Alum Stories

Wesleyan Investive Awards $200,000 to Spiritual Entrepreneurs, Including DMin Alumna Kit Evans-Ford

Kit Evans FordAUSTIN, Texas – Wesleyan Investive is honored to announce the recipients of its 2022 class of the Tom Locke Innovative Leader Award. Working in fields as diverse as racial reconciliation, domestic violence, faith-based social entrepreneurship, and community building, they are explorers and pioneers at the cutting edge of spiritual entrepreneurship. Through this award, Wesleyan Investive has recognized four leaders, including DMin alumna Rev. Kit Evans-Ford (G-ETS 2017), who exemplify innovative spiritual leadership and missionally driven entrepreneurship across the Wesleyan ecosystem of the spiritual landscape for the sake of reaching more people and moving closer to the world God intends.


Evans-Ford is the founder of Argrow’s House of Healing and Hope, a bath and body social enterprise that employs female survivors of domestic violence and sexual violence. She is a trainer and activist working in the areas of nonviolence education and healing from abuse. She holds a Doctor of Ministry in Spiritual Direction from Garrett-Evangelical and is an Adjunct Professor in the Department of Theology at St. Ambrose University. Dr. Kit is the author of 101 Testimonies of Hope: Life Stories to Encourage Your Faith In God and A Children’s Book on Bishop Richard Allen: A Nonviolent Journey.


Recipients of the Locke Innovative Leader Award are invited to join past recipients in a facilitated cohort to support and network with each other and the growing community of spiritual entrepreneurs across the mixed ecology of churches and faith traditions. Additionally, they each receive $50,000, to be used at their discretion, to further steward their growing leadership and innovative potential. To date, the Wesleyan Investive has invested over $500,000 in Locke Leaders and their cohort experience.


Each honoree will be celebrated at a virtual event on Sunday, May 22 at 5 pm CT / 6 pm ET. Additional event details can be found at award.wesleyaninvestive.org.


“This group of Innovative Leaders, along with the five inaugural leaders named last year, reflects the tremendous breadth of creativity among us when it comes to fulfilling the purpose of the church,” said Tom Locke, Wesleyan Investive president. “They are explorers and risk takers, contributing to their fields, to society, and to the church in innovative, impactful ways because they are not content to maintain the status quo. This is exactly the kind of leadership we are investing in, rewarding, encouraging, and cultivating at Wesleyan Investive.”


Building on the Wesleyan Investive’s fifty-three-year legacy of supporting local churches and leaders in changing the landscape, the Investive believes the church is called to strengthen its witness through traditional congregations and through innovative faith communities and other efforts to further the Gospel. This mixed ecology of the church’s witness requires a diversity of leaders, particularly those with an entrepreneurial spirit and the ability to see beyond existing practices and models. The Award seeks to embolden this entrepreneurial spirit, increase innovations in the ecosystem and foster the courage to try new things and learn.


“This award is meant to honor the work these leaders have done, but also empower them to grow,” said Roland Fernandes, Wesleyan Investive board chair and general secretary of United Methodist Global Ministries. “It is the intention that participating in the cohort will give the recipients a chance to connect with each other to help grow and scale their efforts. And while a ‘no strings attached’ monetary award may seem unconventional, we know that this money can provide these leaders some breathing space, freedom and opportunity to reflect, create, and explore. An investment in them as leaders is also an investment in their communities.”


The award is named after Wesleyan Investive President Tom Locke who holds a strong belief that investment in bold, enterprising leaders with inventive approaches to ministry not only advances the church and brings the Gospel to more people but creates flourishing communities.


About Wesleyan Investive

Wesleyan Investive is a national nonprofit that invests in congregations, leaders, and missionally driven innovation while catalyzing good works within communities. Over the course of its 50 plus-year history, Wesleyan Investive has made over 2,000 loans totaling more than $500 million, encouraging churches across the United States to pursue their God-sized dreams. The work is made possible through partnerships with impact-focused investors and Methodist foundations across the country. Based in Austin, Texas, the organization is led by President Tom Locke.