The formation of the Strategies To Elevate People (S.T.E.P.) Foundation began in the spring of 1986. The stated purpose of the organization was to proclaim the gospel of Jesus Christ to the people in at-risk communities by mobilizing the Christian churches of Montgomery, Alabama, to work with community leaders and with agencies which help the at-risk communities so that people are elevated to a better standard of life to the glory of God. Patterned after the operation of the parent group in Dallas, Texas, the purposes for which this corporation organized are exclusively religious, charitable, literary, and educational. This strategy deals with the whole person, seeking to elevate people spiritually and emotionally as well as physically.
Mr. William Brewbaker, Jr. provided the "spark" to ignite the formation of S.T.E.P. in Montgomery, Alabama. After Mr. Brewbaker presented the model to several church and community leaders at the Sahara Restaurant, an invitation was extended for the first formation meeting. Several Montgomery churches responded to the invitation and constituted the original core of the organization; they were Dexter Avenue-King Memorial Baptist, First United Methodist Church, Frazer Memorial United Methodist, Memorial Presbyterian, First Baptist, Trinity Presbyterian, Central Baptist, and St. John's Episcopal. Judge Joseph Phelps and other proponents of S.T.E.P. helped to promote and solidify the growth of the organization in its early stages.
The arena of effort was primarily centered in public housing neighborhoods, and the organization's initial work was concentrated in Riverside Park housing community. However, by 1990 the scope had expanded to include all housing communities throughout the city.
On November 19, 1987, Lee Baugh (pictured left) came on board as part-time executive director but it wasn't long before he was full time. Until his retirement December 31, 2009 he successfully led S.T.E.P. to grow in its services to the community. Lee was succeeded by long-time S.T.E.P staff member, Sedrick Fluker, as Executive Director.
Some of the activities that have highlighted the history of S.T.E.P. include Think Big Rallies, Abstinence Education, a Police Appreciation Banquet, Drug Free Rallies and follow-up work in the neighborhoods, S.T.E.P. Week at Camp Chandler, MOMS Programs in which single mothers are given life-sustaining skills, a Midnight Basketball League, the awarding of Operation Pride, Fatherhood Initiative, and the Dexter Hobbs Memorial college scholarships to program participants, Vacation Bible Schools, and tutoring programs in the churches, schools, and communities.
For over 27 years S.T.E.P. has sponsored major events such as the SUPER S.T.E.P. Saturday at Riverside and rallies which have brought such nationally-known figures as Dr. Ben Carson and Dr. Tony Evans to town to address the children. However the strength of the program has been the day-by-day work of staff, volunteers, tutors in the churches and schools, community mentors, and conflict resolution coaches in public schools.