East Carver Heights Community Development Corporation, ECHCDC, was founded by St. Thomas Episcopal Church in 2020 to expand on the work and relationships begun in the neighborhood through Boxwood Soccer and Ministries.
Greg and Lisa Herring, while living in Atlanta, developed soccer teams with refugees. Several of their players have played on the collegiate and even on the professional level. Greg and Lisa wanted to bring their love of soccer to Columbus, and Boxwood Soccer was born.
Through soccer, church members got to know families in the area. The relationships formed through soccer led to a Path to Shine Mentoring and tutoring program with children, a partnership with Brewer Elementary School, and the Boxwood FANN food co-op. We also built a relationship with Carver Heights Presbyterian Church, the only church located in East Carver Heights.
When the pandemic hit, the work of these ministries continued and expanded. Through these relationship networks, we connected families to resources for education, food security, medical care, and housing assistance.
Establishing ECHCDC allows this work to reach more people in the neighborhood and build wider networks of support. The goal is to prevent homelessness and create greater security and stability for all residents in the neighborhood by building up people’s gifts and connecting them to resources in the community.
St. Thomas Church provided seed money to start the non-profit, purchase a van, and pay a part-time executive director’s salary for the first year. Together, St. Thomas and ECHCDC will continue to coordinate Brewer Elementary School’s partnership and Path to Shine. ECHCDC will coordinate soccer, the FANN food co-op (in partnership with Feeding the Valley), and support homelessness prevention.