A Note from Zach and Julie

Dear Ertz Family Foundation Friends and Supporters,

The city of Philadelphia needs our help, especially amid the COVID-19 pandemic. We are witnessing unprecedented levels of gun violence, food insecurity has drastically increased, trauma has intensified in many homes, and services that Philadelphia typically offers in our schools have ceased to exist with no alternate solutions provided. Now is the time to begin the Ertz Family Foundation’s most important project to date, the “House of Hope Project”. We are eternally touched by all the love and support we have received since we started our mission of giving back to the community in 2018. The House of Hope is our most important endeavor to illuminate the grit and indomitable determination of the “City of Brotherly Love”. This force has been the foundation on which we stand so compelled to use our voices and platform to serve Philadelphia’s underserved youth and families.

In view of the negative impact on our city’s most vulnerable citizens brought on by COVID-19, Julie and I felt compelled to spring to action. Consequently, Julie began volunteering every week by supporting our community initiatives, forming bonds with youth and families, and learning about the issues struggled with every day. While volunteering, we were able to gather insight into the specific needs of the community. We discovered that the youth not only athletic engagement and opportunities, but also need school and career support, Wi-Fi access, healthy food options, employment support, and financial literacy. The options for support are endless.

Through our connection with Pastor Rob Whitmire, the Pastor of Grace and Peace Community Fellowship and Executive Director of Timoteo Sports, we realized that the Ertz Family Foundation’s mission to provide a sustainable place of hope and refuge aligned perfectly with Pastor Rob’s own mission to serve the city. The House of Hope Project is the next step in our aligned vision to do God’s work! We are striving to renovate the Grace and Peace Community Fellowship building, a church sanctuary at its core, to offer infinite possibilities in numerous spaces to provide needed services and programs to this Hunting Park section of North Philadelphia.

We are launching a $900,000 capital campaign fundraiser to support the required renovations, general operating costs, and future programming expenses for the Grace and Peace Community Fellowship “House of Hope Project.” With a solid plan in place, strong support, and generosity from the business community and individuals alike, we will be able to transform the Grace and Peace building into a place of hope and faith. This sanctuary will offer a multitude of services and resources to the surrounding community.

To commence our fundraising efforts, Julie and I have pledged $100,000 to help fund the Youth Leadership Development Center that will be located in the House of Hope. The Ertz Family Foundation has matched our donation and combined with our other corporate and individual donors, we have now raised $450,000 for this project. With your support, we can fund the entire building renovation as well as the general operation and programming expenses needed for several years.

This is an aspirational project of love and hope that reflects our gratitude and appreciation for the city of Philadelphia. We cannot think of a better way to support the “City of Brotherly Love” than by creating this legacy of hope, faith, restoration, development, and substantive transformation that will serve the community of North Philadelphia for decades to come

It has been a most beautiful gift to feel your love and support for us and our mission of the past several years. We pray you feel it in return.

With our most grateful hearts, Zach and Julie Ertz

Romans 8:28

About the House of Hope Project

The House of Hope Project is a capital campaign for the Grace and Peace Community Fellowship building. Our goal is to remodel and expand the buildig committed to delivering social change and transforming lives by developing and implementing enrichment programs and services in North Philadelphia.

Our mission is to:

  • Combat poverty through community development, opportunity, and education. The House of Hope will bring together educators, tutors, community leaders, and mentors to bring options not currently available in the community. The House of Hope will provide financial literacy workshops, workforce development, career exploration, classes focused on child health and wellness, and other options designed to support youth and their families find a way out of poverty.
  • Reduce violence by providing youth with a safe-haven from the societal issues they experience in the North Philadelphia streets and, in many cases, in their homes. As a place of refuge and faith, we hope to empower youth with options and opportunities to bring peace to the streets.
  • Address the food security issue in Philadelphia’s most underserved communities that has dramatically affected youth and families. The House of Hope Community Kitchen will provide hundreds of nutritious meals daily to the community.
  • Tackle substance abuse in North Philadelphia by giving the youth options, mentoring, faith, and support. We hope to light the way for youth towards a future without succumbing to substance abuse and addiction.
The House of Hope Project

Our Most Important Endeavor Yet…

A Note from Pastor Rob

Grace and Peace (GAP) Community Fellowship is a church body that has been serving in the Hunting Park area of North Philadelphia for the past 11 years. GAP began as a church in 2010, when we were launched as a church plant from our mother church – Spirit and Truth Fellowship. Since then, the Lord has called us to serve His Kingdom by engaging and impacting our local community by displaying the love of Jesus to all people.

Our mission states, “to follow God’s heart and come alongside His work in the city of loving all God’s children through the gospel of Jesus Christ.” (2 Cor. 5:11-21). As a church, we have been singularly focused on being a mindful representation of Jesus in our community, our city, and beyond.

In 2016, GAP was blessed with a building in the heart of Hunting Park that was once used as the Center for Urban Theological Studies (C.U.T.S) where, at the age of nineteen, I attended as a student in their urban ministry leadership program – making the narrative of GAP taking over this building even more profoundly special to me. A building that was once used to raise up spiritual leaders is now being used to fulfill that mission – with me at the helm. As a church, we have been called to this great commission work in our city to serve our community in a holistic way. (Matthew 28:19-20). This building gives us the canvas in which to provide all we can imagine.

Over the past eighteen months, the Lord has brought Zach and Julie Ertz and The Ertz Family Foundation into our lives and it is evident that we share the same values – our intense love for Jesus Christ and our hearts greatest desire to serve our city, it’s urban youth, and families.  Additionally, we share a mission to pour into the lives of young people who hold the keys to the future of our world. We see our youth as the proverbial game-changers in our community as they seek healing and reconciliation for the ones most suffering.

GAP, along with The Ertz Family Foundation has been called to be the hands and feet of Jesus in North Philadelphia. This vision and mission will come to life in the Grace & Peace Community Fellowship ‘House of Hope Project.’ The ‘House of Hope Project’ has been a long-time dream. A place to provide much needed space for the community to receive critical resources, encourage, empower and revive our neighbors, and to be a place of hope at a time in our world when hope is desperately needed. The House of Hope will be a place to feel God’s love for all of those who enter.

As the Pastor of Grace and Peace, I have been both overwhelmed and humbled by what the Lord has done in such a short time. Our church has remained faithful to the mission that we’ve been called, and our relationship with the Ertz Family has been a blessing. Over this past year, our relationship has grown tremendously as I’ve witnessed Zach and Julie’s hands-on approach to changing lives through their shared love of Jesus, and I’ve heard their own mission be guided by their desire to cause substantive change in our city with their passion for Christ as their core focus.

From the beginning, Zach and Julie have taken a posture of humility as they strive to learn about the unique challenges our community faces – as well as to hear the hearts of those who have been here for years. What I’ve seen from this family is a “servants-heart,” that resembles the heart of Christ (Matthew: 20-28).

On behalf of Grace and Peace, we thank the Lord for all that He has done and all that lies ahead for us and the Hunting Park area. We are grateful that He has brought the Ertz Family into our lives and for allowing this amazing project to become a reality in which to serve Him.

We look forward to seeing how the ‘House of Hope’ becomes a true place of hope and restoration for all those who will walk through our doors.

Grace & Peace to All,  Pastor Rob Whitmire

Meet Our Team

Ertz Family Foundation

The Ertz Family Foundation was founded in 2018 by Zach and Julie Ertz. Zach is a 3x Pro Bowl Tight End and Super Bowl Champion for the Philadelphia Eagles, and Julie is a 2x United States Women's National Team World Cup Champion and member of the 2016 Olympic team.

Through their faith and desire to elevate those who need it the most, they created their foundation to help lift the community of Philadelphia. The Ertz Family Foundation focuses their charitable efforts on youth sports and education and have most recently been a partner in the Beyond the Field initiative. Partnering with local non-profits, they have provided safe after-school workouts for the underserved athletes when COVID-19 took their season away. In addition to the on the field activities, this program was designed to discover other necessary services that youth residing in the most underserved, high-risk communities have lost during the pandemic, to include a safe venue free from the growing issues of poverty, drugs, gangs, and violence.

Zatos Investments

Zatos Investments is a real estate investment company that focuses on the development and renovation of residential properties in the Greater Philadelphia Area.

Zatos brings their expertise of coordinating the development of real estate projects throughout the city. Zatos will oversee the development of this project. Zatos will work closely with architects and engineers in the design and pre-construction phase of the project until permits are obtained from the city.

Zatos will also coordinate with reputable contractors and oversee all phases of construction to ensure the project is completed and high-quality standards are met. Zatos is very excited to help give back to the community.

Gnome Architects

Gnome Architects has been rooted in the Philadelphia community since its inception, with both of the firm's partners graduating from Temple University. Having completed hundreds of projects in Philadelphia and the surrounding areas, the firm's expertise spans a wide variety of project types, creating unique solutions to suit our clients' needs.

With a deep understanding of local zoning and building codes, Gnome is able to maximize the potential of each project, and bring new life into existing buildings that maintain the character of Philadelphia's culturally rich neighborhoods. Through their experience, large network of consultants, and diverse background of projects at a variety of scales, the Gnome team consistently delivers successful projects from concept to completion.

Got a question?

For more information, to inquire about partnership opportunities or to make a donation to support our project, please click the links below.

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