100% Black Owned. 100% Committed to our Community
As Grand C.I.T.Y. Sports Inc. also known as Grand C.I.T.Y. is 100% black owned, approaches being in business, serving youth and the community for a decade, CEO and Co-Founder Chris Sain Jr. cannot help but to engage in introspective reflection;
“At just about 10 years, in business, you see a lot. You learn a lot. Many believed we wouldn’t make it one year. Most guaranteed we’d certainly be out of business by year three. Even more people told me, you can’t build a sustainable business with your childhood friends, family and members from your community.”
“Over the course of 10 years, I have heard a little bit of everything. However, I have a track record of proving people wrong in life, in business and in sports. I’ve been doing it all my life. At some point you think people will stop doubting you and learn to believe.”
Grand C.I.T.Y. is the number one reason the city of Grand Rapids is not Ferguson, Missouri or any other city decimated by poverty, unemployment, violence and poor police-and-community relations (Chicago, Detroit, Philly and Baltimore). According to a recent Forbes report, Grand Rapids, Mich. is the worst city (51 out of 52) for African Americans.
Grand C.I.T.Y. members: Preston Sain aka Coach P (Co-Founder), Carlton Brewster, Eric Malloy, Jahaun McKinley, Rueben Riley, Terna Nande, Aaron Johnson, David Harris and a host of others grew up on the SouthEast side of Grand Rapids in the Zip Code where unemployment is 53%.
Something the city could be proud of. Something the youth could look up to.
Determined to be more than what society expected and predicted from African American males growing up in low income communities, members from Grand CITY turned to the one thing they were all gifted in…sports.
Growing up, we had very few examples to look up to. However, on the flip side, we had plenty of examples of what we didn’t want to be and even more examples of who we didn’t want to be.
ESPN’s camera crew should be coming down the street any day now to do a 30 for 30. What Grand CITY members, who happen to be childhood best friends did to make it out and what they currently do and have been doing for a decade in the community are the things box office hits are made of.
Unfortunately, we live in a city that brings little to no light to the things that matter. The type of things that can inspire, ignite and rejuvenate an entire city.
Imagine how inspired the youth, the public school students and urban communities would be if the city intentionally highlighted some of the most accomplished young people the town has ever seen. Imagine if they put a spotlight on the successes of the individual members of Grand CITY and creatively shared their story collectively to the masses. It would be life changing for the youth and the city’s urban core who’s on the verge of losing hope.
Gifted + Talented + Humble + Work Ethic = Rare Breed
Extremely gifted in sports. Extremely gifted in the classroom (when we applied ourselves), Grand C.I.T.Y. business model is built around Faith, Sports & Education. If asked, many members would admit we didn’t care much for school, however, we were too competitive to do poorly in school. Everything for us was competition. Healthy competition. Even in the classroom.
After becoming childhood sports stars by the age 8, 9, 10 & 11 and winning countless basketball championships, Gus Macker Championships and Football Championships together in Rocket League while playing at King Park and later Mulick Park, they went on to dominate high school sports.
Grand C.I.T.Y. members paved the way for the notoriety and opportunities athletes today in Grand Rapids receive. Many Grand C.I.T.Y. members went on to play college ball at Michigan State University (MSU), University of Michigan (UofM), Miami of Ohio, Ferris State University (FSU), etc.
God Use Us
Several members, went on to the play professional football in the NFL. Ruben Riley starred at UofM for four years before taking his talents to the NFL where he played for the Washington Redskins, New York Giants and Miami Dolphins.
Terna Nande, who at one time held NFL Combine records for 40 times for Linebackers and Bench Press reps starred at Miami of Ohio before getting drafted by the Tennessee Titans and finishing up his career with the San Diego Chargers.
Carlton Brewster who was like Michael Vick and Donovan McNabb in high school, had offers and could have played football anywhere in the country coming out of High School. He choose Ferris State University only to become one of the All-Time Greats and leaders in catches, yards, yards after catch and touchdowns.
After his All-American College Career, he went on to play for the Cleveland Browns, Denver Broncos, San Diego Chargers, Green Bay Packers, and the New Orlean Saints.
David Harris, arguably one of the best high school Linebackers in the history of High School Football, went on to be a star at the University of Michigan and became one of the schools best Linebackers in UofM storied history. A tackling machine, David Harris aka “Big Dave” to his childhood friends took his talents to the NFL where he has become one of the best Linebackers in NFL history.
A starter, leader and team captain for the New York Jets, Dave is one of the All-Time leaders in tackles in Jets history. He is currently finishing up his career with the New England Patriots and we are hoping he and Tom Brady brings a Super Bowl Trophy to Grand C.I.T.Y.
Biggest Lesson Learned
Grand C.I.T.Y. wanted to be a blessing. Grand C.I.T.Y. desired to be a blessing.We wanted to bless the community. We wanted to bless and motivate the youth. We simply said “God use us.”
We woke up everyday in did the work. We did the dirty work. The work that most entrepreneurs shy away which is why most fail. We put our head down for 10 years and did the work. We never asked for a dime from our community. We also never received a dime.Closed mouths don't get fed. You have not because you ask not. Ask and you shall receive.Click To Tweet
So for me, the biggest lesson I learned was that, just doing the work, serving the youth, serving the community, is not enough. We thought, donors would see our efforts. We thought foundations would hear about our work and see our efforts. We thought we would have grants coming our way to support our work.
Unfortunately for us, they all saw and felt our impact. The entire city, from the prominent down to the poor know who we are and…
None of that happened. So what that taught me and what I learned from that was, just doing the work, even if every stakeholder in the city knows your work, standby your work, benefit from your work, unless you literally go ask and request funding, support, and resources, it will never come.
We never complain. We work.
With our imprint on the city, many can’t believe we have never received funding. We have never received funding of any sort. Organizations that have done far less receive way more than Grand C.I.T.Y. We don’t complain. In fact, we salute and we keep working. We believe our time is coming.You cannot ignore real impact. You cannot ignore real change. You cannot ignore real transformation.Click To Tweet
With a proven track record of service, we believe our time is coming. Blue Cross Blue Shield has taken notice and a handful of individual donors. We are thankful for their support. We don’t complain. We serve more.
One reason we never complain is because of our faith. Our faith in God is the only thing that has sustained Grand C.I.T.Y. for 10 years. Additionally, due to the population we serve, their needs, their unmet needs don’t allow us to complain because we are too busy trying to save a life, keep a kid on the right track and make sure they are staying in school.
It hasn’t been easy but nobody thought it would be. However, it’s been rewarding. We can only imagine what we’d do if and when we have adequate resources to support our mission, our work and those we serve.
Grand CITY created a whole entire culture in Grand Rapids, Michigan. We made it cool to serve. We made it cool to give back. We made it cool to worship. We made it cool to be active fathers in the lives of our children. What we see happening and being done in our city was birthed, inspired and influenced by Grand C.I.T.Y.
Regardless if homage is paid or credit is given, we know, but more importantly we salute. We understand at Grand C.I.T.Y. that we need all hands on deck or as many hands as possible to help save our youth and inspire our community.
How You Can Help. How You Can Get Involved.
Grand C.I.T.Y. Sports, Inc. is a 501 c(3) nonprofit organization. We are always in need of volunteers. We are always in need of donations and sponsors to assist the youth we serve. To get connected, please 1). Like our Facebook Page. Click Here. 2). Send us a message or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Please consider making a tax deductible donation to our Grand C.I.T.Y. Sports Scholarship Fund. Annually we help send High School Seniors to the two or four year school of their choice. Your gift helps us support those who are trying to create better lives for themselves and their family. To donate, click here.
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Latest posts by Chris Sain (see all)
- How Creating Your Own Products Is The Key To Wealth and Financial Independence – Pt. 1 - January 10, 2018
- Grand CITY Sports, Inc. Turns 10 and is a 100% Black Owned - January 4, 2018
- The Intersection Between Health & Wealth - December 22, 2017
- Coming 2018 - December 21, 2017