NBA Invites Three New Organizations to Become Incubate Partners

The National Benevolent Association’s Social Entrepreneurship program is proud to welcome three new social enterprises to our lineup of Incubate Partners.

Like all NBA Incubate partners, these organizations are Disciples-related health and social service organizations that have entered a partnership with the NBA through a Memorandum of Understanding. Meet our three new Incubate Partners below!

Global Arts & Theology Experience (GATE)

Born out of the Beyoncé Mass, which has been featured in Essence, the New York Times, and HBO’s VICE, the Global Arts & Theology Experience is “dedicated to promoting positive development for Black girls and Black women through theology and the arts.” GATE dreams of a world where all Black women and girls are empowered by their history, creativity, and potential.

The organization is founded by Rev. Yolanda Norton, who worked to bring GATE to fruition as a member of NBA’s 2021 Social Entrepreneurship Cohort. “I remember talking with Yolanda about her wanting to leap into social entrepreneurship nearly two years ago,” says Rev. Darnell Fennell, NBA Director of Social Entrepreneurship.

“Since then, she has excelled as a member of our SENT cohort and now we are excited to have GATE as an Incubate Partner.”

GATE acknowledges the ways in which the church has been complicit in racism, sexism, and other systems of inequity and injustice, and actively works to combat that by providing a brave space for Black women and girls to fellowship, worship, and heal. 

Camp Sunflower

In 2018, Camp Sunflower launched in Wichita, Kansas to serve as a safe place for young people of all sexual orientations and gender identities to connect with others, develop leadership skills, and learn coping and advocacy skills.

The camp is directed by Finn Lanning who has overseen the project since it began and managed a similar experience in Provincetown, Massachusetts. “Camp Sunflower is excited to partner with the National Benevolent Association to further our shared goal of advocating for underserved communities by creating affirming and welcoming spaces for LGBTQ+ youth to build community, develop leadership and activism skills, and to improve outcomes for these vulnerable young people,” says Lanning.

More than anything, the staff, and attendees at Camp Sunflower have one goal in mind: to make sure each person is celebrated and surrounded by a healthy, life-giving community, where campers can come as they are, and experience a positive model of love.

Empower Hope Center

The Empower Hope Center was born out of a love and passion for community. Founded in 2017 by Rev. Syvoskia Bray Pope, the organization serves as the social services arm of New Century Fellowship Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in Louisville, Kentucky.

Empower Hope Center’s mission is to “empower families, change lives, and bring transformation in the community.” The organization’s goal is to offer a range of health and social service programming that empowers individuals, strengthens families, and encourages financial literacy and wealth building.

Currently, the Center offers classes that serve people of all ages and life paths including financial education courses, support for single mothers, and presentations designed to help adults discern their career paths, even if that path involves entrepreneurship. “Rev. Pope has remained faithful to her work to serve the community as a pastor and entrepreneur. Her work shows the power of a local church understanding that social impact can occur inside and outside of the sanctuary,” says Rev. Fennell.

The three organizations officially became NBA Incubate Partners in August 2022 and will serve as partners through December 2024, receiving grant funding that will allow each non-profit to grow its ministries in new and exciting ways.

“The seeds of the work of our Social Entrepreneurship program are flourishing. All three of our new partners have either been part of SENT Seminar or our newly established SENT Cohort. GATE and Camp Sunflower have also received Mission & Ministry grants from NBA,” says Rev. Ashley Mayham, NBA’s Social Entrepreneurship Program Coordinator. “We are grateful to bring these three organizations on board and excited to see what they will do in the coming years!”

Are you looking to get involved in NBA’s Social Entrepreneurship program? Consider applying to join our 2023 SENT Cohort.