The Community Action Partnership of Mercer County developed the Silent Partners Program as a method to build a pool of funds to resolve family needs that cannot be addressed by other resources.
The Community Action Partnership of Mercer County created the Silent Partners Program as a way to help people with needs that cannot be covered by other agency programs or resources that might be available through outside organizations. Silent Partners assistance is a LAST RESORT only to be used for compelling situations that would otherwise not be resolved. Support from Silent Partners is only provided in situations where there is a family member who is working.
Contributions to Silent Partners are not solicited as part of a public fundraising campaign. Instead, each Silent Partner is personally recruited by the agency’s CEO or Vice President of Operations. A letter is forwarded to donors with an Overview of Silent Partners accompanied by a Silent Partner Contract Form.
Family needs to be supported through Silent Partners are identified through information developed as part of the client intake and assessment process. The staff member designated to coordinate the program gets in touch with a Silent Partner to describe the case being considered. The Silent Partner is reminded of their right to say no to any request for assistance. That allows each Silent Partner the opportunity to agree to help with particular situations that they feel are worthwhile. Both the identity of the family and the Silent Partner are kept confidential.
A Silent Partner can agree to make a one-time contribution, a monthly or annual contribution, or a specific contribution toward a particular case. Both individuals and groups serve as Silent Partners including CAP of Mercer County board and staff members, community residents, churches, businesses, and civic groups. There are approximately 15 Silent Partners identified to participate each year.
A report is sent to all Silent Partners at the end of each year to highlight the way that funds were used to assist particular families. A donation receipt is also included, along with a Silent Partner Contract Form for the upcoming year.
Silent Partners assistance might be provided for up to 15-20 families in a given year. Two families received help in 2007 for a total of $852. Since Silent Partners is only used as a last resort, ten other families were referred to get help with other agencies. Although this is a small program, it makes a significant difference for families who receive assistance. Past examples include support for transportation to maintain employment, clothing to participate in a training program, purchase of medications not available through prescription assistance programs, replacement of a hot water heater, etc.
Ron Errett, Chief Executive Officer