Poverty Reducing Initiatives Focus of New Collaborative Program
On Wednesday May 16 Step Up Silicon Valley, a branch of Catholic Charities of Santa Clara County focusing on poverty reduction, outreach and support, celebrated its 10-year anniversary along with the announcement of their new collaborative inter-agency technology.
With the help of seed funding from partner Cisco Systems, the tech-centric system allows nonprofit agencies to track clients across the spectrum of various agencies within Santa Clara County which, according to the organization, should help nonprofits focus on their clients gaining economic self-sufficiency.
The importance of the first-of-its-kind system was a highlight of the event hosted at Santa Clara State University. Attendees included Almaz Negash, the Managing Director of Step Up Silicon Valley, and Gregory R. Kepferle, the CEO of Catholic Charities of Santa Clara County.
The goal of this new system is to aid community organizations to track progress and services throughout the region in organizations which help in the realms of financial, education, housing and health care assistance, amongst others.
“Creating systems change is hard work, but it is possible,” said Negash. “Challenging poverty itself can seem like jousting at windmills. But even a small team of passionate, smart, committed partners and unlikely allies can make an incredible difference in changing social policy and in finding new approaches to tackling poverty.”
Negash highlighted the disparity in an ever so increasing wage gap in the Bay Area, one that she has seen with her own two eyes.
While asking the audience during her speech how much a family of four needs to survive in the Silicon Valley she remarked, “106 thousand. If you look at the rent, it’s just impossible. The irony is that I was visiting [Santa Clara University] last Friday and there were these trailers right in front of the university. This is actually where people sleep, in one of the most endowed universities in the valley.”
Throughout the years of Step Up Silicon Valley’s existence, the organization has collaborated with various other organizations to pinpoint ways to decrease poverty and help clients through various methodology.
These projects have included Pay for Success, Franklin McKinley Children’s Initiative, Franklin McKinley Women’s Initiative, San Jose Business Tax Reform, College Savings Circle, and 1,000 Out of Poverty.
With the new inter-agency system, Step Up Silicon Valley and its partners hope the following will occur:
- Provide a collaborative system permitting nonprofit agencies to work together with shared clients.
- Increase timeliness of, access to, and accuracy of information collected by participating agencies.
- Minimize duplicate data entry of client information by case managers. This function will be provided by the porting of data from individual agency systems to the central Data Integration System, while allowing each agency to use their own separate databases.
- Maintain a Registry of Services for participating agencies. Through collected information, a Registry of Services will be a current and accurate listing of all resources and services provided by participating agencies.
- Expand the collaborative system to other local communities. With the scalable technology, additional agencies can join the collaborative system, increasing the number of services provided, benefitting the clients and each agency.
Negash added, “We know that this new approach to fighting poverty will make an impact for our community members who can barely make ends meet.”