"The word 'propel' means to launch in the right direction," said Pro Bowl Punter Johnny Hekker. "I think it represents something that wasn't moving and is now moving along at a good pace and headed towards something better."
Launched by GraceCity, the PROPEL Campaign aims to raise awareness and funds for the GraceCity Center, which is a multi-purpose venue that provides emotional, mental and physical support to approximately 200 youth, many of whom are battling homelessness or are victims of human trafficking.
Despite the organization's great success in their mission to impact many lives, GraceCity recently lost a $700,000 government grant and is now in danger of having to close its doors. The campaign has a goal of generating $20,000 in monthly funds to sustain their operations and continue serving youth in need.
"I think it's important to get behind the PROPEL Campaign and GraceCity because it's a place that does so much in their community," said Hekker. "I know without a doubt that every donation that goes to the PROPEL Campaign is going to provide a real change in someone's life. At no cost to them, youth can just show up and get loved, cared for, and shown that they're important and that they can move in the right direction in life."
GraceCity was founded in 2011 by Hekker's brother-in-law, Chris Stambaugh, who has served the poor and the oppressed for many years in a variety of different roles. Stambaugh has worked with hundreds of exploited and high-risk individuals and currently serves as a consultant to anti-trafficking groups throughout California. Fueled by his own personal experience growing up in a homeless family, he authentically delivers a message of hope as he works to address issues that he's so closely related to.
Stambaugh believes the Rams and Hekker can amplify the GraceCity message by continuing to educate their fans of the program's mission.
"The support from Johnny and the Rams has been invaluable to GraceCity over the years," said Stambaugh. "He's chosen to use his family, his reputation, and his love for football to do something transcendent in this life, to give back and help youth in need in Sacramento, Los Angeles and beyond. It's truly a blessing to see Johnny use his platform for the greater good and it's awesome to know that they want to build upon much of the great work we've been able to accomplish in the past because we only get one opportunity in this life to make a difference in the world."
Two years ago, when Hekker was named the Rams' Walter Payton Man of the Year, he dedicated his $50,000 donation to GraceCity to assist in furthering their mission.
If you'd like to make a donation to GraceCity and the causes they support, please visit thegracenetwork.com/propel-campaign.
For more information about the Rams community outreach initiatives, please visit therams.com/community.