The Mission of TigerMountain Foundation
The mission of TigerMountain Foundation (TMF) is to empower people by building flourishing community gardens, providing job skills, support and workforce development through neighborhood revitalization and beautification with our multi-ethnic and multi-generational initiatives. 1123 persons plus their families and friends were directly served by TMF programs in 2018. Also many of whom were referred to us through parole/justice systems. Another 2200 volunteer mentors also helped us accomplish this outreach initiative to resolve food scarcity and educate participants on job skills to earn a living wage. An additional 3,000 also gained knowledge through speaking engagements. Funding has generally been from grants and individual and corporate donors. However, in 2019 has seen a major push for self-sufficiency through our agriscaping (agricultural landscaping) initiatives and farmers market sales.
Many of the staff, including CEO Darren Chapman, are formerly incarcerated persons from the very neighborhoods we serve. Our advisors and 8 board members come from administrative positions in such large organizations. These include Vitalyst Health, Bank of America, and Keep Phoenix Beautiful. We are an Arizona Qualified Charity and receive tax credit donations plus receive individual donations through various employer payroll deductions.
Social and Economic Mobility
To us, “social and economic mobility” means achieving tangible personal agency – building within each person a genuine self-value and competency that enables them to rise above poverty. The TigerMountain strategy empowers adults and youth via our agriscaping initiatives alongside capable hard-working professionals as volunteers who encourage and mentor them through every step. These programs culminate in the development of good professionals. Participants leverage the skills and morals they’ve learned to build an honest life for themselves, free of criminality and desperation, and have the skills to earn a living wage.
For non-participant community members, SEM means finding genuine nourishment in the food we grow – we are what we eat, after all. TMF initiatives address food scarcity in this food desert area of Phoenix, AZ plus empower the economically disadvantaged participants with job skills to enable them to earn a living wage. In this 80% recidivism area, TMF participants enjoy an 85% rate of NOT returning to jail, or entering the justice system in the first place! We use an Asset Based Community Development model that gives community members a hand up, not a handout.
Since 2007, our MISSION is to empower people by building flourishing community gardens on vacant lots in South Phoenix. Additionally, they provide healthy eating and life skills support and workforce development through neighborhood revitalization and beautification.
Our VISION is to act as a change agent for healthy living. This is a healthy community where all citizens can reach their maximum potential. The areas of South Phoenix where TMF gardens are located is a food desert (>1 mile from available fresh produce). This has led to food insecurity and poor food choices which leads to issues of obesity, high blood pressure, cardiovascular problems, and diabetes. Gangs are prevalent leading to violence, drugs, and unhealthy life choices. In one of the highest rates of recidivism in the nation, many of our participants are referred from the justice system.
Many come without parental guidance at home, and urgently need job and life skills to combat these forces to lead them out of the cycle of economic disadvantage. Our Garden and Landscape/Agriscaping Initiatives mentor participators one-on-one through experiential learning and education on an active and healthy eating lifestyle, completion of goals, and a Personal Strategy Roadmap. This helps participants transition into workforce skills preparing these community members for work earning a living wage.
ABCD – Asset-Based Community Development
We use ABCD — Asset Based Community Development to give the community a hand up, not a handout. Consider this youth’s story –Z was 12 when he first started participating with TigerMountain Foundation. For the past 4 years he has worked at various jobs in the gardens, at Farmer’s markets. He learned how to plant and grow fresh produce and how to prepare and cook garden products – okra and squash are his favorites and his family benefits from this skill!
“TigerMountain has helped me with sales skills, getting along and communicating with others, and how to work together with others as a team member”.