Helping Churches Help People

aka Love INC - Newaygo County   |   Grant, MI   |


Love INC, in its most basic form, is a partnership of local Christian churches working in a coordinated way to address and respond to the needs of our neighbors. The Church is ideally suited by design and definition to address human needs…spiritually, physically, relationally and emotionally. Love INC brings churches together into one working unit to share the love of God with our neighbors in need (1 John 3:18). Our mission: To mobilize local churches to transform lives and communities in the Name of Christ.

Ruling year info


Executive Director

Traci Slager

Main address

11 W. 96th Street

Grant, MI 49327 USA

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NTEE code info

Emergency Assistance (Food, Clothing, Cash) (P60)

Financial Counseling, Money Management (P51)

Thrift Shops (P29)

IRS filing requirement

This organization is required to file an IRS Form 990 or 990-EZ.

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Programs and results

What we aim to solve

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Multitudes of people find themselves living on the edge where even the slightest hiccup has the potential to throw them off the cliff. Generational poverty has now extended to the fourth and fifth generation within families. If we want to see need/poverty change, we must change how we see and address need/poverty. Love INC is addressing the need for people to become more self-sufficient by helping them to gain skills and self-confidence through job and life skills training, financial education, and the building of relational, emotional and spiritual support systems. Love INC identifies assistance in three main categories: Relief: Someone is unable to help him or herself and needs temporary, immediate aid. Rehabilitation: Once a crisis has passed, walking with & supporting people as they work to return their lives to “pre-crisis” conditions. Development: Where people in need participate in improving their lives beyond what they have seen or experienced before.

Our programs

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

What are the organization's current programs, how do they measure success, and who do the programs serve?

Community and Family Assistance Programs

We provide financial management classes, mentoring, life skills classes, Affirming Potential Classes, boundaries classes, job readiness training, and other types of family assistance (clothing, furniture, food, monetary assistance (heat, housing, electric, medical, auto, etc.).

Population(s) Served

Where we work

Goals & Strategy

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Learn about the organization's key goals, strategies, capabilities, and progress.

Charting impact

Four powerful questions that require reflection about what really matters - results.

Our focus area is Poverty to Prosperity: Self-Sufficiency.

Our transformational ministry programs promote increased self-sufficiency and asset development through financial management training, life coach/budget mentoring, job readiness training, job readiness mentoring, and asset/capacity affirmation. The programs also promote community resource network development, the building of social networks, supportive relationships and self-esteem through Bible studies, life skills classes, mentoring and business and community resource roundtables.

Regarding a decrease in the total dollar amount of direct assistance individuals receive, over the past two years, we have seen ~ 70-80% of our financial assists happen through the long-term TM programs, yet they are only using about 20-30% of the total funds we assist with. This is exactly what we hoped to see…as we increase assistance through longer-term classes, the amount of assistance given actually decreases as relationships are built and skills are gained.

Primary Activities: When calls for assistance come in to Love INC, we initially determine if the request is for participation in one of the long-term programs or for some other type of assistance. For financial assistance requests, intakes are scheduled and performed typically within 1-7 days of the initial call. The person’s story is heard, the need is verified and assessed by our Clearinghouse staff and an assistance decision is made 48-72 hours following the intake. Financial assistance may be granted with the signing of a contract to attend one or more Transformational Ministry Classes. Direct assistance, with no class participation, may be granted if the need is deemed an emergency or assistance may be denied if the person does not qualify or chooses not to participate in assistance qualifying requirements. (Please see attached Initial Assistance Request Flowchart – 2018/19).

Our long term classes (TM classes) focus on three main areas: Financial Management/Budgeting, Job Readiness Training, and Affirming Potential (positive image/goal setting). We also offer a variety of Life Skills Enhancement classes. Participants are typically in our longer term programs for 3-18 months. Our newest class, Affirming Potential, is a 12-week class that helps people face and accept their past, to better understand the present, as they lean into and embrace their future. We discuss our physical, emotional, relational and spiritual wheels, attitude, choices and consequences, the legacy we want to leave, learning to dream and placing goals and action steps around those dreams.

Our Transformational Ministry Program is working toward more specific outcomes such as SMART goals being set, achieved and ongoing, reduction of debt, and greater community involvement . These outcomes feed into the overall Newaygo County dashboard outcomes of fewer households below the A.L.I.C.E. threshold and an increase in the labor force participation rate.

As we focus more on long-term transformational ministry, we naturally place more emphasis on personal development in an individual’s life rather than focusing on temporary provision of monetary assistance. Development is not done to people or for people, but with people. The focus shifts from a person’s problems to their God-given gifts and assets and how those assets might be used to improve their situation and that of their community.

As people build supportive relationships with mentors and teachers and gain new life skills, they will also gain a sense of empowerment, become better prepared to enter the workforce, have the ability to manage their finances with greater success, connect in with community in a more meaningful way and have the ability to better instruct their children in these life lessons.

Through class participation, support networks are being established/built, job and resource opportunities are opening up, and students are gaining self-worth and self-confidence. We are beginning to see fewer program graduates requesting monetary assistance through Love INC and more graduates maintaining their budgets. We expect to see more business leaders agree to participate in job readiness training roundtables and eventually agree to hire graduates. We expect to see people better prepared to enter the workforce and more willing to pursue higher education/training to make themselves more employable. We expect to see people giving back to their community through volunteerism and church and organization participation. All of these expected results contribute to shifting poverty to prosperity in Newaygo County.

Love INC of Newaygo County has been providing assistance, (physical, relational, emotional, and spiritual), to community residents since 1987. In 2002, Love INC moved to our current location at 11 W. 96th Street, between Grant and Newaygo, and the ministry began to expand services.

In 2006, the food pantry opened and the Growing Hope Financial Management Program was launched. Over the past twelve years, several other new ministry programs have been developed (Jobs for Life, Affirming Potential Class, Life Skills Classes, budget mentoring, Project Ramp, Quilting Ministry, Medical Supply Assistance, etc.). By 2018, 300+ volunteers and 14 staff members were serving over 600 households in one capacity or another each month.

Love INC also collaborates with local organizations such as TrueNorth Community Services, Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS), Insight Pregnancy Services, The Red Cross, United Way, Knights of Columbus, local businesses, ministerial groups, and our local churches.

These collaborative efforts allow us to better meet the needs of Newaygo County residents.

Growing Hope: Financial Management, Budgeting and Personal Growth Classes - 2018 Stats

14-week classes held in 2018: 4
Budget class participants: 35 Those who completed the 14-weeks: 30 (86%)
Mentoring participants: 26 (a 37% increase over 2017)
Program Graduates: 5
Number of Personal Growth Classes: 13
Those who participated in Personal Growth Classes: 98

Jobs for Life (JfL): Job Readiness Training 2018 Stats

16-week classes held in 2018: 1
JfL class participants: 6, with 3 completing the full 16-week course (50%)
Those who had jobs at the start of the class: 2
Those who maintained and/or obtained a job during the class: 4
Those going on for more job training: 1
Those who worked with a mentor: 6
Those who updated their resume: 3
Program Graduates: 3 (50%)

Affirming Potential: This is our newest class. It is a 12-week journey built on the universal truth that God has created each of us with intrinsic worth and unique potential. The class teaching, group discussions, and personal reflection assignments help participants accept the past, better understand the present, and prepares them to lean into and embrace their future. This experiential process addresses:
Physical—our stuff or needs do not define us
Attitudes—positive and negative
Emotions—taking control rather than out of control
Relationships—how they influence our lives
Spirituality—what or who determines truth for us
Hope—it shapes our future
Life Purpose Statement—helps us define our legacy
Dreaming—an important component in thriving
Filtering Dreams—determining which dreams are urgent vs those to address later
Setting goals and action steps—to accomplish dreams
Community—sharing our journey with others
o Classes held in 2018: 2
o AP participants: 39

Clearinghouse/Family Assistance - 2018 Stats

*1,117 households (2,845 people) were assisted through the clearinghouse in 2018.
*Total funds allocated for assistance: $102,588.44 ($22,475.51 less than 2017 w/ 14 more households assisted)
*2018 tracking of the amount of financial assistance given for one-time direct needs versus the amount given through our Transformational Ministry Program. The results were eye opening and encouraging:
o Transformational Ministry participants received 30% of the annual assistance ($30,606.64 of $102,588.44), yet they made up 80% of the individual assistance occurrences (917 of 1,117). This is exactly what we want to see…more people involved in long-term transformational programs - gaining relationships, skills and community connections while using less financial assistance.

Food Pantry - 2018 Stats

o Served 6.4% of the 47,959 Newaygo County Residents at least once in 2018
o Unduplicated Count: 3,059 individuals served
o Average number of households served each month: 435

For 2019 and beyond, we will continue to improve our Transformational Ministry Programs to meet the needs of our community.



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Board of directors
as of 04/19/2023
SOURCE: Self-reported by organization
Board chair

Debbe Manchester


Term: 2018 - 2021

Cathleen Cruzan


Jonathan Grice

Hometown Pharmacy

Micki Hilbrand

Grant Public Schools

Chad Newton

Kruithoff Electric

Jim Mansfield

Laborers Local 355

Bob Rosenberg

Rosenberg Hardware

Bill VandenBosch

Retired Pastor

Ron Westveld


Debbe Manchester