What 3 Philly homelessness nonprofits have learned about building community partnerships - Generocity Philly

Method

May 31, 2017 12:35 pm

What 3 Philly homelessness nonprofits have learned about building community partnerships

Lessons from UliftU, Back on My Feet and One Step Away.

A UliftU program participant flexin'.

(Screenshot via Vimeo)

Community partnerships are vital for nonprofits with workforce development efforts.

Just ask Back on My Feet, UliftU and One Step Away, which each have different methods of helping their participants gain employment.

Here’s what Back on My Feet Philly ED Cathryn Sanderson, UliftU founder Wylie Belasik and One Step Away Program Manager Emily Taylor have learned about building community partnerships, from finding new participants to developing relationships with possible employment partners.

1. Your reputation precedes you.

Sanderson and Taylor both spoke about the important role “word of mouth” plays among current participants and in finding new participants.

At Back on My Feet, “the best promoters of the program are the other participants or other members that are going out there, that are setting their alarm clocks for 5 in the morning, coming back ­­­in to the shelter maybe for breakfast, and they’re looking alive and they’re looking happy and positive” after a BoMF run, Sanderson said.

From our Partners

“People talk a lot about how they receive services here or what their experience is like here and I think that that has a lot to do with how [potential program participants] interact with you.”

2. Ask what you can offer others.

This was Belasik’s biggest piece of learning in creating partnerships for UliftU, he said: “It definitely means that you need to find a way to develop strategic relationships and approach that from the standpoint of what do you bring to the table, rather than what do you need to run your program.”

For example, UliftU works with STOP, an outpatient behavioral health provider in North Philadelphia. The partnership is mutually beneficial, as UliftU’s participants are able to provide health and exercise training to a facility that might not otherwise get access to health education.

3. There’s no need to recreate the wheel.

“There are so many great organizations and nonprofits in Philadelphia,” Taylor said. Ask, “how can you partner with those other organizations to create mutually beneficial relationships?”

Flexibility would help avoid duplicated efforts, according to Belasik. For example, think: “This was the vision in my head, if I tweak this a little bit, I can work with an organization, or we can kind of share resources or share knowledge,” he said. “And by doing that, you can have a broader impact than you could have had on your own.”

4. Look for a good culture fit in employment partners.

For BoMF, Sanderson mentioned the Marriott as an employment partner with which BoMF participants have had a great deal of success. “They’ve had this culture and this family to go to, which is similar to Back on My Feet’s culture as well,” she said. “And they’ve also had an opportunity within employment there to have mobility in their positions.”

5. This work has the potential to alleviate isolation in homelessness.

“One Step Away gives [program participants] the opportunity to work within our program, work with our partners, work with the community as a whole because our vendors are on the street and are very public,” Taylor said, “and kind of help build those communities, build those partnerships that in turn help build your self-esteem and your independence.”

Want more richly researched and deeply sourced community reporting?  Become a Generocity member for $10 per month -30-
LEAVE A COMMENT

From our Partners

Nonprofit pros honed their entrepreneurial skills at the recent Tech in the Commons

Keeping homeowners safe in their homes and stabilizing neighborhoods

This Foundation CEO has worn many figurative hats. And one extraordinary literal one: a crown of onions

SPONSORED

Generocity Philly

Systems blocking people from self-sufficiency

Philadelphia, PA

United Way of Greater Philadelphia & Southern New Jersey

Social Venture Partners Associate

Apply Now
Center City Philadelphia

The Chamber of Commerce for Greater Philadelphia

Programs Manager, Creative & Innovative Businesses

Apply Now
Philadelphia, PA

Community Legal Services, Inc

Aging & Disabilities Unit Paralegal- Two (2) Job Openings

Apply Now

How Project HOME’s college access program provides a head start

‘Your average resident doesn’t understand what a nonprofit board does’: A Q&A with Julie Zeglen

They’re 49% of Kensington-Harrowgate, but their voices are mostly missing from the Safehouse debate

Philadelphia

Fairmount Ventures Inc

Research Assistant (Part time)

Apply Now
Philadelphia

Fairmount Ventures Inc

Project Manager – Consultant

Apply Now

Sign-up for daily news updates from Generocity