The Stairstep Foundation was formed in 1992 as a God-inspired response to a set of awesome challenges that confronted society at large and African-Americans, in particular. Our thinking was that the pain indicators leading to societal distress (teen pregnancy, youth crime, drug abuse, etc.,) were not new, but, had become more intense and widespread than other historical time periods because the critical connections of people one to another were replaced by isolation and alienation. The sense of community had been broken.
We concluded that restoration of a spirit of community requires intentional approaches to encourage people to act as if they believe they belong together. Therefore, Stairstep has pressed forward to:
- Understand the components, processes and dynamics required to revive a spirit of community.
- Provoke discussion and encourage others to embrace community building as a priority agenda item.
- Create and document replicable models and strategies that build community.
Programs of the Stairstep Foundation have occured in a wide range, from journeys to Africa, in which a cross section of community youth visit their heritage, while building relations with distinguished elders; to $2,000 encouragement grants to individuals that bring forward strong ideas for community progress.