The Mansour Center exists as a multi-tenant nonprofit center because 10+ years ago, some wise Center for Family Resources (CFR) board members embraced the concept of collaboration. They envisioned the advantages of co-locating many agencies, each providing services to low income families, thereby making each of them more accessible to those who need their help.
The advantages of co-location are many. Each social services agency serves individually defined populations, and various funding streams dictate their ability to serve specific individuals and populations. So from a purely logistical perspective, it’s a whole lot more efficient for a family with three small children who are unable to be served by one agency, for whatever reason, to walk down the hall to seek assistance from another agency rather than gather the resources to acquire bus passes for the entire family, walk to the bus stop, and travel across town to seek assistance, on the hope and prayer that the other agency is open and fully staffed on that particular day.
So from a service perspective, co-location allows those in need to more readily access the potential services available to them. From a service provider’s perspective, and just as importantly from a donor or funder’s perspective, it makes even more sense. Co-location allows for sharing of resources. These may be operational and result in a substantial reduction in operating expenses (shared phone service plans, shredding services, custodial and maintenance support).
Co-location also affords better opportunities for programmatic collaboration. A perfect example within the Mansour Center is reflected in the partnership between Mansour Center resident agency Sheltering Arms Early Childhood Center and CFR. Lack of adequate education, and in particular a GED or diploma, is a huge barrier for folks trying to get ahead and support their families. But how can folks attend GED classes or tutoring if they have young children to care for? Sheltering Arms provides childcare in the evenings for CFR’s GED program, eliminating for many that barrier to advancement.
More examples of collaboration within the Mansour Center to come…