As the end of 2015 came closer and we prepared for 2016, I was charged with the task of announcing that MARTiAL YOU ended its non-profit efforts. After working to promote martial arts for close to 4 ½ years through several collaborations, countless volunteer hours, multiple community events and two wonderfully successful camps, the decision was made to dissolve the organization due to a lack of funding.
I would like to thank everyone who has both supported MARTiAL YOU’s mission, and has played a crucial role in helping to keep quality martial arts programs accessible. Though the organization has been dissolved the name and youtube channel will live on as a means to provide tutorials and entertaining content related to martial arts.
LACK OF FUNDING
MARTiAL YOU was founded with a proactive role in mind, to provide opportunity to those who live without the means of affording access to such an "Extra" activity such as martial arts classes which could potentially benefit youth and adults in countless ways. Since inception our organization has received a total of $3,500 in grant funding from two separate entities. $2,500 from the Maine Interact Leaders Club on April 5th 2013 which was part of a process to update training aides, repaint walls and replace foam flooring for the martial arts programs hosted by the Bangor YMCA, and $1,000 in the form of two $500 grants from the Kohl’s Cares Foundation for specific community events.
Over the years we have applied to multiple foundations such as: The Ford Foundation, The Harold Alfond Foundation, The Sam L. Cohen Foundation, The Walmart Foundation, The RKG Foundation, The ING Foundation, The Steven & Tabitha King Foundation, The Francis Hollis Brain Foundation, The Libra Foundation, and The Best Buy Foundation, each responding with a polite letter of denial.
Through the grant application process we were unable to make a good enough case to convince foundation members that a proactive effort is worthy of investment. It definitely seems as though foundations are more likely to support reactive causes which help "at risk youth" after they have broken the law, become addicted to drugs, or have attempted suicide. When it comes to proactive causes that offer opportunities which could prevent kids from ever winding up in those situations in the first place, the support does not seem to exist. This was indeed our biggest challenge to acquiring funding.
LACK OF DEMAND
Demand for traditional martial arts has declined over the years as Mixed Martial Arts popularity has increased. This decline in demand has caused me to reflect upon the value of MARTiAL YOU’s mission and whether or not it has meaning to enough people to keep it going. After reflecting upon and reviewing the financial support recieved over the time in which our non-profit has been in operation I found the answer to this question to be a resounding no. So, with this in mind and no projected way to obtain funding to further its mission we have filed a letter of dissolution dated December 11th 2015, with the state of Maine, to dissolve the organization.
For the record I would just like to state that if I personally had the financial ability to keep MARTiAL YOU operating and growing I would have done it. However, since my income falls into the poverty bracket there was no way for me to maintain the operations.
BREWER TAEKWONDO PROGRAM
At the end of November 2015 our Brewer Taekwondo Program was paused for a break, and because we dissolved the organization soon after this program was also ended. This pilot program ran from March 2015 through November 2015 with a small core group of wonderful students. I would like to personally thank all those who participated in and supported the program. Currently there is no local Olympic Style Taekwondo program that I can personally recommended as a replacement, but if one is found it will be posted here.
A special thanks to Marcus Davis, Eduardo Benjamin and everyone at Team Irish MMA for welcoming MARTiAL YOU, and allowing us to run a pilot program for traditional martial arts within their facility. You guys are awesome!
I am also personally retiring from the instructor role at this point after 13 years of volunteering to share my knowledge of Taekwondo with others. It’s been an honor and privelage to teach others for so long and this is definitely a bitter sweet end to a passionate trek in martial arts. I truly wanted to change the world with the opportunities provided to me but will now take some time to concentrate on my own personal growth.
Thank You Everyone!
Shawn L. Hill