About us: HISTORY

SCOTT’S LIFE TRANSFORMATION

I owned a fastener company and was chasing the dollar really hard, not spending enough time at home. One Saturday, God changed my heart. There was a guy across the street pushing a shopping cart in the middle of winter. I was prompted to go out with my fleece lined housecoat. I gave him the coat and the look on his face was amazement and thankfulness.

This was a guy who had nothing, he was homeless. I looked at people like that before and thought, ‘Get a job,’ or some hard-hearted thing. I didn’t show a lot of compassion for them, but God really used this man to change my heart. I returned to my office and prayed for a new heart and the courage to live in a way that’s all in for Him.

I sold my business and worked Habitat for Humanity, helping them open a ReStore. I started doing salvage and putting product into the store with people coming out of jail or prison. They didn’t know what it was like to work. I heard comments like, ‘Wow, that really felt good,’ and some light bulbs went off. No one had ever taken time to pour into their life and teach them how to work.

Then some guys came into my life who needed housing. There were a couple of houses for sale at Hall and Division. I bought them, fixed them up and rented them to guys who no one else would rent to because of poor credit or lack of money. There was a need.

This building became available so my wife and I bought it, not completely knowing what we were going to do with it, just stepping out in faith. I just started showing up here every day with 5-6 guys who had come into my life. We put men to work rehabbing the building. We didn’t always know where work was going to come from. We started cleaning, repairing and painting apartments. We purchased homes in the community, rehabbed and sold them. We manufactured and assembled bracelets for Starbucks.

The need for work is so intense out there. When we hire employees, they are so thankful. They finally have hope. I’ve seen some put their faith into the Lord. There’s transformation towards spouses. Family relationships that were broken are restored. Now that they’re employed, they’re able to rent an apartment, buy a car or find a new job since they have strong references on their resume.

It hasn’t always been easy, but God has provided work and the resources that Next Step needs.


Business as Unusual Timeline

2007

Property is purchased in the core city, and men who cannot find work are paid to do the renovation…These men share their lives and stories together, and the dream of ‘Next Step’ is born.

2008

April, 2008: Next Step receives its 501 © 3 non-profit status.

3 men are on the construction team, doing cleaning, trash-outs, simple maintenance work; 2008 Budget $125,000

2009

Next Step becomes a Community Development partner with the City of Grand Rapids, and becomes a certified contractor in the Neighborhood Stabilization Program (N.S.P.).

Through the N.S.P. initiative, Next Step acquires the contracts for 6 full remodel projects

2010

Construction team grows to 10 men, and Next Step’s reputation for quality work continues to grow; 2010 Budget $775,000..

All NSP 1 projects are completed, and sold, on time and within budget requirements.

2011

Next Step continues its participation, and signs up for N.S.P. 2… 5 full remodel projects are secured.

September, 2011: Initial conversations about doing assembly work for Starbucks.

October, 2011: Next Step becomes a certified supplier for Starbucks. 22 men and women are hired, 60% of the warehouse is transformed into a production facility, new office and additional bathroom.

November, 2011: Production team is assembling, packing and shipping 25,000 bracelets a day. Lives are being changes through paid work and a positive and encouraging environment.

2012

N.S.P. comes to a close.
Total NSP1 and NSP2 dollars managed in partnership with the City of Grand Rapids is $1,775,000

Next Step production continues its work with Starbucks, and has started to secure future contracts for production/assembly work.

Working relationship with Kent County begins.

Working relationship with the Kent County Land Bank Authority begins.

Conversations on how Next Step works with Seeds of Promise begin.

Over 50 people employed over the course of the year

2012 Budget exceeds $1,000,000

Deo Gloria

Copyright 2013. Next Step West Michigan.