The collaborative was formed in 2006 as a means to strengthen the five existing individual North Dakota Faith in Action programs and help expand the mission of Faith in Action throughout the state. Faith in Action founding program members were Cavalier/Pembina County, rural Cass County, Harvey/Wells County, rural Grand Forks County, and Valley City/Barnes County. Founding members were responsible for establishing the mission, vision, values, guiding principles, and bylaws for the collaborative. Initial monies for the collaborative came from a grant from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. The collaborative is now comprised of seven different volunteer faith-based and community-based programs serving the needs of rural residents primarily throughout the eastern half of the state.
Contribution donations, matching-funding grants, and membership program fees have been vital to the sustainability of the collaborative. FIA-Northern Plains also participated in Dakota Medical Foundation’s Nonprofit Fundraising Training which includes technical and marketing support for “branding our nonprofit” along with a fundraising development plan which the Collaborative has been applying to help build a strong donor base.
Faith in Action Northern Plains Collaborative is a network of faith-based and community-based programs with volunteers trained to help frail neighbors live independently in their North Dakota communities. According to reports published by the Administration on Aging, studies have demonstrated that rural populations have more difficulty accessing services because of the lack of transportation, poverty, lack of local services and lack of awareness of available services. Preventable medical and health problems are often not addressed early enough to avoid hospitalization because there is no organized method or single contact where individuals might discuss medical and personal care issues. Residents in rural communities also tend to be stoic and self-reliant, refusing to request outside assistance.
The Faith in Action collaborative and its member programs help local people solve local, rural transportation challenges. Trained volunteers, aged 16 to 90+, help their neighbors – the elderly, those with disabilities, and those with chronic illnesses. Volunteers provide transportation, chore services, respite, visiting, and more - all at no charge regardless of age, income, ethnicity, or religion.
Faith in Action has become known as a provider that “fills the gaps” where health and community agencies or families cannot meet all of the daily needs that allow persons with long term health needs to live independently. Many rural North Dakota communities have few available resources to help the rapidly expanding elderly population maintain an independent lifestyle. The collaborative supports and promotes volunteer care giving programs that work to reduce the number of individuals who lack assistance with daily living needs. The connections and relationships that form help create a more caring and sensitive community, providing intergenerational connections and offering opportunities for individuals to serve others.
Transportation facts for Faith in Action Collaborative:
Fact 1: In 2009, volunteer FIA drivers drove over 94,875 + miles for medical and dental appointments, shopping, errands, rides to social events and worship services for 750 rural North Dakota seniors helping decrease health care costs, keeping them happier, healthier, and more independent.Fact 2: Member programs coordinated transportation for a network of 327 volunteers and provided rides within eastern North Dakota and to medical hubs in Grand Forks, Fargo, Minot, and Bismarck.
Fact 3: Volunteers are provided with added insurance. Some are reimbursed for mileage through stipend programs but many receive no monetary compensation for their transportation across the state. In addition to sharing their time and neighborliness transportation volunteers utilize their own personal vehicles.
Fact 4: Older friends who can no longer drive, or who need transportation temporarily, register with member programs and are provided with rides to medical and other appointments, shopping and congregational and social events helping decrease isolation and improving access to services.
Fact 5: Valued at $12.00 per hour (11,250 hours x $12.00) and being reimbursed $0.45 per mile (94,875miles x $0.041), our volunteers saved the state of North Dakota $177,693.
Fact 6: Contribution from passengers, their families, other individual businesses and congregations are an important part in helping cover the costs of the transportation program.
Faith in Action
Quality of Life Benefits to North Dakotans
- Supports the “sandwich generation,” keeping them productive and in the work force.
- Decreases health care costs by helping keep persons who are frail and elderly happier, healthier, and more independent.
- Decreases isolation and improves access to services.
- Provides early intervention for prevention of depression and diseases related to depression.
- Creates a more caring and sensitive community, providing intergenerational connections.
Faith in Action
- Offers opportunities for individuals to serve others and connect with neighbors in need.
is not a religious faith. It is what all religions have in common - a mandate to do good.