Creating an impact in her community for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities has driven Gracelyn Wilson to create a unique and wonderful organization. The Hand of Grace has provided many individuals with the necessary services to help them achieve functionality and independent living in their communities and lives. For Gracelyn, Executive Director of The Hand of Grace, the philosophy that every individual deserves to be treated with care and respect, has allowed her to live out her passion for advocating for marginalized communities.
The road to establishing The Hand of Grace began early in her career as a Community Organizer. In that role, she spent most of her time advocating for and connecting youth and families in her community to needed resources in services. Through this work, she learned that individuals dealing with disabilities were the ones who had a harder time navigating different systems. Some even have to wait for years to obtain services. The barriers and challenges they faced eventually led Gracelyn to conceptualize The Hand of Grace in 2019.
The start of the organization was a long and detailed process. Gracelyn knew that to get started she would need assistance with capital and technical advice. While talking to a former boss from the Northwest Side Community Development, serving the Milwaukee area, she learned about Prestamos and their goal of helping minority women establish their businesses. After learning about our services, Gracelyn wrote a letter of intent, reached out to Prestamos and was connected to Amber Cordoba who helped her understand the process and got her started.
Now Gracelyn is included in the state’s directory of respite and disability services providers and is running a successful social impact organization. Through The Hand of Grace, her goal was to establish an organization that not only provides the needed services but also takes the time to familiarize themselves with the unique needs of individuals. This allows her to create customized plans and pathways, while also identifying the right matches for respite care for families. Beyond that, The Hand of Grace also offers Community Navigation services, Supportive Housing Assistance, Educational and Job Skills Training.
“My experience with Prestamos has been absolutely amazing! Amber and the team have provided great support and encouragement even before the financial loan was in place.”, says Gracelyn about her experience with Prestamos. “They provided so much beyond funding. The support helped keep me motivated. With help building a website, to office space to work and hold trainings – they really are amazing.”
Gracelyn is confident in the future of her organization and is looking to expand her reach and services. The Hand of Grace secured a five-year contract with the state of Arizona as a service provider. For her and her team of 15, the future looks grand.
Prestamos exists to help nurture and grow entrepreneurs through their journeys. We are a mission-driven entity that operates under the non-profit Chicanos Por La Causa, which provides communities with resources ranging from health, education, financial services, housing, and advocacy. Prestamos continues its efforts to advance our work to provide high-quality financial products and services for small businesses that lead to impactful economic development projects. We invite you to learn more about our efforts and apply for a business loan.