Project Connect is a very simple idea: Bring together in one place for one day every organization that provides a service or program which benefits the most vulnerable citizens in a given area and let them do what they do best. For an agency, it is a chance to serve more customers in one day than it takes to serve the same number in a month. For the customers, it is a chance to access more services in one day than it takes to get the same services in a month.
So how does a 1Matters Project Connect differ from a Project Homeless Connect? The focus is completely on serving the customer first. Each individual or family unit is connected with a volunteer guide who hears their story, helps them identify the stations they should visit, and advocates for them for the time they are at the event. This way, every person is helped 1 at a time, and both customers and volunteers walk away empowered. The community has truly come together. This is what we’ve been doing for over 20 years.
In layman’s terms, leverage is taking a dollar to acquire more than a dollar’s worth of assets, equity, risk, or reward. The one thing 1Matters and our partners have become really good at is what we have coined as “Community Collaboration Leverage.” With dignity first, by bringing communities together with a singular focus on the customer, you can leverage the assets of a community in a ratio far greater than the individual assets themselves. This is stone soup.
For example, we can document the Community Collaboration Leverage (CCL) for Project Connect Tent City. The final numbers are not complete yet, but it looks like $140,000 in medical, dental and other services were provided at a cost of about $6800. This means for every dollar spent, Project Connect produced $20 in services, which is a CCL ratio of 20 – 1. Then there are the “derivatives” that can’t be measured, such as a life saved because of a prostate screening, or a teen who’s “forced” to volunteer and falls in love with the experience. Every 1 matters.