Our story

Stumbling on Empowerment.


Gate OneSeventeen began in 2008 as a colaboration between several faith based organziations who were doing economic development and orphan care in East Africa.  As we met together, it became clear that we could do more together than by working in our own silos.  Ron Schmidt, Dana Hicks, and Chris Finley were the founding directors of this partnership.  

We chose the metaphor of a gate to represent our mission. In the ancient times of the Hebrew scriptures, gates had a variety of functions. City gates in the Ancient Near East were economic and cultural centers. Gates were the heart of the city where those who were searching for food, clothes, shelter, protection, and justice went.

Ideally, ancient gates were also a place of empowerment where people found tools to survive, to make life a little more bearable, and find self-sustainability.

OneSeventeen is the type of gate that we want to be. OneSeventeen refers to Isaiah 1:17 from the Hebrew Scriptures in which the Ancient people are told to "Learn to do good. Seek justice. Help the oppressed. Defend the cause of orphans. Fight for the rights of widows." This is why we exist – to empower marginalized communities to become healthy and self-sustaining.


--Dana Hicks

President, Gate OneSeventeen