The PACEs Connection Cooperative of Communities (Coop) is a program of PACEs Connection that provides special tools and services for PACEs initiatives in neighborhoods, towns, cities, counties, regions, states and countries. The Coop is an addition to PACEsConnection.com. It’s for PACEs initiatives that have progressed to the point where they’re ready for more advanced tools and services.
The Coop is affiliate-driven, which means that PACEs initiatives steer the course of the cooperative. Affiliates pay $5,000 a year to participate, an amount that is low enough so that the cost can be shared among organizations and individuals; organizations can take turns paying; initiatives can even crowd-source the funding; and it may not even require a line-item in a budget. They receive access to tools and services that cost them a fraction of what it would cost for them to develop those tools and services themselves.
An affiliate’s benefits include:
- data-gathering tools and guidelines, including a Community Resilience Tracker that measures the progress of organizations as they become healing-center or trauma-informed, and outcomes of implementing policies and practices in different sectors, such as education and juvenile justice, based on PACEs science;
- access to virtual think-tanks and in-depth training, on topics such as healing-centered education, historical trauma and network leadership;
- participation in cooperative committees and advisory committees;
- and fiscal pass-through for qualifying funds/activities.
Who is eligible to become an affiliate in the cooperative? PACEs initiatives with:
- demonstrated six-month history as an PACEs initiative (you don’t need to have had a community on PACEsConnection);
- cross-sector representation of at least four sectors (e.g., education, law enforcement, healthcare, faith-based);
- a committee responsible for interaction with PACEs Connection, to handle the affiliate agreement, payment, fiscal pass-through, etc.;
- an MOU or other similar agreement with participating organizations and individual members of their PACEs initiative;
- at least one community manager, paid or volunteer.
Affiliates of the cooperative will guide the development of the cooperative; that’s another reason we’re starting it. Most foundations and agencies have a limited funding horizon, including the good people who support PACEs Connection. That horizon is usually two or three years, occasionally five or 10, but rarely longer. The question from funders that most nonprofits have to answer is: At the end of this grant, how will you sustain your work?
By growing the cooperative, we hope and plan for PACEs Connection itself to become self-sustaining. That, in turn, will enable us to start funding new PACEs initiatives with the small amounts of money they need to get started. Those small amounts of funding are usually hard to come by while an initiative is getting organized; the cooperative will be in a prime position to identify and support nascent PACEs initiatives and give them the boost they need for a healthy launch, faster than most funders can. We also want to create a process and perhaps a fund that will support—and encourage local and regional funders to support—pivotal points in the growth of PACEs initiatives as their work becomes ever more integrated into all organizations in their communities. Both of these approaches will continue to accelerate the PACEs movement. We need to accelerate it. We’re facing some extremely challenging times, especially as climate crises increase. It would make a lot of sense to reduce our current problems so that we have adequate resources to address the new ones.
Because the cooperative will be affiliate-driven, PACEs Connection will be more closely guided by people who are working day-to-day in the movement, who have the experience to respond quickly to changes that occur in the movement, and the foresight to understand how circumstances outside the movement may affect it.
Even if PACEs Connection is fortunate enough to become self-sustaining, we still want to work with national and regional funders on a long-term basis on research and development. R&D projects include developing ever more complex data tools to measure progress; formulas to calculate economic savings in other sectors when one sector sees progress after integrating practices based on PACEs science, to encourage support of continued investment in change; and research to identify tipping points in sectors and communities, to accelerate the process of change.
There are 34,000 cities and counties across the U.S.; each one will need to integrate practices based on PACEs science if they want to solve their most intractable problems.