When was JI formed?

JI has always been in the business of improving services to children and youth in the Colorado Springs area. However, our mission has changed over the years as the needs of children, youth and their families have become more complex.

JI was founded in 1989 by Robert Van Cleave of the El Paso County Department of Human Services, Charles Vorwaller of Pikes Peak Mental Health, and Judge Richard Toth, District Court. These three individuals met to discuss their concerns about the number of children and youth that were being placed in out-of-county and out-of-state residential placements. Through this initial collaboration, out-of-county placements were reduced by 40%.

JI became a Colorado nonprofit corporation in 1995 and obtained tax-exempt status in 1996.

What is JI’s purpose?
JI is a prevention focused not-for-profit interagency collaboration of community leaders in the Pikes Peak Region that have a common vision of leveraging community resources to support positive, sustainable outcomes for children and their families.

What services do you provide?
JI does not provide any direct services to clients but rather works toward system change in how organizations work together to benefit a broad array of children and their families in the community.

What is the source of funding for JI?
JI is funded through annual member dues and fees received for administering the various contracts.

What is your vision and mission?
The vision of Joint Initiatives is a healthy community where, children, youth, and their families thrive. Our mission is for community leaders to collaborate to build an integrated network of services and to advocate for policies that improve the quality of life for children, youth, and their families.

What are your goals?
As part of our strategic plan for the next two years our goals are:

  1. Board and staff take a leadership role in community initiatives that support an integrated network of services for children, prenatal to 21 years of age, and their families.
  2. Board and staff take a leadership role to support legislative advocacy and public policy that provide for integrated, high quality services for children and their families.
  3. Serve as a model of success and best practices, in support of an integrated network of services, through fiscal management of select community initiatives.

What programs have you initiated?
In its 22 year history, JI has facilitated the implementation of several initiatives. Highlights include:

  • Facilitated the funding process, through the Colorado Trust, to bring the Homebuilder’s Family Preservation Program to the Pikes Peak Region.
  • Facilitated CYDC implementation in the Fourth Judicial District.
  • Founding supporter of the Developmental Assets for Youth Initiative in Colorado Springs.
  • Convened a fourteen member partnership and wrote the federal Green Book Grant to support systems change in domestic violence and child abuse cases.
  • Facilitated the implementation of House Bill 1451 (The Collaborative Management Program) in El Paso and Teller Counties.
JI has facilitated and supported numerous coalitions and task forces in the community as well as served as the fiscal agent for numerous contracts supporting those efforts.

Your name indicates youth – but is that certain populations of youth (i.e. poverty level, at risk youth, etc.)?
Our work affects any child or youth that would benefit from an improved service delivery system, so it includes any number of populations of youth.

Who are the voices sitting around the table guiding the initiatives?
There are currently 12 members of the JI Board representing nonprofit, for profit and public agencies, both large and small. For a complete list of our members, go to our Member Agencies page.

How are the JI board members determined?
JI members are leaders who represent a wide breadth of community organizations with particular areas of expertise that can promote JI’s mission and purpose. They must also be committed to constructive collaboration and willing to pay annual dues. The board member limit is 25.

How are board members selected?
An applicant for board membership is considered only upon a recommendation by a board member to the JI Executive Committee for consideration, and upon the applicant’s agreement to meet the membership criteria and to fulfill other responsibilities contained in the JI by-laws. Based on the recommendation, the full board determines who to solicit for membership.

JI seeks to have broader community input and impact than the limited membership will allow. Therefore, JI does recruit community members to serve on ad-hoc committees it may convene.

We work toward a shift in child policies from punishment and incarceration to prevention, early intervention and sustained child investment.