On August 4, 2010, we introduced Allan Barsema and his Community Collaboration and Integration (CCI) methodology and collaborative case management software to members attending the annual Progress Through Business meeting in Madison, Wisconsin. Al had developed a participant centered process enabling multiple organizations to effectively provide human services in a holistic and collaborative manner.

The program was the result of his own efforts to connect the homeless in Rockford, Illinois with resources and opportunities for a better life. Al had established a construction company in Rockford, and had bought and rehabbed a building in a depressed area of town. Due to his own past experiences overcoming hardships, he began working with the people of the street to see if he could help them stabilize life and become successful. He quickly realized that rebuilding lives was like rebuilding anything else … you need a plan, and need to effectively coordinate multiple resources and providers.

He also began to think about what was important in life, and came to the conclusion that building structures was not as important as re-building lives. Al made the decision to discontinue working with his construction company and convert his building into a full-time outreach center called The Carpenter’s Place. He then soon realized that the human services delivery system was not actually functioning as a system at all, but was instead composed of a series of isolated and uncoordinated specialists. He became convinced that agencies, including Carpenter’s Place, could be more effective if they could all collaborate together through a real-time technology platform. With the help of Northern Illinois University (NIU) he developed software tools to develop personal goal centered plans, and that also allowed agencies to work together on common plans. The program now resides in the cloud, and is fully HIPAA compliant ensuring security and confidentiality of personal information.

Some of the other highlights that have occurred include:

  • In 2010, Al’s efforts were recognized as a “Bright Idea” by the Ash Center for Democratic Governance and Innovation at Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government.
  • The same year Civic Ventures awarded him the Purpose Prize of $100,000 for social entrepreneurs over the age of 60 (which was re-invested in helping people).
  • The software solution and toolsets became known as MPOWR.
  • The U.S. Department of Education awarded the Minneapolis Northside Achievement Zone (NAZ) cradle to college initiative $28,000,000 in 2012 to expand NAZ, which is built around MPOWR methodologies and toolsets, which they branded as NAZ Connect.
  • Bridges Out of Poverty adopted MPOWR to support their work.
  • Bridges Founder Phil DeVol and Al are working on a new book, “Bridges to Wholeness”, that will explain MPOWR methodologies.
  • MPOWR now is used by agencies in 24 states and one Canadian Province helping over 250,000 unduplicated individuals overcome barriers to a better life.
  • On January 15, 2013, SupplyCore announced the acquisition of CCI and MPOWR, and will merge MPOWR into the SupplyCore Technology Group. In business for over 25 years, SupplyCore is a supply chain management services and technology solutions integrator providing key support to US and foreign agencies, domestically, and abroad including at-risk environments. SupplyCore provides greater resources including IT expertise in data base design, development, integration, and increased infrastructure in human resources and finance. MPOWR is expanding as a community wide strategy and inter-organizational case management system with Al Barsema as the Visioning and Outreach Manager for the group.