Our mission is rooted in the fundamental belief that PEOPLE are the strength, and what makes a diﬀerence in our communities, companies, and everyday lives. 4Ward With Purpose Inc. works to Engage, Empower, Motivate, Support, and Advocate for societies most valuable asset, in all that we do. This will be accomplished through strengthening communities and its members utilizing a Transformative approach to addressing conflict and removing barriers.
4Ward With Purpose Inc.'s commitment to Removing Barriers for people in our communities is further demonstrated by its People Strategy.
Our Company is committed to proactively Recruit, Train, Develop, and Employ a Full-Time, Part-Time, and Volunteer workforce to include:
We are committed to creating an Inclusive Workforce, supported by Talented People with Diverse Life Experiences who are committed to Change The World!!
HOUSING STABILITY & HOMELESS PREVENTION
TENANT/LANDLORD SUPPORT & SERVICES
AFFORDABLE HOUSING PROGRAMS
APPROPRIATE DISPUTE RESOLUTION (ADR)
LEARNING & DEVELOPMENT
NEIGHBOR DISPUTE MEDIATION
My name is Derek Pratt, founder and President of 4Ward With Purpose Inc. My direct experience as a youth with Poverty, Homelessness, Domestic Violence, and Racism fuels my passion for what we do as an organization. My experience is the experience of many of our families and youth throughout our country.
At the age of 15, after several relocation's throughout Ohio, West Virginia, and Virginia, and being shuttled between several Homeless Shelters with my mother and siblings, I dropped out of high school. Attending 5 different high schools that school year proved to be quite a challenge socially, academically, and emotionally.
At 16, being supported by a single mother on public assistance, like many youths in similar circumstances, I moved out on my own to lessen the financial burden on my mother, and to find my own way. The barriers that stood before me were insurmountable, however, with the grace of God, I was able to navigate through many of them. Having a biological father who spent most of his life incarcerated, I became motivated to “break the cycle.” Being an 18-year-old father, I pushed to do just that. Receiving my GED at 19, it was then that I realized that achieving a goal that seemed far beyond my reach as possible, I became empowered. The hard work of working 2 full-time jobs and making the time to study each night for my GED paid off. This became, and still is to this day, the most important and valuable accomplishment in my career, without that milestone, I would not have had the confidence to do more.
In my mid 20’s I enrolled in college, where I was blessed to accomplish milestones of achievement, starting with obtaining my Associates Degree from Cuyahoga Community College in 2004, my Bachelors of Science in Information Technology from David Myers University in 2007, and more recently my Executive Masters in Business Administration from Strayer University’s Jack Welch Management Institute, in 2015. In 2015, after 12 years of employment, and upward growth, I decided to leave a corporate position with a great company, headquartered in Cleveland, OH. I found myself listening to that “call to action” within our community.
I began exploring ways to build up people in our community, by extending a voice to the marginalized and often unheard. Through exploring Conflict Resolution, and local agencies that are focused on just that, I got involved with a Cleveland, OH nonprofit as a volunteer. I began shadowing one of their employees in local homeless shelters, advocating for a process called Mediation. The goal of the Mediation Program in the Homeless Shelters is to provide a platform for tenants and management to address concerns that could lead to tenants being evicted from the shelter. Mediation as a process aims to remove barriers in communication, by facilitating dialog between two people in conflict, and allowing each party to be heard. I quickly identified the avenue of travel I would commit the remainder of my career, empowering people to resolve their disputes through tools and processes of Dispute Resolution.
4Ward With Purpose Inc. operates under the principle that everyone has the right to have their voices heard, regardless of any factors that make them who they are, or circumstances they are facing. Our services aim to lift up those in need, often facing poverty, whether situational, or generational, by giving them a voice, and empowering them to resolve conflict in their lives constructively. All of our services fit within one or more of our 4Ward Pillars of Sustainable Growth.
1. Engagement 2. Empowerment 3. Motivation 4. Support
Two of the most basic, fundamental needs, according to Abraham Maslow, in his 5-tier model “Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs” is Physiological Needs (which includes shelter), and Safety Needs (which provides for safety from Physical Harm). When these are at risk, people are experiencing crisis. By Engaging our communities, listening, and seeking to understand the barriers that exist, we are better positioned to Empower, Motivate, and Support our communities and all of its members.
We need your help! Help us make the world a better place by joining in this mission with us! Whether through Volunteering, Board Involvement, Funding, Networking, or spreading the word, we need dedicated people at the table in order to develop lasting change in our communities, and the lives of others.