Improving access to and the effectiveness of community services through collaboration, coordination, and integration.
Community Resource Connections, Inc. (CRC) originally called “Bemidji Area Council of Nonprofits (BACN)”, began as an informal networking group of nonprofit agencies in the early 1980’s. The formation was, in large part, a response to a trend in the competitive bidding process for community services. Competing for short-term service contracts began to swallow up the limited resources of the area nonprofits, pitting them against one another, and ultimately eliminating any agency from building up experience as a means of improving service delivery. BACN worked to bring nonprofits together to identify who could most efficiently and effectively take on growing community needs; replacing competition with collaboration. This level of networking enabled nonprofits to support one another, lessen service gaps, and develop experienced professionals.
A name change in 2004 did not alter the mission of BACN/Community Resource Connections. Rather, it emphasized the organization’s response to the need for collaboration amongst all community services. CRC’s focus expanded to include networking and support amongst private, nonprofit and government organizations. Understanding through experience that improved communication amongst agencies clearly benefits the consumers receiving services from those agencies.
CRC values the autonomous manner in which agencies operate. While CRC encourages and enables collaboration through membership, networking events, centralized information/referral, and joint projects; CRC recognizes the importance of each agency staying true to their mission.
Agency Support Services
Community Resource Connections often works behind the scenes, serving the community in ways that are similar to a Chamber of Commerce. Some CRC activities focus directly on helping nonprofits reach their intended clients. In that capacity, CRC provides:
- Awareness of nonprofits and the impact of their services
- A nonprofit voice from Northwest Minnesota
- Networking opportunities & training events targeting the needs of nonprofits
- A centralized process for disseminating resources/donations where they are most needed
- Fiscal agent services for new nonprofit programs
- Assistance with program development and evaluation
- Facilitation of the local Child Abuse Prevention Council
Information or Referral: Service Access
At four sites in Beltrami County, the Blackduck Resource Center, Northern Dental Access Center, CRC Headquarters and the Al Zutz broker enrollment center, CRC provides Service Access Specialists. These staff members make themselves available to the public, as well as area professionals, for the purpose of providing information about services available in the area and helping the public navigate the systems of services that prove confusing. Professional staff members are trained to assist the public on a wide spectrum of service options including but not limited to: Social Security Disability, Medicare, Housing services, Mental health services, Financial Assistance, and more. This component of CRC’s services is called “Service Access”.