian artist, Timothy Schmalz, creator of the Matthew 25 Collection installed in Cleveland by the Foundation. In addition, the winner receives a $10,000 unrestricted grant. The award is named after long-time Community West supporters and philanthropists, David and Martha Hessler, and was created to recognize a local nonprofit with a deep history and commitment to our community that is truly Illuminating Hope.
L-R: Marty Uhle, Community West Foundation President & CEO, Mike Swiger, True Freedom Ministries Executive Director, Maureen Stanton, Community West Foundation Grantmaker, Peter Schindler, Community West Foundation Senior Grantmaker