How three Birmingham-area teams Thrive Collectively 

Pam Bates, govt director of East Lake Initiative, Jacob Smith, Grants and Analysis Director for the Girls’s Fund (left) and Myron Thomas, web site director for Hope Impressed Ministries, focus on the companies supplied by Thrive Collectively Jefferson County in Birmingham, Ala. The collaborative of three household help companies is a challenge of The Girls’s Fund of Better Birmingham. (Picture by Mark Almond)
By Erica Wright
The Birmingham Instances  

Thrive Collectively Jefferson County does simply that in East Birmingham.

The mixture of three nonprofits—Hope Impressed Ministries, which gives workforce coaching; East Lake Initiative, which gives housing and well being and vitamin schooling companies; and Serving You, which gives emergency meals and utility companies—“all work collectively,” stated Myron Thomas, president of Thrive Collectively and web site director of Hope Impressed Ministries.

“We had been put collectively by The Girls’s Fund [of Greater Birmingham], and we got here collectively below one roof to supply one-stop-shop help for households,” he added. “Our aim is to disrupt the cycle of poverty and create a pathway to success for households.”

Thrive Collectively is a results of the Collaboration Institute, a strategy-based funding mannequin developed by The Women’s Fund

Starting to Thrive

Thrive Collectively was began in 2017, after every of the three associate organizations, then separate entities, attended The Girls’s Fund Collaboration Institute occasion, the place representatives of every group had the chance to sit down close to and discuss to at least one one other.

“We began taking a look at one another and saying, ‘You realize, possibly there’s one thing right here,’” stated Pam Bates, vice chairman of Thrive Collectively and govt director of the East Lake Initiative. “All of us had been referring individuals backwards and forwards, however we knew there needed to be a greater technique to do it.”

Bates stated her group, together with Hope Impressed Ministries and Serving You, began working collectively to finish the applying—and, quickly sufficient, it paid off. 

“We knew we had been comparatively small organizations by Birmingham requirements, however The Girls’s Fund took an opportunity and introduced us collectively,” stated Bates. “It has been completely monumental initially for our households however for our organizations, as nicely.”

Jacob Smith, grants analysis director with The Girls’s Fund, stated the Collaboration Institute assembled the nonprofits.

“If we actually wish to change issues, we have to rethink about how companies are delivered for households,” he stated.

The three mixed organizations benefitted from steering supplied by The Girls’s Fund.

“We’ve got unified consumption. We share provides, typically personnel. We definitely share house. We share gear,” stated Bates. “We’re grateful to have had 18 months of intense coaching as a result of with out that we might haven’t been as profitable as we’ve got been.”

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The way it Works

Up to now, guests would go the East Lake Initiative for housing or well being and vitamin companies, then they’d be referred Hope Impressed Ministries and Serving You for extra help. Now, all three organizations are situated in a single location and use the group’s Empower database, so every staff has entry to the identical details about each one that is available in for assist.

“We meet very often internally to debate the households and [whether] we have to tackle this want or one other want,” stated Thomas, “so we’re all approaching it from a gaggle standpoint versus simply [one individual] making an attempt to determine [someone’s] wants.”

If there are assets that can’t be discovered below Thrive Collectively’s roof, he added, “we exit and type relationships, whether or not it’s with Christ Well being Heart or [the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB)]. I feel that has helped, as nicely.” 


Since becoming a member of forces, Thrive Collectively Jefferson Rely has been in a position to enhance companies and the variety of volunteers.

“Every program has its personal set of volunteers, after which we’ve inherited volunteers from every program throughout the board,” stated Thomas. “[Bates’s] staff has about 40 individuals tutoring within the faculties each week, and so they’re all volunteers; there are also common volunteers over the weekend.”

The companions have been in a position to serve about 25 % extra households.

“We made a dedication to serve about 30 households per 12 months collectively, and we every are persevering with to serve the households we had been working with prior,” stated Bates.

“We made that dedication to serve 30 for 2019, and we’re already at 28, so we’re positively going to exceed that.”

These households are getting higher companies, too.

“We’re in a position to go a lot deeper [and] take a look at issues in a extra complete method,” Bates stated. “Earlier than, [East Lake Initiative] targeted solely on housing or well being and vitamin. Now, we’re even taking a look at workforce [concerns]: … ‘[We] go deeper, [asking questions like], ‘What sort of schooling or courses can you’re taking that might enhance your pay?”

Thrive Collectively additionally plans group occasions, such because the upcoming Trunk or Deal with that may at Barrett Elementary College on October 19 from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., and a Backyard Planting Day at the very least as soon as 1 / 4 to supply actions households can do collectively.  

For extra details about Thrive Collectively Jefferson County, go to

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