On November 30, 2023, MTZ Charitable Organization, Inc. held its “Building Hope Together” event at the Sheraton Hotel. The purpose of the event was to introduce MTZ Charitable Organization, the 501c(3) charitable arm of Mt. Zion Baptist Church, to the Madison community.
Over its 112-year history, Mt. Zion Baptist Church has served the Madison and Dane County community in many ways. The church has provided food, academic enrichment, health services, and housing and utility assistance through the generosity of church members and periodic grant funding. Beginning with the pandemic, church leaders noticed that the majority of the people who availed themselves of church services were not members of the church. Also, agencies within Dane County refer people to Mt. Zion regularly for assistance. The need is great and has outpaced the church’s capacity to help.
Formed in 2021, MTZ Charitable Organization has assumed responsibility for Mt. Zion’s community facing programs, which allows for greater flexibility in service and in fundraising. These programs include the Academic Learning Center, Food Pantry, mental health services (a collaboration with Anesis Center for Marriage and Family Therapy), emergency assistance program, health education program, and mentoring programs for young people aging out of foster care and involved with the juvenile justice system. Dr. Marcus Allen, member of MTZ Charitable’s Board of Directors and pastor of Mt. Zion Baptist Church, describes MTZ Charitable as “a new organization with a long history.”
“Building Hope Together” brought together about 50 leaders from across Madison to hear about MTZ Charitable Organization’s programming. Attendees enjoyed dinner and heard from leaders of each program. “I never knew all of this was happening!” said Nichelle Nichols, president of the Madison Metropolitan School District Board of Education. Nichols’ sentiment captures the purpose of the event: to bring the work the Mt. Zion Baptist Church has been doing quietly for many years into the spotlight.
Chuck McDowell, chairman of the MTZ Charitable Organization’s Board of Directors, is excited about the event and about the organization’s future of service to the Madison community. “There is a lot of enthusiasm and people are committed to joining us in serving this community,” he said.
Looking ahead, MTZ Charitable Organization is working to build a Family Life Center adjacent to Mt. Zion Baptist Church to house its programs. This $16 million building project is part of South Madison’s Black Renaissance, which also includes the newly-built Urban League of Greater Madison’s Black Business Hub and the forthcoming Center for Black Excellence and Culture. The Family Life Center will allow MTZ Charitable Organization’s programs and services to move from the church’s aging facility to state-of-the-art accommodations that will improve the programs’ capacity to serve fourfold.