A few years ago, Sheppard-Pratt, the largest private nonprofit provider of mental health and social services in the region, acquired some funds from the State of Maryland to create a hub for social services based in Upper Montgomery County to address the ever-increasing need for struggling families who had to travel to places like Bethesda or Chevy Chase to receive assistance.
After many months of searching, they finally settled on the 4th floor of a mid-rise office building in the heart of Germantown as the best spot for this new hub. However, even with state funding, they were short several hundred thousands of dollars.
Meanwhile, the Germantown Global Connection, along with its sister ministries, Creekside Church in Clarksburg and EarthenHands in Germantown, had become partners with many of the agencies looking to be housed in this hub such as Thriving Germantown, the Healthcare Initiative Foundation, and the Upcounty Food Distribution Hub. These three ministries decided to approach their sponsoring organization, the National Capital Presbytery, which is the regional body of the Presbyterian Church (USA) in the DMV area, for a gift of $100,000 toward this purchase as a way of investing in the suburban poor in the Upcounty region and supporting the ongoing Presbyterian-related presence in these parts.
In January of 2021, the Presbytery approved the funds which were transferred to Sheppard-Pratt. In exchange, Sheppard-Pratt agreed to provide office space to the National Capital Presbytery for the length of the lease – 15 years – for free, along with access to shared conference room space.
The result is an innovative and groundbreaking partnership between this social services hub and a faith-based organization with a common purpose: to lift up the needs of impoverished families in Upper MC and make sure they get the help they need. Two other hopes for these three ministries shape their role in this office: finding volunteer opportunities for those with some means who want to give back to their community and offering spiritual nurture and care to the social service workers themselves who will be down the hall from us; there is a high rate of burnout among professionals in this field.
Of more practical benefit to GGC will be: a) an office space for me shared with my colleagues, b) a business address located in the heart of Germantown, and, most importantly, c) access to both large and small conference rooms which can be booked and used for small group meetings.
I started officing in this new space last week. I haven’t set my definitive hours yet but I will generally be there Tuesdays and Wednesdays and maybe Thursdays during the day.
The invitation-only Ribbon-Cutting Ceremony, attended by our County Executive Marc Elrich and U.S. House Representative Jamie Raskin will be held this Tuesday, Nov. 1 at 11:00 a.m. However, after the ceremony, the public (that’s you all!) are invited to an open house reception to formally introduce the suite to all our partners and friends from 12 noon to 2:00 p.m. Please come if you are available:
Open House Reception
SHEPPARD-PRATT COMMUNITY WELLNESS HUB
12850 Middlebrook Road, Suite 400
Germantown, MD 20874
Tuesday, Nov. 1, 12 noon – 2:00 p.m.