Faith Always Wins was founded by Mindy Corporon, with support from her husband, Len Losen, and her mother, Melinda Corporon. Mindy’s father, William Corporon, and son, Reat Underwood, were murdered in the parking lot of the Jewish Community Campus by a white supremacist who mistakenly assumed they were Jewish; both William and Reat were Christian. The shooting occurred at approximately 1:05pm and Mindy arrived at the scene around 1:08pm. Almost immediately, Mindy knew that God was communicating to her that her father and son were in heaven.[1]

Mindy’s initial response to the tragedy was to begin learning more about Judaism. She questioned why this happened and whether this was a sign that she was being called to the Jewish faith. She met with Rabbis and Jewish lay people and read extensively about the Jewish tradition. Following the murder of a young boy outside of a mosque in Kansas City, Mindy was invited by Mahnaz Shabbir to attend an event in response to the tragedy. At the time, Corporon had never stepped foot inside a mosque, and had very little knowledge about Islam. Despite this, and Islamic traditions which typically do not allow women to lead prayer inside of the mosque, she was invited to speak. Feeling like she had little experience to relate to the Muslim community, Mindy was hesitant. She asked Shabbir, “Do you believe in heaven?” When Shabbir replied, “yes,” Corporon immediately knew what she was meant to say.[2]

 In response to this tragedy, and her loss, Corporon had already began launching the Faith Always Wins Foundation. Initially, Faith Always Wins was coined “Love Always Wins.” Board member, Irv Robinson, suggested they incorporate the word “faith,” as it seemed to fit with Mindy’s vision. Faith Always Wins began as an effort to spread the Christian message, rooted in Corporon’s faith in God, belief in an afterlife, and her trust that God was speaking to her, and acting through her. She knew she needed to use the foundation as a platform for good. The Foundation originally focused on medical initiatives and performing arts, as her family was murdered during a performing arts event. Faith Always Wins still offers small grants in both these areas, but the focus has broadened immensely.[3]

In July of 2014, they launched preparation for a community-wide event known as SevenDays: Make a Ripple, Change the World. Mindy’s mother, Melinda Corporon, wanted the event to be centered around seven days of kindness, not faith. The hope was, through these seven days, participants would change themselves and the world around them.[4] SevenDays occurs each year on the anniversary of the tragedy and ends with a peace walk from the Jewish Community Campus to Church of the Resurrection. Each day represents a different act of kindness, and features a correlating event, including interfaith dialogue, art and song writing competitions. An estimated 1,000 people participated in the 3.2-mile peace walk in 2015.[5] The events, run by Mindy the first four years, were taken over by Jill Andersen in 2018.[6]

 But SevenDays is only one focus, or “pillar,” of the Faith Always Wins foundation. The organization’s current mission is “to engage in dialogue for the betterment of our world through kindness, faith, and healing.” Each one of these actions, “kindness,” “faith,” and “healing,” is a pillar of the Faith Always Wins Foundation. Each pillar acts independently, with its own director, and meets as a group once a month. Corporon still oversees all pillars. SevenDays stems from the act of “kindness,” although it deeply intersects with interfaith action and dialogue. The “faith” pillar emerged from a collaboration with Jon Willis, Founder and President of the Kansas City Interfaith Youth Alliance. What began as only a few events, transformed into a partnership through commonality in interfaith dialogue. As the merge with KCIYA began to grow, they hired Clare Stern in 2017 to oversee the interfaith youth programs. These programs are designed to teach youth to “lead, serve, and grow” and KCIYA/FAW fosters the opportunity to engage with other youth groups and people of different faith traditions.[7]

In November of 2018, the third pillar, “healing,” was launched. This project, now lead by Lisa Cooper, operates under the LLC “Workplace Healing.” Workplace Healing has developed workshops designed to help employers effectively respond to an employee affected by trauma, reintegrate them into the workplace, and prevent the trauma from affecting the business. They use a model called “H.O.P.E.”, which stands for “heart-based healing,” “opportunities for healing,” “personalized purpose,” and “employer-employee engagement.” Workplace Healing, already highly in demand by corporations, offers much needed revenue to fund the ongoing non-profit efforts of the Faith Always Wins Foundation. Concurrently, it hopes to change the culture of corporate America for future generations, offering the opportunity for grievance when dealing with trauma, without the risk of losing their employment.[8]

There is no question that the Faith Always Wins Foundation will continue to grow, and likely become a leading force in the interfaith world. Corporon hopes to one day begin hosting large conventions and have enough staff for each pillar to operate autonomously. Mindy states that she is “at peace” with whatever unfolds, as God is the driving force behind her work.[9]


References

[1] Corporon, Mindy, interview by Geneva Blackmer. 2019. Faith Always Wins Foundation. (February 15).

[2] Ibid.

[3] Ibid.

[4] Ibid.

[5] The Kansas City Jewish Chronicle. 2015. “Faith Always Wins: Seven days of events commemorating tragedy aim to outshine senseless acts of hate.” The Kansas City Jewish Chronicle.

[6] Corporon, Mindy, interview by Geneva Blackmer. 2019. Faith Always Wins Foundation. (February 15).

[7] Ibid.

[8] Ibid.

[9] Ibid.