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3 min read

A Thanksgiving Reflection: Our mission, your partnership

In the spirit of Thanksgiving, UGM Development Director Steve Ellisen pauses to reflect on our organizational core value of Thankfulness. His work allows him to meet many of UGM’s partners who minister alongside us to those facing homelessness and addiction. He knows firsthand that the work of receiving is also the work of gratitude as we witness God’s love and compassion displayed in our community’s generosity.


 

Beyond Words on the Wall

Steve EllisenAs you walk into any of the UGM facilities, there are a couple of notable pieces on the walls. One of them is our mission statement which says this: “Partnering with the Inland Northwest to reach the poor with the love and power of the gospel so that they may become God-dependent, contributing members of society.” A well-written mission statement does many things for an organization.  Most importantly it gives direction—this is who we are. 


Who are we as a ministry? We are a ministry that is endeavoring every day to give men, women, and children the opportunity to reset life; to understand who they are as an image bearer of God and therefore the God-given possibility of living out their purpose. What is so motivating about working here at UGM is this: our mission statement is much more than a set of words on a wall—it is happening in real life. It is being lived out every day as stories unfold of men, women, and children leaving behind trauma and addiction and becoming, “God-dependent, contributing members of society.”   

 

“It is only because of the partnership we have with the greater Spokane, Coeur d’Alene, and Lewiston communities.

 

Gratitude for the Inland Northwest Community

The first part of the mission statement says, “Partnering with the Inland Northwest.” How are we able to see lives reset, renewed, and restored? It is only because of the partnership we have with the greater Spokane, Coeur d’Alene, and Lewiston communities.

DonationEvery day, we receive a check, a credit card contribution, a gift from a donor-advised fund, or a gift of stock that is given to provide for this ministry to change lives. THANK YOU.


Legacy-1Every day, there is a conversation with someone who is considering naming UGM in their estate plans, leaving a legacy of hope for the next generation. THANK YOU.


Motors-DonationEvery day, someone walks into UGM Motors and hands the keys over as a gift to UGM—a car, a van, a boat, an RV, a motorcycle, or a lawnmower. The donated vehicle allows someone to buy it, and the proceeds from the sale support crucial services providing that pathway out of trauma, out of addiction, out of the loss of community and connection. THANK YOU.


Thrift-StoreEvery day, someone walks into one of our three UGM Thrift Stores or the UGM Warehouse and donates clothes, furniture, household items, tools, and more. Those items are prepared and presented on our retail floors and you, the community, purchase these items. Every dime returns to the ministry to see lives changed.   THANK YOU.


VolunteerEvery day, hundreds of volunteers give of their time working at an administration desk, teaching a child’s class, mentoring expectant moms, preparing, and serving meals, volunteering in IT, in our warehouses, in our maintenance services, etc.  THANK YOU.

 

The list is long in terms of “Partnering with the Inland Northwest.” THANK YOU.


God’s Provision and UGM’s Financial Values

UGM was founded here in the Inland Northwest in 1951. Early on in our history as a ministry, our board leadership established two core identities for our ministry. One was that we would not hold long-term debt. The other was that we would be dependent on the Lord for our funding, not receiving government funds to operate. I am happy to say this holds true today. How is that possible?  We have 235 employees; 13 facilities across Spokane, CDA, and Lewiston to maintain and operate every day; and countless vehicles picking up goods and providing services. A guiding phrase for me is this: “God provides where His hand points.” God is providing for this ministry through you. It is possible because of the list of your efforts above. 

 

THANK YOU for partnering with UGM, for being in this with us, seeing the lives of men, women, and children changed.”

 


Thankfulness Beyond the Holiday

Another item hanging on our walls at UGM is a poster of our core values. One of those is thankfulness. Yes, it is almost Thanksgiving so I’m emphasizing gratitude this week, but thankfulness is a core value for UGM all year long. It is heartfelt and central to who we are. THANK YOU for partnering with UGM, for being in this with us, seeing the lives of men, women, and children changed. THANK YOU for providing a pathway for our brothers and sisters in need to “become God-dependent, contributing members of society.”

 

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