The Concerned Clergy Coalition was originally founded by Dr. Wallace S. Hartsfield, Sr. and has focused on being a clearinghouse for the discussion and resolution of many community problems in Kansas City’s Urban Core since its’ creation. The organization has hosted meetings and developed strategies to deal with issues in the low income primarily African American populated Eastside Neighborhood of Kansas City, Missouri. The issues it has dealt with have included public health, community development, crime & violence, education and youth.
The members of the organization are Pastors and Ministers drawn mainly from churches in the urban core of the city and persons involved in community based ministries and organizations. Representatives of these institutions meet monthly to discuss community issues and plan activities and initiatives related to them. To date, the organization has no paid staff.
Over the years, the organization has worked with legal aid attorneys and allied community organizations to urge local financial institutions to reinvest in homes and businesses in the urban core. It has conducted educational activities on issues including predatory lending, personal financial literacy and being an informed consumer on insurance issues.
The organization has conducted health education activities for residents of the urban core on issues such as diabetes, HIV/AIDS, high blood pressure and other conditions that tend to impact a disproportionate share of the African American community. These activities have taken the form of community health fairs and gospel music events at which literature is distributed and booths are set up to discuss matters with community residents. Several years ago, ministers worked with local attorneys and local government officials to urge that nonprofit hospitals in the community purchased by a for- profit group stay open.
The Concerned Clergy Coalition has also focused energies on the development of urban core youth. These efforts have included development of a mentoring program sponsored by member churches for at-risk youth and participating in a recent report developed by a community task force on preventing violent crime in the community. In the area of education, the organization’s members have met with members of the local Board of Education and senior staff to discuss and disseminate information through the churches on school district programs and challenges.
In 2005, the organization coordinated assistance to persons affected by Hurricane Katrina from member churches and finding transitional shelter for persons from the Katrina area who travelled to Kansas City. The group raised funds to assist evacuees during this difficult time. The Concerned Clergy Coalition has also raised funds to assist victims of violent crime with burial expenses.
These efforts have traditionally been handled by the elected Officers of the organization and partnering legal, human service and local governmental agencies. The organization hopes to employ a full- time staff person as a Coordinator and Office Manager for the organization once it is designated as a tax exempt charitable organization.
Additionally, The Concerned Clergy Coalition provides peer based support for individuals within its membership. The rigors of the Clergy as a profession can sometimes be devastating. Officers and members provide support to constituents through individual counseling and through structured workshops.