We were ecstatic when we raised enough money to secure a mortgage to purchase Reese’s House, our multi-faceted community center in Millville in honor of Maurice Lewis. After years of holding our Back to School Shoe DrivesHoliday Toy Drives, and other programs in other places, we found a home of our own. We knew that we found the perfect space that would allow us to serve our community and begin to help people create generational change for their families and themselves. We put in the time (and money!) to have property surveys completed, have the zoning for the building approved by the city and changed, and do some renovations that would allow us to receive all of our permits to operate.

We never thought that we would face an onslaught of legal challenges from a neighbor and our city in an attempt to bankrupt us and force us out of our home. Over the last few months, we have spent almost $15,000 in legal fees to defend against a zoning challenge from one neighbor, Rick Abbott, who doesn’t want a community center next to his vacant building. The city of Millville decided to hold a hearing for his appeal, which was filed 10 days late, which will cost us even more in legal fees. They don’t have to hold anything and could just flat-out deny the appeal, but they have decided to do this anyway. We know that Mr. Abbott does not want us there. We know that the city does not want us in our building and that they believe a community center should not be in center city.

With everything going on in our area, it is utterly ridiculous to think that anybody, especially city officials, would actively work against a community center that aims to serve our youth, young adults, and their families. We have quickly learned that this will not be a short fight. These opponents of progress and community will do anything and everything they can to stop us from operating and running our center. We have an incredible legal team that is working with us to offer affordable rates, but our legal fees are still quickly mounting. If our opponents have their way, we will exhaust all of our resources on these frivolous challenges and be forced to sell our building.

There is too much at stake in our area to sit idly by and let these people stand in the way of our goals to build and serve our community. We have received so much support from the public and the families we serve, but we now need more support. We know that we would not be where we are today without people like you, but we need that support to continue. We are humbly asking for small (or large!) donations specifically to help us in this legal battle. No amount is too small (or too large!) and every tax-deductible donation that we receive will be used to aid us in this fight for what is right! We thank all of our supporters in advance and are always available to answer any questions (email contact@ourfuturefirst.org)!


In peace, love, and solidarity,

The Our Future First Team


  • Legally purchased and zoned community center under attack.
  • Zoning challenged by Rick Abbott, owner of vacant building next door.
  • Appeal/challenge was filed 10 days after the deadline, thus not necessary to acknowledge or do anything with but deny the late appeal
  • City Commissioners scheduled a hearing to decide whether or not to accept the late appeal. If so, a hearing will be held to hear the appeal.
  • Legally obtained zoning could be revoked. That means no more Reese’s House.