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Empowering Change: Give an Hour’s Impactful Journey as a Stand Together Impact Catalyst Partner, Year One

By February 12, 2024Blog

In 2023 Give an Hour proudly joined the ranks of the Stand Together Foundation’s Catalyst Impact Grant Program, a select group of transformative nonprofits reshaping lives and creating lasting change. As one of the inaugural 25 recipients, and the sole mental health organization, we stand at the forefront of innovation and impact…and we had an amazing first year that we want to tell you about. 

If you haven’t heard about the Stand Together Foundation, here’s the basics. Stand Together collaborates with the nation’s highest-impact nonprofits, including Give an Hour, committed to principled empowerment. Rather than imposing top-down solutions, with the guidance of Stand Together, these organizations foster bottom-up empowerment, enabling individuals to transform themselves and their communities. With nearly 300 partner nonprofits across all 50 states, the foundation champions a visionary approach to philanthropy. 

As a Stand Together Impact Partner, Give an Hour exemplifies transformative change, emphasizing empowerment, customization, and a commitment to making a difference at every level in our area of expertise of providing mental health services to those who have experienced manmade trauma. 

We are proud to share the significant strides we’ve made as a Stand Together Impact Catalyst Partner. With our customers at the core of our mission, we’ve embarked on a transformative journey aimed at elevating our impact and empowering both our team and the broader community. 

Customer-Centric Impact Vision: A Continuous Cycle of Listening and Adapting 

You may have been wondering why you are getting surveys from Give an Hour and many of you have asked: what does it have to do with me? In our commitment to putting customers first, we’ve implemented a measurement approach in collaboration with Stand Together Foundation. At Give an Hour, we provide services for many people, to include Mental Health Professionals who volunteer with us, clients who receive support from the Mental Health Professionals, customers in our peer support groups, corporations and other organizations that we support with mental health training, funders, partners, and others. These national and monthly surveys are distributed to allow us to glean valuable insights directly from you- our fellow mental health warriors. Caring for mental health goes beyond diagnoses; it’s about understanding each individual’s unique journey with empathy and compassion.  Ashley Keaton, Program Manager, shares that “at Give an Hour, we don’t just see symptoms or labels – we see people. Our commitment to a trauma-informed lens means meeting clients where they are, tailoring support to their specific needs. In our customer-centric approach, your feedback guides us, ensuring our services evolve to best serve you. At Give an Hour, we strive to create a culture where mental health support is personalized, responsive, and truly transformative.” 

So for those of you who have taken the time to fill out our surveys, thank you!  Your feedback has been instrumental, prompting us to refine our surveys, our trainings and materials, and even bringing on board a dedicated Measurement and Data Program Manager. This strategic addition ensures that your voices remain first and foremost when it comes to the services that we provide. We are excited to quantify the tangible difference we are making as this year unfolds. 

Empowered Management Culture: Principles, Perspectives, and Values 

Empowering our employees is key to delivering exceptional service. Aligned with the Catalyst Impact Partners ethos, we’ve embraced Principle Based Management (PBM). Part of PBM is ensuring that we are all operating with the same understanding and are clear about our organizational goals and values.  Through a collaborative effort, our team and Board defined our North Star.

Valuing diverse perspectives, Give an Hour staff operate under shared Values that serve as guiding principles, fostering an environment where innovation and passion can thrive. By empowering our team to communicate as well as operate with these values in mind, we strengthen our ability to make a meaningful impact on the individuals and communities we serve. We also worked to define our organizational Points of View and Capabilities. Devoting time to pinpointing our values, capabilities, and perspectives ensures alignment and success, as we collectively strive towards shared objectives. This process also safeguards against straying beyond our areas of expertise, thereby delivering our customers the highest quality work possible.

We have found that identifying our core values marked just the beginning of our journey; the real test lies in translating them into daily actions. Operating authentically within a value-based framework isn’t the norm in American business–let’s be honest. But at Give an Hour, it’s our commitment. While we’re all deeply passionate about our mission and dedicated to delivering top-notch service and products, we’re also human. This entails fostering open communication within our team, maintaining curiosity amidst differing opinions, embracing feedback with humility, and accepting imperfection as we strive for excellence with a customer-centric approach. It’s a challenge that demands continuous effort to ensure alignment and unity among us. 

“Living authentically within these values is, undoubtedly, challenging. It requires a deliberate effort to step outside our comfort zones, resisting the temptation to revert to familiar but unproductive behaviors. In my journey, I’ve found that approaching my work and relationships with genuine curiosity is key. This mindset not only fosters my creative thinking but also encourages me to bring forward ideas, however unconventional they may seem. Such openness fosters a culture of collaboration where those close to the work are empowered with the autonomy to influence our projects significantly. I am convinced that this method enriches our work, making it more authentic, innovative, and entrepreneurial,” states Rebekah Wilbur, Design Manager.

Building a Movement Towards Empowerment: Advocacy Beyond Boundaries 

As Catalyst Impact Partners, we extend our commitment beyond Give an Hour, advocating for openness, dignity, mutual benefit, and empowerment within the philanthropic and social sectors. We believe in the transformative power of collaboration, encouraging the exchange of insights and working collectively towards shared goals. By championing these values, we aspire to contribute to a cultural shift, fostering empowerment and mutual support at every level. 

Again, a strategic decision was made to hire a Program Manager for Partnerships enabling a structure for alignment from grassroots to leadership levels. 

In conclusion, Give an Hour expresses gratitude for the unwavering support of our community. Your feedback, stories, and resilience fuel our daily inspiration. As a Stand Together Impact Catalyst Partner, we are dedicated to steering positive change in mental health and well-being. Through a customer-centric vision, an empowered team, and a shared movement towards change in the mental health field. 

Kristin Richardson, Director of Communications, says that “as someone who’s been with Give an Hour for 12 years, I’m motivated by our genuine focus of putting customers and employees first. I’d like to say that it’s easy, but it’s constant work to cultivate trust, evaluate the work, and authentically listen. But it’s completely worthwhile. Working alongside colleagues that agree to take the time to do this is inspiring.  It’s not every day that you find a group of people willing to put in this type of work.” 

Entering the second year of our three-year grant partnership with Stand Together, Give an Hour stands ready to persist in our attentive listening journey, drawing on the valuable insights gained from our community. Internally, our commitment lies in embracing a grassroots approach, capitalizing on the robust foundation constructed over the past year. Our steadfast focus remains constant — delivering the utmost quality of care to all those we serve. With the continuous support of Stand Together and our devoted community, we are optimistic about the positive impact and transformative changes that lie ahead in our ongoing mission for mental health and well-being.