May 7, 2019
Alliance member DePaul Industries, based in Portland, Oregon, helps about 2,400 job seekers access competitive employment each year, referring candidates to local social service organizations for non-job-related assistance such as housing, healthcare, education and reentry services. In January 2018, to better understand the nature of these services and make warmer candidate referrals, DePaul created the Community Services Network, a coalition of area nonprofits and government agencies that has since grown to 25 organizations.
Members meet monthly to learn about each other’s services and what’s happening more broadly in their field of expertise, in mental health or addiction recovery, for example. The meetings also provide a chance to share events and job openings, and discuss opportunities for collaboration.
To boost community awareness, the Network has organized a series of Social Service Fairs that rotate among member sites. DePaul hosted the first fair last September, attracting 19 nonprofits and over 150 attendees. The second, hosted at Salvation Army, drew 24 nonprofits and over 300 attendees. The third, scheduled this Friday, May 10 at the Department of Human Services will feature 29 nonprofits, as well as dental, chiropractic and acupuncture services.
Annie Lindekugel, DePaul’s Operations and Outreach Manager, provides in-kind staff support to coordinate the network’s activities and manage its website. Local companies and other donors have joined with DePaul to contribute food, new outerwear, electronic tablets (for intake), and raffle prizes for the Social Service Fairs.
DePaul and its network partners continue to make meaningful connections, and Annie notes that the education piece has been huge. Going forward, they hope to attract additional member agencies and continue building shared value through ongoing learning and collaboration while making services more readily available to individuals in need.