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MOTW: Fruit Ridge Community Collaborative

The location of the Fruit Ridge Community Collaborative (FRCC) is easy to mistake. From 1938 to 2012 the building was the Fruitridge Elementary School. Nestled in the Promise Zone of Oak Park, the building still has the distinctive remnants of a school; a playground, classrooms, and a gymnasium.

What’s not hard to mistake is the impact FRCC is making in the community.

22 nonprofits are located in the Fruit Ridge Community Collaborative. FRCC is an umbrella organization that oversees and assists with the growth and support of 22 nonprofit partners. These nonprofits share the building, resources, and insights while providing wrap-around services to the community.

Impact Foundry is featuring members who demonstrate collaboration, innovation, and sustainability. Impact Foundry’s Megan Fox sat down will Erin Stone to learn more about how FRCC is using collaboration to change the how nonprofits serve our community.

Impact Foundry: How does your organization practice innovation?

FRCC: Fruit Ridge Community Collaborative (FRCC) was founded by a community member in 2016 as an innovative way to transform a former elementary school. FRCC brought together dozens of organizations to provide a wide-range of services to help the community thrive and help empower grassroots community organizations by offering affordable and accessible locations to deliver programs and services.

Today, FRCC continues to practice innovation by driving collaboration with its 23 nonprofit partners, business, government and the community to ensure that FRCC serves as a hub of community vitality, offering a safe place to learn and play, and provides comprehensive services to help the community thrive.

Two specific examples of innovative collaboration at FRCC underway today include: 1) implementation of a full-time, four week summer camp for high school and middle school youth; and 2) implementation of site-wide internet service.

FRCC and other partner organizations are coming together to create summer programming that is purposeful every step of the way — programming that is guided by trauma-informed practices and that focuses on supporting students’ social, emotional skills. The demand and need for summer programming is high, especially a full-time program that also includes meals. By working together organizations will be able to fulfill this need – something that would be a great challenge individual organizations.

FRCC organizations have come together to leverage resources and respond to the digital divide at FRCC, investing in a site-wide internet solution that will result in a free wi-fi network for the community, better access for organizations, and significant savings for organizations.

Impact Foundry: How does your organization practice collaboration? Who are your key collaborators?

FRCC: FRCC strives to be a hub for community vitality – a place where the community, nonprofit organizations, business and government can come together to play, learn and help the community thrive. FRCC organizations are collaborating to create more comprehensive programming as well as streamline administrative functions to deliver more value per donated dollar. FRCC is engaging business, government and foundations to support the site and its services. In the last six months several organizations including Five Star Restoration, Sutter Health, and the California Highway Patrol have donated time and supplies to help improve the FRCC site.


Impact Foundry: How does your nonprofit practice leadership for the nonprofit community

FRCC: FRCC is striving to create a model that can be replicated and other sites throughout the city, state and country. FRCC also wants to lead the nonprofit community in finding ways to engage the community and to continue to foster diversity, equity and inclusion. FRCC has been successful in empowering diverse, grassroots nonprofit organizations with more than 70% of FRCC organizations led by people of color, vs. only 25% statewide.

Impact Foundry: What strategies, practices, and processes are key to your organization’s long term sustainability?
FRCC: Continuing to build out a collaborative model that engages the community, nonprofit organizations, business and government to leverage resources, and provide comprehensive services is key to FRCC’s long-term sustainability. FRCC is striving to create collaboration that provides structure and stability while at the same time provides flexibility to respond to the needs of the community and foster innovation.