Duluth, GA, April 10, 2018 – After enlightening turns as Director of Advancement for Hebron Christian Academy, Marketing Manager for InTouch Ministries and a professional minor league baseball player for the Cincinnati Reds organization, Justice French’s journey has led him to Rainbow Village. Hired to serve as the nonprofit organization’s new Development Director, French will be responsible for designing a development strategy for Rainbow Village, fundraising and solidifying a robust donor base, and establishing new messaging to grow awareness about Rainbow Village’s mission to break the cycles of homelessness, poverty and domestic violence in Georgia.
"We believe Justice is the ideal person to lead our Development Team," said Melanie Conner, Chief Executive Officer for Rainbow Village. "He brings with him a fresh perspective, lots of team spirit and loads of faith. I love that our mission of ‘transforming lives’ really resonated with him."
Born in Tucker, Georgia, French is a graduate of Collins Hill High School, where he served as shortstop and pitcher for the Eagles. After graduation, he double-majored in Psychology and Communications at Mercer University in Macon while playing baseball as starting pitcher for the Bears. Armed with his Bachelor of Arts, he was drafted by the Cincinnati Reds for their minor league organization. While the opportunity to play professional baseball was a dream come true for French and afforded him the opportunity to travel, he spent his off-season interning at InTouch Ministries – where he developed a love for nonprofits and the ministry. He joined InTouch Ministries full-time as their Marketing Manager and after nearly five years, moved on to serve as Director of Advancement for Hebron Christian Academy – where he oversaw fundraising and communications for the K-12 private college preparatory school in Dacula.
"Sports instilled a lot of values in my life, but I felt called to serve a purpose bigger than myself," recalled French. "My mom volunteered for Rainbow Village over a decade ago, but she never forgot the experience. When the opportunity presented itself for me to make the move to Rainbow Village, I jumped at the chance. Since then, my eyes have been opened to different levels of poverty and homelessness in Georgia – Gwinnett in particular. I’ve realized that we’re all a few bad breaks and life events from being in a difficult situation. A major illness can throw a hard-working family who’s making ends meet into a dire state. Rainbow Village truly is a community of transformation, it pours into these families – giving them a hand up instead of a handout, offering programs designed to prepare them for the future."
On the subject of the future, French is highly optimistic, "Through Rainbow Village’s capital campaign, they’ve developed a wonderful campus that houses a Community Center, Early Childhood Development Center, Main Office Building and Apartment Buildings to accommodate up to 30 families at a time. While our primary focus moving forward won’t be the construction of new buildings, we still must continue to grow our reach to even more poverty-stricken families throughout Georgia."
To that end, French will be working closely with the Community Engagement Team to spread the good word and grow awareness through word-of-mouth, networking with potential partners, meeting people in the community and developing messaging to include powerful success stories of graduates of the program to be shared with as many people as possible.
"Being a part of Rainbow Village is both humbling and motivating," added French. "My goal is to wake up everyday and contribute to a need that’s bigger than me. I believe that’s God’s purpose for us in life."
In addition to French, Rainbow Village recently enhanced its growing team with Denise Peck as Office Manager and Beverly Ellis as Case Manager. To learn more about Rainbow Village, its mission and programs, please visit www.rainbowvillage.org.
About Rainbow Village: Established in 1991 and based in Duluth, Georgia, Rainbow Village is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization devoted to breaking the cycles of homelessness, poverty and domestic violence. Committed to serving as a "community of transformation", Rainbow Village applies a holistic, two-generational approach to serving homeless families with children. With the goal of helping families achieve emotional stability and financial independence, Rainbow Village provides housing, early childhood education and after-school care, child and youth programming, financial planning, career counseling, workforce readiness, mental health counseling, community events and more. Rainbow Village accepts applications from homeless families with minor children throughout Georgia. To learn more about Rainbow Village, register as a volunteer or make a donation, visit www.rainbowvillage.org.