The Power of Partnerships

August 26, 2019

Katie Berkedal, Program DirectorBy Katie Berkedal, Program Director

Partnership is the best prescription for treating the many ills that plague communities. Big problems like substance abuse, homelessness, and racism need widespread, coordinated efforts to effect big change. Lucky for us, our community’s culture is one that embraces collaborative partnerships. And we’re better off for it.

La Crosse Community Foundation is a proud partner of three massive, exciting community collaborations: Alliance to HEAL, the Coulee Collaborative to End Homelessness, and Creating a Healthier Multicultural Community. Here’s what they aim to do:

Alliance to HEAL

Alliance to HEAL started last August and stands for “Halting the Effects of Addiction Locally.” The local health systems, La Crosse County Health & Human Services, local legislators, city leaders, and many more are working to identify and fill service gaps in the continuum of care for people with substance abuse disorders. HEAL is a system change group whose work is already making a big difference. Opioid prescriptions decreased 26 percent this year and the group is working to increase treatment options in town so people can get immediate help.

Coulee Collaborative to End Homelessness

Coulee Collaborative to End Homelessness plans to achieve “functional zero” in our area by 2023. Functional zero is reached when the number of individuals experiencing a housing crisis is equal to or fewer than the number of permanent housing units available to them. This collaborative began in 2016 and has already seen significant victories in housing veterans, families, and people who are chronically homeless. The agencies who serve people experiencing homelessness are working together in unprecedented ways to more efficiently serve those who need help the most.

Creating a Healthier Multicultural Community

Creating a Healthier Multicultural Community plans to build a more inclusive community through a series of facilitated dialogues on racism to prepare for the “White Privilege Symposium 2020.” Reggie Jackson and Dr. Fran Kaplan of Nurturing Diversity Partners in Milwaukee are helping to facilitate the community dialogues. If you haven’t already picked up a copy of “Waking up White” by Debby Irving, you should definitely read it.

Our biggest grants of 2019 are helping to fund these partnerships. We’ve invested hundreds of thousands of dollars because we believe in the potential of what our community can do together.  Hundreds of local citizens representing dozens of local businesses and organizations are involved in these groups.

A momentum for positive change is building in our area and we plan to continue fueling it with funding support. We cannot be satisfied with La Crosse being a wonderful place to live for most. At La Crosse Community Foundation we like to say we are “For good. Forever.” I think it’s time we added something:

For good. Forever. For all.