a brief history of cgm

CGM is located in washington park in Montgomery, Alabama.

Founder Bryan Kelly and his wife, Delta, with their family and students from the neighborhood.

Common Ground Montgomery was started in 2006. Bryan Kelly moved to Montgomery in June, and Bryan started volunteer coaching for Carver High School. By the fall of that year there were Wednesday night Bible studies with the football team.

Kevin King joined CGM in January 2007. Near the end of that year, both the Kelly and the King families had moved into houses on Westcott Street to live in the community they would serve. 

Before building renovations at 1516 Mobile Road.

After building renovations at 1516 Mobile Road.

2007 saw Bryan helping coach the baseball team at Carver High School, as well as CGM hosting the More Than Conquerors Westside Baseball Camp. The year finished out with the first CGM Christmas Store for the community.

The summer of 2008 saw the first boys and girls camps, as well as the start of the after school program at the McIntyre and Carver Community Center with approximately 40 students.

In the spring of 2009, the building at 1516 Mobile Road was purchased and renovations began. Full-time staff were hired to operate the youth programs. The separate boys and girls camps were combined to form the summer camp program, which saw 80 children from the community attend. Our first college-aged interns were hired to help run the 8-week summer camp. (This internship would later become the summer resident mission.)

By September, CGM moved into their newly renovated building, and the after school program saw attendance jump from 40 to approximately 100 students.

2009 also saw the spin-off of House to House, the adult mentoring and housing program, to its own 501(c)(3) non-profit organization. As more semesters in the after school program and more summer camps passed, CGM finally had a gym completed in 2012. The mentoring program was formalized in September 2014, under Kevin King.

A counseling partnership was set up in 2015, allowing for community members, staff, and others to meet with a certified counselor at CGM. CGM also helped start Valiant Cross Academy - an all-boys Christian school - providing classroom space and van rides for the beginning of their inaugural year before they finally moved to their location in downtown Montgomery.

In August of 2016, the CGM Pre-K was opened with part-time hours, and by November it was open full-time.

In the summer of 2017, Bryan Kelly stepped down as executive director for a year to focus on fundraising and vision casting, and was succeeded by Justin Hampton. 2017 also saw former CGM intern Lee Mayhall create Common Ground Shoals, the first Common Ground affiliate program.

Bryan Kelly returned to the executive director role in September 2018. October 2018 saw the spin-off of The Mercy House to its own 501(c)(3) non-profit, a primarily emergency food bank and clothes closet that also had facilities for homeless persons to bathe as well as wash clothes and search for employment.

In June 2019, Kevin King left to work full-time at his own non-profit, The King’s Canvas, a “creative placemaking” space providing for under-developed and underexposed artists in West Montgomery.