Community Partners Play Their Part in Spurring Students Forward

The many benefits of wood glue and car repair

In the Apostle Paul’s first letter to the Corinthians, the church community is likened to a human body, consisting of many unique and valuable parts that complement each other in carrying out a collective purpose.

Many different parts also contribute to the success of inner city students: parents, teachers, coaches, and mentors are just some who collaborate in this important work.

Community business partners of all shapes and sizes also play a vital “part”. Two outstanding examples are Franklin International and Luke’s Automotive Services.

Franklin International Logo

Franklin International Logo

Franklin International 

Even though Columbus based adhesives manufacturer, Franklin International, has a global reach in over 60 countries, they have a huge local impact. In addition to their generous support of Urban Concern & Harambee Christian School, Franklin supports a wide range of organizations seeking to end everything from substance addiction to human trafficking.

The Product

The Product

Senior Director of Human Resources, Mike Syfert, notes that this high emphasis on social responsibility is built into Franklin’s DNA: “Our stated purpose as a company is to ‘appropriately enhance the economic, physical, relational, emotional and spiritual health of ourselves, our customers, our suppliers and our community.’ We feel it’s important to give back to our neighborhood and community as a way of sharing our success with others.”

According to Mike, Urban Concern & Harambee Christian School were obvious choices for Franklin to support because several employees who are a part of the local church community also have a heart for education, especially for students who may have difficult circumstances to overcome in receiving their education.

Making the connection between the normal work day and the company’s community impact can be challenging, but Mike knows it’s worth it: “The daily grind of work can be stressful, but sometimes a simple act of sharing with someone else can lift your spirits.”  Likewise, having seen the positive impact giving back has had on their own company, Franklin encourages other businesses to make social responsibility a priority too: “We would encourage other companies to make it a priority to share their success within their local community and find ways to directly impact the lives of people around them who are in genuine need.” 

Franklin International’s long standing support of the work at Urban Concern & Harambee Christian School has no doubt resulted in a profound impact for inner city students looking to break the cycle of poverty and become a new generation of leaders for our community.


Luke’s Auto 

Across town from Franklin sits a local staple in honest, quality auto repair. Luke’s Auto is owned by its namesake Luke Walker. However, this local shop’s work impacts more than just Columbus drivers; it reaches throughout our community and stretches as far as the poorest regions of Cambodia, helping people in need receive necessary medical care and spiritual hope. Locally, Luke’s Auto champions the cause of inner city youth through supporting Urban Concern & Harambee Christian School. Twenty percent of company profits are donated to charity.

Before partnering through his business, Luke and his wife Carrie served as mentors for Harambee youth. On what sparked them to get involved, Luke says, “We both saw the awesome impact Urban Concern was having in the community and wanted to get more involved.” Likewise, Luke knew the impact that mentoring had on his own life: “I have been so grateful for the mentoring role other spiritual men have played in my life, and I wanted to pass that on to other young men.”

Luke’s Auto Team

Luke’s Auto Team

Serving as mentors stretched them, personally, and opened them up to getting further involved. According to Carrie, “It was a great experience, and it was faith building to see that God really does want to use us when we choose to serve others. I was surprised to find how much my mentee enjoyed spending time together and was even interested in discussing her faith with me.”

It was ultimately their experience as mentors that motivated them to partner financially through the business. “Knowing biblically that the Lord is committed to taking care of the less fortunate is our motivation for giving financially to Urban Concern & Harambee. Seeing first hand the quality of the ministry and the commitment of the people who have given their whole lives over to working with students has also been a huge motivator,” according to Carrie.

Luke & Carrie

Luke & Carrie

Luke agrees and has experienced the personal reward that comes with giving back to God’s work in the community: “Contributing time and finances towards such a great cause has been so rewarding for us. We are so glad we got involved. ”

Their advice for others interested in giving back? “Go and see the ministry. It’s easy to get lost in the business of our own lives. It’s important to see what life looks like in the inner city. We know they would be moved to serve in some way.”

Luke and Carrie’s personal investment impacted the lives of their mentees, and now their financial investment is creating opportunities for other students to experience the love of Christ and become a new generation of leaders for our community.

Do you have a business looking to make a local impact? We’d love to connect with you! Contact our Operations Director by emailing or calling 614.291.0885.

Michael Larson