The Reciprocity Collective fosters and practices the belief that the entirety of communities can and need to work together to end the cycle of generational poverty and chronic homelessness through strong supported employment.
The Reciprocity Collective acts as a connector and support between businesses in need of a diverse labor pool and community nonprofit agencies working with the un-housed community to provide on the job training and workforce development programs for individuals who have had previous challenges in employment success. These programs provide the businesses with untapped and valuable employees while offering the nonprofits a dynamic vocational training and effective supported employment program for their clients. By making vital connections between businesses and nonprofits, The Reciprocity Collective demonstrates how we can all work together, with existing infrastructure, to achieve the goals of sustained employment to build healthy vibrant communities
The Reciprocity Collective (TRC) was inspired by the work demonstrated at Pizza Fusion, a supported transitional employment program of the Colorado Coalition for the Homeless, which was created, developed and managed by The Reciprocity Collective Founder and Executive Director, Mary A. Putman. Building on the success of Pizza Fusion, TRC works to fill the gaps in current systems of vocational training and employment for communities of poverty and homelessness. Founded in 2016, TRC collaborates with other non-profits and employers in the Denver Metro Area to effectively guide our participants out of homelessness and into lives of stability and purpose through community connections and support.
The COVID 19 Pandemic and ongoing crisis has shown TRC's ability to shift and respond quickly to what we witness and hear of in the communities we serve. In March 2020, we realized our standard Modus Operandi was no longer possible. We rapidly formed a Street Outreach Team. Practicing our collaborative model of service, TRC teamed up with our partner, The Denver Voice, and hired unhoused folks to walk the streets. The team provides compassion, empathy, and someone to meaningfully ask "how are you doing" to help bridge the deepening divide between housed and un-housed community members.
The divide between the "haves" and the "have nots" grows amidst this crisis as differences in health equity and access to basic needs and technology deepen. In addition to the Street Outreach Team, TRC has set up tables outside of foodbanks in the community to offer computer access for basic needs, employment searches and tax help to receive the stimulus funds. We are working with T Mobile to provide smart phones to our street neighbors, connecting them in ways that are necessary for their health and survival. TRC continues to recognize those among of us that have "less than" add to the value, vitality and vibrancy of our community.
TRC goes the extra mile where others won't, and thus are incredibly differential in helping people achieve stability and better their lives. The efficient model paired with unfaltering compassion are why I trust TRC with my donation. They will do the work and not stop until they have changed a life forever.
Porter E. Board Member
I've been profoundly blessed to have worked with The Reciprocity Collective closely over the last couple of years. Watching Mary and her team thrive through the turmoil of a global pandemic has been truly inspirational. All they saw was the opportunity to increase their impact exponentially … and they did! They've proven their ability to meet the needs of our most marginalized population in our darkest hour. Imagine what they'll do in the light! As you decide where your giving dollars will matter most, know that TRC levers your dollar exponentially to build community on your behalf. I am ever grateful - please join me!
Jeff K. Vice Chair, Board of Directors
I have a short statement that i want to share with you for the Colorado Gives Day "When you eat fruit, don't forget who planted it" This message goes out to the recipients of the donations. In my mind i am reaching out to the recipients to say that people out there are thinking about them and have them at heart.
Ronnie A., Board of Directors
I am so grateful for the amazing work that The Reciprocity Collective is doing for and with those who find themselves unhoused in these particularly difficult, dangerous, and tumultuous times. From finding hotel rooms that will take in people needing a safe place to sleep to getting cellphones so that folks have means to contact family and others, and ultimately to help these folks to both access and thrive in sustainable employment are just a few the many hugely significant ways Reciprocity serves people who are struggling for survival. For those of you who are anguished by the many homeless people who have constructed tenuous spots to rest along highways and neighborhood sidewalks, I encourage you to donate to this amazing effort to actually help.
I support and value TRC because it has a unique and fluid ability to respond to the needs of our most vulnerable citizens. The level of community outreach is remarkable and reaches deep into the communities in need. I am involved with many social justice organizations, and this one is absolute incredible!!!
Roz H. Board Member
We have been donors to The Reciprocity Collective (TRC) since the non-profit was initiated. For many years, we have observed the passion and drive of Mary Putman as she has dealt with all of the issues of integrating members of the homeless community into meaningful opportunities for local employment. We want to support the success this nonprofit has had in educating the business community that their effort to partner with The Reciprocity Collective is a benefit to everyone. We have seen firsthand the pride of previously homeless individuals who have been welcomed into the workplace, and have the support of their co-workers, as well as TRC. This organization is unusual in that it fills the gap between "offering willing homeless individuals a job" and "ensuring the success of these individuals in the workplace".
Janet and Quinn. P.
We support The Reciprocity Collective because we believe in its mission to guide individuals from communities of poverty and homelessness to move forward in realizing their full potential. Specifically we align with TRC's methods of providing its clients with the tools, skills and work experiences-by partnering with businesses and nonprofit organizations-to thrive in stable employment and purpose. TRC's Supported Employment program is a hand up, rather than a handout, helping to foster feelings of value and connection in its clients, and in turn creating long-term sustainability in our community.
Kathie and Chris R.
The Reciprocity Collective is the only organization I donate to. I know how tirelessly Mary Putman and TRC work. Mary is a role model in her field and on the planet in general. Since I've known Mary, she has consistently struggled against so many odds to give the homeless a place in this world. A voice in this world. A new start in this world. I cannot think of anyone else of whom I am so proud. TRC is a beam of light in our community and as such, deserves light shed on it and on their efforts. Giving to TRC is truly a 'give' to the entire community.
We support The Reciprocity Collective because we have seen the difference they make in people's lives. Because they are a small organization with very little overhead, they can respond to the needs of the homeless community as they come up and adapt to changing situations, as demonstrated by their outreach efforts during this COVID-19 Pandemic. The energy, compassion and understanding TRC and it's staff show is inspiring and I am so thankful I can help support them in whatever way possible. We know our donations are directly helping the community they are intended for.
Terri & Peter H.
I donate to TRC because in life and especially during this time cultivating community and taking care of your neighbors is so important. I donate because we need to support organizations that look out for the members in our community that are often left behind.
I support TRC because they treat those in the unhoused community with the dignity and respect that all humans deserve and co-create individualized solutions based on participants' self-identified needs and wants. This creates HUGE impact and long-lasting change towards stability and self-sufficiency for those who need it the most.
Emily S. Chair, Board of Directors
It's been hard trying to get help in Denver being that I'm from out of state. I'm thankful for The Reciprocity Collective because they helped me with understanding and filling out paperwork for my id and out of state documents. Now I can start working and look forward to building a better life myself.
TRC helped me to get back on my feet. They believed in me even when I did not believe in myself and have stayed with me through the ups and downs. When I messed up, they welcomed me back and stayed with me. I love my job and the people I work with and it feels like a family to me.
TRC helped me through some hard times with me and my kids. I have a job that I love, work with people who respect me and appreciate my work. I feel like Mary (TRC) has my back.
I feel like a person again. Mary and her team listen to me and hear me. The time I spend with them as we talk about my dreams of what I want to do with my life, I feel valued and heard.
I am very grateful to have this phone it's a life changer because I know for a fact now my parents and my close friends can always get in touch with me And I am able to take care of my business when it comes to my appointments for example with my glasses with america's best and denver health with my flu shots and my monthly exams and I am able to seek employment
I am very thankful for having this cell phone. It is very very important to me. I am able to reach out to schedule my medical appointments, able to seek more important information on the covid-19 cases especially spreading in our area. I am able to reach out to important people in the organizations seeking help for housing assistance and other important issues because I mostly can not go out to offices because I don't have ride I don't know much of this place, I am a sick person unable to search around due to being sick.
Having a phone is no longer a privilege any longer in my opinion.
It has become a necessity to have in today's society.
One cannot believe that any person can be a functioning member of society without one.
People use their cell phones for emergency help(911, road side assistance) Work(even work off their phones) Government assistance (due to covid, no one can afford to miss these calls) To look up important information, google how to get to a place, Friendly hellos, all kinds of important things.
The organization that Brianna works for that offered and gave me a cell phone changed my life completely I got out of prison did not have a cell phone I didn't have a lifeline to get my emails my gmails a job contact family employers for job opportunities for me getting the phone that she that she that your organization provided for me help me out so much and it changed my life so much to this point that I'm so grateful and thankful for you guys for the guys's help I have a new opportunity now I'm working with the Union I start on the 26th of this month and I couldn't I couldn't have done it without the resources by using the phone and it helped me so much so again I would like to thank Brianna and the organization she's working for for helping me out so much and making me become a better person and better math thank you again to whoever is going to read this and God bless and thank you Brianna
A better man ,and you Brianne your awesome and thanks again for your help.... always been there for me much respect....
And it's important to have a phone cuz you never know what to go wrong with your family and the reason to have a phone cuz I get to check on my family they're in California so it's a blessing to get to talk to all family members everyday two or three times a day and I appreciate you guys going out of your way and getting me a phone with service your organization is a blessing
The phone has helped me find employment and be better at my important locations on time. Also my life has changed alot by having this phone because it helps me stay communicated with my family
It also helps me communicate with all if (You) guys mainly and iam happy for that.nyou guys have given alot of guidance in life already and I appreciate it
To be able to communicate with people for work and to be able to get in touch with my family
I'm in a drug and alcohol program and by having this phone with no money but able to stay in touch with family and friends doing this time of touble you have blessed me greatly appreciated thank you for all that you do thanks
Ps I have 90days clean
Some thoughts I wanted to share:
1. You do an incredible job with relationships. Relationships with the people of our community, relationships with partners in the community, and forming new relationships to create awareness of what's going on in the community.
2. The time and energy you INVEST in the people you serve. You go so far above and beyond and give so much to an individual, and it often times pays off, because of that investment that you put into the person. They feel it, they appreciate it, and it makes a difference.
3. You don't limit yourself like many other organizations. Organizations that start to get too big, or restricted by certain grants, or restricted by restrictive leadership (executive and board level), start to confine the work that they do and the level of help and energy they provide. Reciprocity Collective lives outside of those limits and boxes... which is oftentimes where our community members reside. You all allow yourselves to go to lengths and places many organizations don't, like the situation with the man in the hotel you were telling me about recently. You not only do that with the people you work with and serve, but you also do that sometimes with your community partners, filling in the gaps where their support stops, and you even do that in advocacy work with the city.
I feel like our community has a variety of complex situations that contribute to the situations they are in and they need a variety of complex services and supports. I feel like you all at Reciprocity find a way to make that happen. If someone needs some random support, you find a way to make that happen. If advocacy work is needed, you find a connection and relationship to help get the voices of the people you work with heard. If an organization has a unique need, you step in to support the community where they can't/don't. You all excel at thinking outside the box and finding a way.
I think part of what makes you and Reciprocity a "unicorn" like Gina Shimeall called you, is because you are so fluid and go where the needs and the gaps take you, and you color outside of the lines a little and go beyond the mission a little knowing that employment oftentimes is so interconnected to so many issues that might seem well outside the scope of what's considered traditional employment support. Or I guess a better way of putting it is that you take that mission to a whole new level, by realizing that employment support is multilayered and encompasses almost all of the facets of the lives of people out on the streets. of The imagery that comes to mind is you all are like water, because of how flexible, adaptable, and not confined you are, you are able to get into and fill in a lot of the cracks that our community members seem to fall in.
Justin Gorrie, Education and Job Readiness Program Manager
The Gathering Place
We would like to thank one of our great partners, The Reciprocity Collective, for helping our families with employment. They teach our families and help them with employment and stability every Thursday and we could not be more thankful for their continued support.
Family Promise of Greater Denver
Support this awesome organization!
Riley Dorway, General Manage & Owner, Kaos Pizzeria
We are so happy to hire the people that TRC connects us with. We like to give back and it is easy because the employees are great workers!
John Ramsey, Owner, Infinite CBD