Founder of Mendenhall Ministries
John Perkins and his family have been ministering among the poor for more than 50 years. In 1960, Perkins, his wife, Vera Mae, and their children left a successful life in California and moved back to Mendenhall, Mississippi, to begin ministry.
Within 12 years, they had helped start a day care center, a youth program, a church, an adult education program, a cooperative farm, a thrift store, a housing-repair ministry, and a health center. Today, Mendenhall Ministries thrives under the leadership of Scottye Holloway, ThD, its seventh president.
Founder of Voice of Calvary Ministries
In 1972, the Perkins family moved to Jackson, Mississippi, where they founded Voice of Calvary Ministries — another Christian community development ministry. Voice of Calvary Ministries started a church, a health center, a leadership development program, a thrift store, low-income housing development, and a training center. From this ministry, other development projects started in the neighboring towns of Canton, New Hebron, and Edwards. Philip K. Reed, the previous pastor of Voice of Calvary Fellowship, has assumed the leadership of this ministry.
Founder of Harambee Christian Family Center
In 1982, the Perkins family founded Harambee Christian Family Center in Northwest Pasadena, California — in a neighborhood with one of the highest daytime crime rates in California. After more than 20 years, Harambee is running numerous programs including after-school tutoring, Good News Bible Clubs, an award-winning technology center, summer day camp, youth internship programs, and a college scholarship program. Derek Perkins, son of John and Vera Mae, now serves as executive director of this organization.
Co-founder and Chairman of the Christian Community Development Association
In 1989, John Perkins called together a group of Christian leaders from across America. The leaders were bonded by one significant commitment — expressing the love of Christ in America’s poor communities, not at arm’s length, but at the grassroots level.
An association was formed — the Christian Community Development Association (CCDA). It held its first conference in Chicago in 1989. CCDA has grown from 37 founding members to 6,800 individuals and 600 churches, ministries, institutions, and businesses in more than 100 cities and towns across the country.
Publisher of Urban Family magazine
In 1992, John Perkins began publishing Urban Family magazine in response to the breakdown of the urban family, the breakdown of the community, and the increasing violence within the inner city. Urban Family’s mission was to be a voice of hope and progress, offering solutions that emphasize responsibility, affirm dignity, build moral character, and encourage reconciliation.
The circulation quickly rose from 13,000 to 35,000 nationally, and was expected to increase to 100,000 within three years. This magazine name was changed to a more appropriate reconciliation title, the Reconcilers Fellowship. Unfortunately, after the untimely death of the Perkins’ eldest son Spencer Perkins in January 1998 (who also served as editor-in-chief of this magazine), its publication was discontinued in the fall of 1998.
Founder of Harambee Preparatory School
In the fall of 1995, John Perkins founded the Harambee Preparatory School (HPS), a fully endowed elementary school providing quality education to prepare neighborhood children for college. HPS desires to see the children of poverty-level homes receive quality academic training in a secure and loving environment.