Sound of the Genuine

A Way Out of No Way with Argrow's House

March 18, 2022 FTE Leaders Season 2 Episode 7
Sound of the Genuine
A Way Out of No Way with Argrow's House
Show Notes Transcript

This is a special episode of the Sound of the Genuine where the co-founders of Do Good X, Stephen Lewis and Kimberly Daniel, share from their book, A Way Out of No Way, with Do Good X Fellow Dr. Kit Evans Ford. Dr. Evans-Ford talks to our hosts about building a business to do good in the world, Argrow’s House of Hope and Healing. 

Dr. Kit Evans-Ford is the founder of Argrow's House, a bath and body business 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 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 Nonviolence Journey.

Instagram: @ArgrowsHouse


Learn more about Dr. Kit at

Do you have an idea for a social good? Become a DO GOOD X Fellow like Dr. Evans-Ford. Apply to the accelerator

Music by: @siryalibeats

Portrait Illustration by: Olivia Lim

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Patrick: Hey, what's going on, it's Dr. Patrick Reyes here. Today we have a special episode of the Sound of the Genuine where my colleagues, Stephen Lewis and Kimberly Daniel, the co-founders of Do Good X are going to be taking over and interviewing Dr. Kit Evans Ford to talk about her organization, Argrow's House. So welcome Kimberly and Stephen. 

Kimberly: Today Steven and I are excited to take over an episode of the Sound of the Genuine to hear the story of an innovative, a driven, and an inspiring woman, Dr. Kit Evans Ford. She is one of several christian innovators that Stephen and I highlight in our book A Way Out of No Way, and she is a positive and a powerful model of what the intersection of entrepreneurship ministry and innovation can look like.

Dr. Evans Ford is founder of Argrow's House of Healing and Hope, which is a social enterprise to support female survivors of domestic abuse or sexual violence. Argrow’s House provides a community for these survivors and also hires them to create healing bath and body products. 

Now, Stephen and I have been fortunate to have journeyed with Dr. Evans Ford during the early development of Argrow's House through Do Good X's accelerator program in 2017. Do Good X is an innovative initiative of FTE that provides an accelerator program, particularly for underrepresented Christian social entrepreneurs, who desire to do good through their business.

And Dr. Evans Ford is truly doing good. Thank you for joining us, Dr. Evans Ford. 

Kit Evans Ford: Thank you. I'm excited to be here.

Kimberly: I know that you're an entrepreneur who is working daily to support women survivors through your business, but this is not where your story started. Tell us your story, specifically when and how did the idea of Argrow's House of Healing and Hope come to you? 

Kit Evans Ford: Argrow's House was actually my senior research paper at the Pacific School of Religion my third year as an M.Div. Student. That second year I'd gotten a ministry fellowship for FTE to go to South Africa, to learn about how the Bible can be used to work with women survivors of violence.

I've always been passionate about working with women survivors because of my family's experience and seeing how dark that could be for the women that I love, growing up. And so I always had a passion for just learning more about how to be present with women, how to help assist with services.

And unfortunately, when I was a Peace Corps volunteer, I became a survivor of an extremely violent sexual assault. And so having all of those experiences, you know, my ministry unfolded into really working to see what would help women as far as healing from trauma. I was doing that for myself as I healed from my own traumatic experience and things like post-traumatic stress disorder. Part of my healing was accepting my call to ministry when that happened to me in the Peace Corps. I went to seminary, PSR in Berkeley. and much of my work in Berkeley was focused on understanding how the Bible could assist women in their healing, understanding how spirituality could be present in women's studies and religion and healing and trauma informed care, things of that nature.

How we could incorporate this type of work in our preaching and ministry work in the church. And so, Argrow's House…My senior paper in seminary was, I would go to a community, live for five years, build relationships, and I would start a healing house for women where service providers would volunteer their time for free, initially - everything from yoga to cooking classes, therapy classes, Bible studies, and have a home where women could also stay. The social enterprise piece came for me my second year of seminary, years ago, I visited Thistle farms in Nashville, Tennessee with Reverend Becca Stevens.

She didn't know my name at the time and she, you know, we just developed a pretty strong relationship and growing relationship over the last year, thanks be to God. But that took some time. But a seed was planted. I went there and volunteered. 

Reverend Becca Stevens showed me that a woman could be a chaplain, could be a ministry leader within her church, but could also start a healing house for women. They have the Magdalene House, a two-year residential facility. But they could also, you could also start a business, right? She calls this justice enterprise. We call it social enterprise. But a justice enterprise where you could start a business and hands that were once beaten black and blue are used to create something beautiful and a safe place that celebrates who they are. And so these women who have been trafficked, then fleeing lives of addiction, they created these beautiful bath and body products. So I knew that it was possible because of the model of Thistle Farms. So that seed was planted for me, in seminary over 10 years ago. 

And then it was Do Good X. That really helped me understand - it was a several week program, what myself and other Christian ministers, who were interested in social enterprise, where we came together and we learned about business plans and product development and all these things that aren't in a normal conversation or a normal kind of journey for a Christian minister or chaplain.

And you all helped us understand that we could do it, and we could understand how to create a business and set a firm foundation and be able to do good in the midst of that. Okay, what business do I start? I knew about Thistle Farms. At the time I was a full-time theology professor. I had a baby on my hip and then I had another baby And so, you know, the family was very patient with me even the Do Good X family, and I learned all these things that helped me move forward and even pitch my first pitch, you know, was with Do Good X.

And even though I had only made a few bath bombs that were kind of cracking. but I put them in a little package and put a bow on them and said, “We are Argrow's House made by women survivors strong and we need your support.” And it was people who were at the Do Good X pitch that were our first customers and helped us develop the confidence to move forward, get the proper mentors to help us formulate really great recipes for our products, and to grow our business that has 12 products now and growing. And we have a subscription box where we work with other women's survivor artisan groups around the world now. 

And we're part of a global shared trade network now that's an international survivor made group. So, you know, things are moving forward. We have two facilities now, thanks be to God, and our first industrial equipment pieces to help us grow our business. But it's taken, you know, some time it's taken a lot of…when I was reading, I saw the ingenious grit, and I saw the different scriptures that were lifted up, which I really appreciate.

And I know we'll talk more about that but I know to do this work and to be consistent with it and to move forward, you know, grounded in the love of God, but also grounded in justice and grounded in being able to do things with honor and with excellence, it takes a lot of time. It takes a lot of sacrifice.

It takes a lot of networking and developing relationships to get the support you need, takes a lot of perfecting your product to make sure you have the best possible product that you can. I think that grit is important. I think knowing why you do the work - I do this work because it's so deeply connected to who I am and also my family story. Argrow is actually my grandmother. She was born in a small town in North Carolina. She married at the age of 14 and my grandfather at the time was around 28 years old, he had issues with alcoholism and so there was abuse there. My husband is the one who actually encouraged me to name Argrow's House, Argrow in honor of my grandmother. And I'm so glad I did. 

She was actually a local deacon within the African Methodist Episcopal Church. And though she went through all of the trauma at home, she was one of the most loving people that I've ever…actually the most loving person I've ever met in my life - the reason I believe in God, the reason I believe that love is possible. So we do this work for God, working to be the hands and feet of Christ. But also I do this in honor of my grandmother and the love that she shared with so many.

And I know that if there was a place like Argrow's House at the time, she may not have been in that abusive marriage, most of her adult life as well. 

Stephen: Dr. Kit, you have such an inspiring ancestral story. We just appreciate the opportunity to witness your testimony in which you have done through Argrow's House. So I want to ask you a question, specifically - Kimberly and I, we talk about Christian innovation as the ingenious grit of seeing opportunities in unfavorable circumstances and composting those available resources to create a way out of no way of persistent challenges. So what comes to mind when you think about how we describe Christian innovation in the development of Argrow's House?

Kit Evans Ford: Yeah. I appreciate that. Thank you so much for sharing some notes before the conversation cause the way that you all describe it, it's awesome. But I appreciate the scripture base of that explanation and understanding as well. And it's so deeply connected to the problems, connected to why we do social enterprise and serving marginalized populations, but also it's like in our preaching classes, they talked about you need to talk about the need in the world or a need in a text and the grace in the world and a grace in the text, you know?

And so it kind of helps me to understand the need in our communities, but also the grace that God has given and that social and justice enterprise that is given in our community. And this was so hilarious because John 10:10 is a scripture that my mom, throughout my whole life has said to me, and so, you know, when I read it, the thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy, but I come that they may have life and have it abundantly! You know, it made me think about my mom who's been through a lot of things, but still continues to keep her faith in God. She's an ordained local elder within the African Methodist Episcopal Church. But it just made me think about the women that we serve as well.

I mean many of the women that come to Argrow's House, literally many of them are sending me or our team messages of having a gash in their head from their husbands beating them and it's taken them some time to build the courage to leave. Because there's been power over them financially, they have children and so they're afraid their children are going to be taken away from them. They don't know where to go, they don't know what to do. There's so many power dynamics, right? So, when the thief comes to steal and kill and destroy, a lot of times this is spiritual. A lot of times this is physical, right? A lot of times this is actually is everything - mind, body, and spirit with the women that we serve. I think even for us as social enterprise leaders, this applies to us as well, because this work isn't always easy. 

The enemy will come and tell you, okay, you're sacrificing your career, your sacrificing financially you're sacrificing your time, just give all of this up and just move forward and go back to that full-time job where people are consistently giving you this, or you know, you can get that golden watch for retirement at the end of the day, you know, take the traditional path, right?

Because starting a social enterprise, a justice enterprise is a path that is being created literally as we speak. And so it takes a lot of sacrifice and the enemy will come and tell you, why are you doing this? And make you, even move forward in the journey where you feel like you're being burnt out and you're not taking care of yourself.

And so you have to be mindful of those things as well. But I think that second part of the text where it says, “I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.” I think what social enterprise does is it brings together a community of absolutely amazing people, not just the women that we serve, but most of our volunteers are either survivors or they have been connected to someone who's a survivor. 

Our donors, though they may not have the trauma experience, for them to be part of a community of healing support that's grounded in the love of God, I mean, the love radiates, right? Sometimes the conflict comes because we're all human, but many of the people in our program had been there for years. We're four years old now.

And they stay because it's a safe place, grounded in the love of God, where they can support each other, love on each other. But then also we're able to encourage each other, even financially when we need to, because we have our social enterprise. And so if you look at our streams of income, when we first started, we had to build trust.

I mean, no one was just going to come and write us a 20 or $30,000 check saying, oh, this is what you want to do? Here you go! And so, you know, it was our church, Grace City Church, where my husband is the pastor. They assisted us with getting our first mortgage. and they assisted us literally with paying our rent the first year, because we were trying to figure it out.

No one would give us any grants because they didn't really believe what we were doing, we didn't have any numbers. The United Methodist church did give us a $10,000 grant to buy our first buckets of coconut oil and other things but we had to grow our business, develop our customer base.

We had to develop trust in a community so that we could apply for grants and they knew exactly what we were doing and they trusted us to invest in our programming. And then our private donor base, literally our first two years before COVID, almost every weekend we were out in a community at churches, at women's conferences, at markets, all these different places, just telling people our mission, working to develop that trust.

What I've come to learn is God has come that we may have life and have it more abundantly. And when you are a moving forward doing the right thing, serving women and children, it's like a ripple effect. You're doing the right thing. We're doing what we can with Argrow's House.

We're taking it one step at a time together. We're feeding, we're employing. We are sitting down and extending compassion. But have worked to pour so much good grounded in the love of God that it just continues to grow. Though it gets hard at times, it's so much more good than bad. And we're really, really grateful, but that doesn't happen if you're not doing the right thing.

Every year, I'm trying to apply for a fellowship, I'm trying to see how I can connect in the community with FTE, I'm trying to see how I can learn more about social enterprise. Becca has now taken me under her wing. And I'm now part of the global share trade initiative, their board of directors. So now I'm starting to meet other social enterprise leaders around the world and working with them. As a leader, if I continue to keep my eyes on the mark, keep my eyes on God, stay grounded, continued to grow as a person, continue to sacrifice the way that I need to, to help grow the social enterprise and continue to be present with the women and serve them the best way that I know how, you know that God gives us grace.

And even when the enemy comes like he can't stay long, right? He can't stay long because God's grace is sufficient and he's right there with us every step of the way. 

Kimberly: What did you get curious about when you were writing that paper, doing that project for your senior year, and you eventually developed Argrow's House, particularly for women survivors of domestic violence and abuse. What were you curious about? 

Kit Evans Ford: I'm grateful for education. You know, I think sometimes that we think we just go out and create something. But I know that most people who lead have also worked to understand the theory. I think theory and practice are important, and I appreciate the book A Way Out of No Way and other books that really helped to understand the theory and foundational realities connected to theology, justice enterprise, social enterprise, and other things. When my assault happened, I was in the Peace Corps, but I was also doing a program called Masters International and I was writing a dissertation and it was on something else about community development and HIV and AIDS, I think. But then when it shifted, when I became a survivor of trauma and I was fighting through PTSD and other things, I shifted my research to really understand what helps people in healing from trauma.

And so it was a book by Judith Herman, called Trauma and Recovery, and she's a professor at Harvard, and the book talked about three different stages or three different realities: It talked about giving people a safe space to remember and mourn what they have lost. For us, that's sharing testimony, for some that's pastoral care and counseling, for some that’s support groups. And so that helped me to understand how important that was. Another component is reconnecting with ordinary life. So my understanding is helping people understand and tap into those things that give them joy.

Part of my dissertation at the time was understanding how spirituality connects with that reconnection with ordinary life. For me as a Christian, that may be the Bible, that may be song, that may be journaling that may be yoga for some. And so I wanted to create a space to bring those things to life. 

At the time as a survivor, working for the US government, they paid for all of my therapies and all of these kinds of safe spaces that were created for me. Financially they assisted me in my darkest times of my own healing journey. Most women don't have that. I was researching and understanding the theory behind how important that was for people in trauma and recovery but then that spiritual component as well, we know was important. 

And I know that most women don't have those resources. So I just wanted to create a place that kind of models what I had experienced and what I saw others experience, who had the resources. And I know because I had those resources as a survivor, I'm able to now move forward as, you know, Proverbs [Lyvonne Proverbs Briggs] talks about sur-thriving.

What helped me kind of connect the dots was researching what I knew, or what I didn't know was possible, and then bringing it to life. And I think throughout my academic journey, I worked to do that and now I'm able to take those things and develop it into something practical. 

So, you know, I just want to emphasize how important sometimes we think, oh, we don't need to study that or take that class or go back to school or no - but even a program, like Do Good X or some short-term certificate program…I think studying and having the theory behind what we do is very important because it gives us something to stand on and it educates us on how to do it in a healthy way and a grounded way, and a well-informed way so that we can dot i’s and cross t's from the beginning, especially if you're working with marginalized populations. 

If you're working with homeless populations, working with people with mental illness, people healing from addiction, people healing from trauma, you know, it's a very precious population and pastoral care and counseling is helpful and important, but you still also have to have trauma-informed skills and training to be able to really serve that population because it's not about us and feeling good about what we're doing, but you really want to develop programming that's informed, in a way, by research that helps you to really not just give charity to people, but journey with them in solidarity, hand in hand, helping them be the best that they can be with the proper resources that they need.

Stephen: So in light of that, you know, you talked about your courses, you talked about your opportunity in the Peace Corps, you talked about going to Becca Stephens and seeing her operations. So when you think about those experiences, what were some of your big what if ideas that you were open to and that you played with that eventually led to what Argrow's House is today?

Kit Evans Ford:  When I did my pitch with Do Good X, I had, you know, those few little bath bombs and a few little essential oil blends. I had a picture of a bar of soap on the wall, in the presentation. It was this beautiful bar of soap Stephen, [I] had no idea how to make soap. But in that presentation, I put a picture of a bar of this beautiful handmade soap and I said, ‘We are bath and body products handmade by women survivors strong!’ - had no idea how to do it.

But I put it out there and then I figured out how to do it. Sometimes we think that we have to have everything perfect, and we talked about this, you have to have everything perfect before you can launch out into the deep. It is important to have on a life jacket if you can't swim for sure, metaphorically. And I think that life jacket is having a community of support, having trusted people who have certain skill sets that you may not have, developing mentors. For me, starting out, I had Do Good X, I had SCORE small business planning, you know, they're in most cities, the SCORE program where a lot of retired business exec's that still helped me to this day moving forward and they assist in communities across the country.

But I had to find mentors in the bath and body company world to assist me. That powerpoint I did in that first pitch, that pitch was my first vision board for Argrow's House because that bar of soap eventually came to life and that's actually our cucumber melon soap. When we put something out there and it's aligned with what God has called us to do, like he helps us. I always think about a spotlight. And with a spotlight, if you're on a stage, every time you step up, the spotlight may not show like the whole, whole stadium or the whole auditorium, but as you take a step up, you can see a little bit ahead of you, right?

And you take another step up and the spotlight moves. You could see a little more ahead of you, right? So that one step at a time and that spotlight moving. And so I went to the Caribbean, went to the national museums. I was in St. Kitts and Nevis, where I used to live these beautiful soaps.

And I said, okay, this lady needs to be our mentor, Anastacia. And so I met with her before we left. And she has helped me, helped us for years perfect our recipes. They usually take four to six months to perfect. And then moving forward we get other support, like right now I work with a cosmetic science intern from Vietnam who heard about what we were doing.

She's from one of the universities, not too far from where we are, and she has helped us for two years perfecting recipes. And so you put yourself out there, you find the mentors, you find the support. Even with a social enterprise oftentimes you have a non-profit component as well, which means that you're also a 501 c3, which allows you to get grants.

But that also means you have a board of directors. And because you are starting your organization, you can hand pick people with certain skill sets that you trust or who are mission oriented and believe in what you're doing to help build your organization. And I know us because we had a great and still do have a great board of directors that also assisted Argrow's House in moving forward so quickly.

And so, you know, you asked me that question. I think, I think it's about writing a vision, making it plain, literally writing that vision, making it plain, putting it out there, even if you have no idea how are you going to do it. If you don't say it, if you don't move forward, if you don't put it out there, you know, it's never going to happen.

Cause we'll just sit on it until we get it perfect and it will never be perfect. It's always evolving and we take one step at a time, that spotlight will move as we move. We take one step at a time. Let people know what you're doing. Get a group of trusted people with different expertise to help you move that vision forward because you don't have to do it alone and you do not want to do it alone.

Kimberly: We heard you talk about the seed that was planted in your senior year coming to the Do Good X pitch event with this bath bomb that you experimented with making, the vision board of the soap that you had no experience making, and a lot of research that you also did to support these products and to support your direction.

But my question to you is what was it that actually proved that this was a thing, that what Argrow's House intended to do for these women would be a thing that could lead to success and impact?

Kit Evans Ford: You know, you never know how something's going to move forward but you do it and you take it one day at a time and you do your best. Like once I started seeing how many women, how much of a need this was in our community and seeing how joyful and how important, not just the financial piece of what we do, I think our social enterprise brings in 60% of our total income, even as our budget increases hundreds of thousands of dollars, the social enterprise piece is a huge way that we bring in money to support the women that we serve. You know, and I just think about our first survivor employee. You know, though she's still going through some challenges, she has come such a long way.

She journeyed with Argrow's House as our first soap maker, literally I think, maybe two weeks after the Do Good X pitch - we hired her and we were able to hire her with the grant that we got from United Methodist Church after Do Good X. She doesn't do full time soap making for us now because she's in an executive leadership position at a local company doing marketing, which is what she has her degree in, but she enjoys doing pastries and other things. 

So now she does our chocolate covered Oreos [and] other things in our corporate gift boxes to bring in income. So instead of partnering with local chocolate companies we switched to her, which brings in, you know, a few hundred dollars a month for her on the side - starting a different type of business for herself. Several of the women who have gone through our program may go on to full-time jobs, but several of them have become entrepreneurs themselves. You know, we have Assisa who is still with Argrow's part-time but she saw what we were doing and what we were modeling - she's from Mozambique, and her mother taught her how to make samosa's when she was little, and so she started selling them last summer at the farmer's market. I encouraged her to do a pitch event, which she did several weeks ago, which I am familiar with because of my experience with Do Good X and I continue to pitch Argrow's House and now another business.

And so I encouraged her based on what I had learned of my own and what she had saw with Argrow’s House and the grocery store in our region contacted her. And she had her first meeting with Hy-Vee grocery stores last week. 

Kimberly: Dr Kit, tell us about who supported you along your entrepreneurial journey? 

Kit Evans Ford: Yeah. So who was there to support me? FTE and the Do Good X family has been a part of my journey, as I said, since I was in my early twenties. Also my husband, Reverend Dwight Ford has been very supportive on this journey. The SCORE community still are very supportive, the mentors there have been very supportive as well.

And you know, my family, my church family has been with Argrow's House from the beginning. And as I said, it was our church that, you know, sacrificed for us to get our feet on the ground. We were able to pay off our mortgage and be able to support ourselves after two years of being in existence.

But as a new organization, it took us some time to build those relationships and to learn how to raise money and capital and write grants and have a growing customer base. And our customers, we have repeat customers like FTE that has trusted us with their conference boxes that we're so grateful for the partnership. And other customers that subscribe to our subscription box monthly. We partner with other women artisans around the world. We try and really bring creative, beautiful things to our customers every month. So we're grateful for our customers. And also the women that we serve. It's such a vulnerable place to flee abuse and to leave everything behind and to step forward in a community that you know nothing about. And they do that, right. And the ladies that really connect in community, they stay for the long haul. They scream and they kick and they lament and they eventually, prayerfully... you know, sometimes it doesn't happen this way because there is the reality of relapse and the reality of depression and mental health realities - which is heartbreaking - but the majority of the ladies, they get back on their feet, and then they start to mentor the other women coming in.

So it's like this beautiful, supportive community that is formed. And so seeing that actually sustains me. It's a beautiful thing to be able to witness and to witnesses it daily. That feeds me, that sustains me in the work. And I'm the crying chaplain. So I cry all the time, it's all good!

You talked about that grit. I think that grit is important. I think that grit for me, coming from a lineage of very hardworking woman, my mom raised five of us on her own. My grandma raised eight of her children on her own. And so me and all of my sisters have very similar behavior as it relates to work ethic.

So I think hard work is so important when creating any organization or leading any organization, but especially starting a nonprofit and a social enterprise, because it's really two things.

It's a business, but it's also a nonprofit organization. And so it takes a lot of effort. Throughout the years, especially this year coming up on 40 years old for myself, so I said, okay, I really need to evaluate this. Am I really called to stay in this work? You know, I want to make sure I'm moving forward on a proper retirement.

I want to make sure that I'm adequately moving forward in my career the way that God wants me to. And part of that is being able to sustain myself and assist my family as we grow as well. You know, I really had to question that, but God affirms and he provides, and he makes ways out of no way, as you all say. And it's so true! He affirms, he encourages, he provides, he sends signs and people and does wonders that you would have never even thought possible to keep the work going and to let you know you're on track to continue on the narrow path. And the work is not in vain. 

Stephen: So what's next for Argrow's House? What's on the horizon? What's the next vision board?

Kit Evans Ford: ...If I knew that we were fully staffed at this point to do the caliber work that we need to do to serve the women, to grow the business, to move forward with the residential holistic care for the women and to grow our business properly, I may step out and move forward, you know, as a full-time professor or to focus primarily on my other business in honor of my children, Autistic in Love, it's a chewelry company.

But I know that when you start something and you are working to create a firm foundation where this organization can last beyond me. Because it's not about me, it's about the women and providing this safe space. This isn't something that exists, you know, in my community, or even in my region, God called me to do it for the women that we serve. And I know there's more women and children to come because they're coming every day. And so if not me, who? So I said yes to this. It's my responsibility right now in this season of my life.

And it may not always be, right? I think the organization will eventually grow where it can sustain itself and be fully staffed and have really amazing committed people to do this work because I find that this type of work attracts like-minded people with similar heart, similar passions, which is beautiful.

But right now I have the energy. I have the expertise. I have the network to be able to navigate this leadership position, to grow this organization, to sustain the work so that we can serve as many women and children as we can for years to come.

One thing I wanted to say that I was thinking about just as I grow and learn more about social enterprise you know, so I teach theology and religion at the university and I teach seven different religions and prayer and spirituality.

But one of the things that a few people at the university has reached out to me about was the connection between business and faith, and faith and social enterprise. And I've started to do some workshops on it and other things, but personally, one thing that I want to do in the future is teach classes at seminaries and even business schools on how spirituality and business and social enterprise/ justice enterprise can be connected because I think it's an important topic.

And I think that it's not a normalized conversation in business schools and also in department of theologies and religion. So I think is very important because some people just don't naturally make the connection. And I think it's an important connection, especially during these times, post-COVID and how faith communities need different, unique, innovative ways to support marginalized populations, but also their own communities as well.

And I think about it too, there is a reason I was encouraged to name Argrow's house after my grandmother, because every time I think about, okay, well, what if I was to leave? This is actually my grandmother's - this is my family name! I'm doing this in honor of her so why can't I suck it up and do this with excellence and do it as long as I need to do until it has that firm foundation to grow and sustain and prayerfully, dare I say, be a multi-million dollar social enterprise and business one day. Write the vision, make it plain, say it! 

Stephen: How much of your work is driven by you or how much of it is driven and inspired by your community of survivors? 

Kit Evans Ford: I think it's both Stephen. I think is personal because this is so deeply connected to my family's experience and who we are. My first name is Argrow, my daughter's middle name is Argrow, my aunt's name is Argrow, my grandmother is Argrow, and she planted so many seeds of love and compassion, this is the least I can do if I've been given this platform to give and serve. And one thing I had to realize in seminary, I thought that they were only able to move forward a certain level within the church.

You know, my mom was only able to move forward a certain level in the church, as it relates to ordination, though that wasn't my path, I felt like I had to do something to finish what they was unable to start. And so that was kind of a lot of pressure on my shoulders. And what I realized is that though they did plant seeds and I'm so grateful, God has called me in my own uniqueness. And so it's those seeds planted, but also the training with FTE and through seminary and my justice experience and international development experience and theology experiences that allows me to be able to bring all those things together and do this work. So it was both personal and definitely the women because without the women and without the women trusting us to create a safe space you know, our work is in vain, and this is for them. 

Patrick: Hey, if you were inspired by Dr. Kit Evans Ford's story and Argrow's House, head on over and support their business at

I want to thank my colleagues Stephen Lewis and Kimberly Daniel for doing this interview and as always, our wonderful engineers and design managers, Elsie Barnhart, Heather Wallace and @siryalibeats for his wonderful music.

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