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Local faith leaders pledge partnership with relaunched Elevate Dayton

Collaboration aims to ensure that the concerns of Dayton’s underrepresented communities are heard and addressed


Dayton, Ohio, June 6, 2022- A coalition of faith leaders have come together to support the relaunch of Elevate Dayton as a ‘solutions journalism’ platform that will elevate Dayton’s unheard voices and provide in-depth coverage of pressing issues impacting the life and culture of the community.


The kickoff campaign, entitled Covid Can’t Stop Usexamines how BIPOC-, women- and veteran-owned businesses in the Dayton area are faring and what they need to thrive


“We see this as a total win-win-win partnership between two critical anchors of our local civic infrastructure and the community we serve,” said Peter E. Matthews, pastor of McKinley United Methodist Church, chairman/CEO of Dayton Equity Center, and co-founder of the Global Village Urban Collective.


“By eliminating the blind spot that has kept the faith community from actively engaging and partnering with BIPOC community-serving media, we can bolster each other’s aligned efforts to ensure our sustainability and to provide our community with the support and voice they need and deserve.” 


Added Nate Dillard, publisher of Elevate Dayton: “Our team at Elevate Dayton is acutely aware of the generative role that people and institutions of faith play in helping Dayton’s underrepresented communities cope with the isolation and inequities exacerbated by COVID-19. These faith leaders are a critical part of our local civic infrastructure and we are thrilled to partner with them on this ambitious effort to help uplift our community through our solutions journalism." 


Elevate Dayton’s unique editorial approach is organized into intensive "campaigns" that directly counter the problem frame that mainstream news outlets deploy when reporting on communities of color. Each campaign has four components:


  • Community listening and data gathering
  • Community-based, solutions-oriented reporting
  • Community and stakeholder content sharing via Elevate Communities platform
  • Solutions Summit and Resource Showcase

 "The COVID-19 pandemic greatly impacted the financial health of each West Dayton Caravan Church as well as our ability to minister and provide aid to the congregations and broader community that we serve,” said Rev. Fr. Benjamin E.K. Speare-Hardy II, Rector of St. Margaret’s Episcopal Church in Dayton and President of West Dayton Caravan of Churches Inc.


“Nevertheless, we remain resolved to reimagine our ministry and to establish new revenue streams and partnerships to ensure that our community has a voice and gets the support they need and deserve. I applaud Elevate Dayton’s commitment to highlighting and addressing these challenges as a core part of their journalism strategy and look forward to partnering and supporting their effort.” 

The faith leaders have agreed to actively partner with Elevate Dayton to maximize community engagement and campaign efficacy by, among other things, helping to:


  • Fuel Journalism: Promote and build support for Elevate Dayton and the campaign in the community and encourage community stakeholders and residents to complete the community engagement survey(s) relevant to their experience:


  • Join Elevate Communities: Connect, communicate and build community through Elevate Communities platform.


  • Support Solutions Summits: Galvanize community and business leaders, policymakers and other stakeholders to participate in the Solutions Summit that will be held at the end of the campaign sprint.

“Black Presbyterian congregations in the Dayton area and across the Midwest region have experienced the same challenges as other small businesses navigating through the COVID-19 epidemic,” said Deacon Larry C. Jenkins, vice president for the Midwest National Black Presbyterian Caucus.


"The COVID Can’t Stop Us campaign is a welcomed opportunity for us to help galvanize private, public and community stakeholder support for all local small businesses and nonprofits. This includes supporting local media that, among other things, advance a more accurate and inclusive narrative of the faith community and our works.” 


About Elevate Dayton

Elevate Dayton is a Black-owned digital publication working to amplify unheard voices and inspire change to drive innovative solutions that elevate the life and culture of Dayton’s underrepresented communities.


About West Dayton Caravan of Churches

West Dayton Caravan of Churches is an interfaith group representing more than 20 churches of various denominations, including African Methodist Episcopal, Baptist, Presbyterian, Catholic, United Methodist, Episcopal and Lutheran.

About The Global Village Urban Collective

The Global Village Urban Collective is a coalition of seventeen Black United Methodist churches that came together to share resources and programs to tackle persistent problems in the urban spaces of Southwestern Ohio and to retain their position as the heart and soul of the community. 

About National Black Presbyterian Caucus (Midwest Region)

The National Black Presbyterian Caucus (Midwest Region) is an organization consisting of the 32 Black Presbyterian Churches in the Midwest Region of the National Black Presbyterian Caucus. Its mission is to serve Jesus Christ and to enrich the Black Presbyterian congregations and their communities.   

For more information contact Zack Frink 443-356-6195, [email protected]


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