Mt. Zion Baptist Church, the largest African-American congregation in Madison, is an important institution on Madison’s South Side. Over the years, Mt. Zion has provided numerous important programs and services to support people in the greater Madison community.
Much of that community work that they do now is under the MTZ Charitable Organization, established in 2021, which operates programs for underprivileged and impoverished youth in Madison to advance equity and accelerate their academic achievement. In an effort to let the community know more about MTZ, Mt. Zion will host “Building Hope Together: Introducing Our Commitment to the Community” on Thursday, Nov. 30, 6-8 p.m. at the Sheraton Hotel, 706 John Nolen Dr.
“Mt. Zion Baptist Church has been around for 112 years and we’ve been providing a lot of programs and services to support the community,” Rev. Dr. Marcus Allen, senior pastor at Mt. Zion Church, tells Madison365. “Many people when they see us, of course, they’re gonna see Mount Zion Baptist Church and so what we’re trying to do with this event is introduce MTZ Charitable to the community as a separate entity of its own.”
MTZ Charitable Organization‘s programs offer tutoring, special classes, and other activities designed to enrich the academic lives of community youth and help them succeed in school to the best of their abilities. MTZ offers important things like a food pantry, an academic learning center, a behavioral health clinic, a program for juveniles, a mentorship program for young people, and a benevolence program where they help people with rent, utilities and housing.
“All of our services and programs are open to anyone in the community,” Allen says. “They’re not just for churchgoers. As a matter of fact, the majority of the people who use our services and take advantage of our food pantry, our afterschool program, and our mental health clinic are not members of the church.
“Especially for people on the South Side, but anybody that comes to our doors for help, we will try our best to provide whatever they may need,” he adds.
The impetus for MTZ Charitable Organization began during the COVID-19 pandemic when Mt. Zion introduced even more community-focused services and programs.
“We started ‘School Without Walls’ where we allow kids to come to the school and use our Wi-Fi,” Allen says. “We created a summer camp for kids to come so they wouldn’t be so far behind when they went back to school after COVID. We started taking food to homes surrounding our church because we knew so many of the parents who lived in our neighborhood were not able to work from home because they had low-wage jobs.
“We started the behavioral health clinic during that time. We started a mentorship program for youth that were aging out of foster care,” Allen continues. “And because we started all these programs we said, ‘Hey, we might need to create a separate entity from the church — a separate 501c3 — just to focus on all of these programs that we’re doing.'”
With that, MTZ Charitable Organization was born focusing on all of these aforementioned programs (and more) that originated under Mt. Zion Church.
“MTZ Charitable has its own board that is separate from the church. In the future, we’re planning on building our Family Life Center which will be controlled by MTZ Charitable Organization,” Allen says. “Part of introducing MTZ Charitable to the community is about fundraising for our programs and for our new building.
“Anybody in the community is invited to this event. Of course, we want all of the stakeholders in the community to be there … we’re partnered with various organizations,” Allen adds. “We’re hoping to have a great attendance so people can learn more about MTZ Charitable Organization.”
Thursday’s “Building Hope Together: Introducing Our Commitment to the Community” will be a free event. Food will be provided.
“The goal is to continue to provide the services that we are already providing to the community, but we also want to be able to raise more funds so we can have a greater impact on the services which we provide to the community,” Allen adds. “The goal, ultimately, is to uplift our community and continue to change lives through the support of the services and programs we give to people.
“We just want to continue to grow MTZ Charitable so it can be a stronger entity and do more for our community.”