The Collaborative Community

 

“Society as a whole benefits enormously from the social ties forged by those
who choose connective strategies in pursuit of their particular goals.”

— Robert Putnam, Better Together

History

In the spring of 2001 Terry Benjamin, Executive Director of the Emergency Family Assistance Association, convened an informal group of Boulder County religious leaders and service agency executive directors to discuss the possible local implications of proposed federal policy related to the involvement of “faith and community-based organizations” in the delivery of various kind of human services.  Two years later, in 2003, the taskforce became an organization, Restoring the Soul: Faith and Community Partnerships, serving Boulder County in a number of ways, but particularly in facilitating and supporting social service collaborations. Two years later, in 2005, the FOCUS Offender Re-entry Mentoring Program was initiated to fill a crucial gap in the social services.

These programs came under the fiscal sponsorship of the Colorado Nonprofit Development Center in January 2010. As this significant move was made, with implications for the future growth of the organization, the question was posed: “Who are we exactly?”  We are The Collaborative Community, volunteers dedicated to working with our fellow citizens and neighbors to encourage and facilitate coming together to further the well-being of us all.

Collaborative Community Accomplishments – 2011
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The Collaborative Community

  • Secured second year funding from the State of Colorado Justice Assistance Grant
  • Acquired our first grant from the City of Boulder
  • Established three new collaborations: Project Revive, the Community Reentry Council (in process), and Foothills United Way/ Volunteer Connection (in process)
  • Hired first full staff in the organization’s history

Restoring the Soul Community Partnerships

  • Collaborated with the City of Lyons (at their request) on a first effort at a repeatable model. We helped them stage their first community-wide collaborative event: “Aging Well in Lyons”
  • Further refined and developed our social media
  • Changed our computer platform to handle our websites in-house, thus saving money
  • Presented 11 Forums, archived and broadcast: http://restoringthesoul.org/forums
  • Established the Restore Advisory Board
  • Reinvigorated our contact with nine congregations
  • Adjusted our name to Restoring the Soul Community Partnerships to reflect the expansion of our work to include civic organizations and universities

FOCUS Offender Re-entry Mentoring Program

  • Conducted 19 currently active matches
  • Saved taxpayers nearly $399,000 with the 19 non-recidivist clients during 2011
  • Featured as an innovative program in Denver Foundation Newsletter
  • Established a relationship with University of Colorado School of Law for presentations to recruit mentors
  • Provided a capstone project for students in the Criminal Justice Masters Degree program at UC Denver
  • Added members to the FOCUS Advisory Council
  • Expanded relationships with Naropa, now providing practicums for all three psychology tracks
  • Received requests from seven U.S states and South Africa for a repeatable model
  • Provided FOCUS program information to five international visitors interested in maximizing volunteer impact in the criminal justice systems in their countries