Alliance of Community Assistance Ministries, Inc.
Founded in 2004, ACAM is 501(c)3 public charity and member support organization (MSO) that provides funding, training and networking opportunitie, capacity building, collaborative opportunities with other such organizations, advocacy and outreach as well as training. It is comprised of three full-time staff including the CEO, Director of Operations and Evaluation, and the Director of Fund and Program Development with an annual operating budget of approximately $1.6 million.
Members are faith-based nonprofits that serve as the social safety net for those in need in the Greater Houston area. In 2012, ACAM's member community assistance ministries (CAMs) had a collective budget totaling $42 million, square footage totaling approximately 392,000 and a volunteer size of more than 10,000. They served more than 250,000 people with 72 different types of services including food, clothing, employment services, rent/utilities assistance and much more.
Traditionally, most CAMs have put all of their resources on the front lines and have invested little in their own infrastructures. That is changing with ACAM. Since 2004, ACAM has awarded 316 grants valued at more than $5.7 million to 28 ministries in the Greater Houston region.
Mission and Vision Statements
The mission of ACAM is to advance high-impact collaboration, service excellence and organizational development among community assistance ministries.
ACAM envisions a community that is supported by a network of faith-based collaborative ministries that provide opportunities for families and individuals to meet and rise above their basic needs.
What It Is: A collaborative of 501(c)(3) faith-based basic needs providers. Prospective members are faith-based in mission, vision and origin, without requiring a particular expression of faith as a basis for receiving services. "Basic needs providers" provide two or more of the following: food, case management, clothing, employment services, financial assistance for rent and/or utilities, school supplies/uniforms or transportation.
What It Offers:
- Capacity Building and Organizational Development: ACAM promotes sound practices in nonprofit operations and programming. Organizational assessments inform members on areas of strength and weakness and are used to develop capacity building plans. ACAM supports plan implementation through stipends for training and consulting and direct grants to develop organizational infrastructure.
- Training and Networking: This component promotes best practice knowledge, peer learning and information exchange for the following groups: executive directors, resource development managers, volunteer coordinators, client service managers and thrift store managers. Peer mentoring relationships are developed among executive directors. This component also helps to build relationships between ACAM members and funders.
- Advocacy and Outreach: This component is aimed at increasing membership by reaching out to underserved parts of Greater Houston, raising the profile of CAMs as service hubs in their communities and raising awareness around the issues affecting the people served by the CAMs. Activities are focused on rallying support for initiatives and funding that will provide pathways out of poverty for the CAMs' clients.
- Collaborative Initiatives: ACAM helps members use their collective strength to develop citywide service streams and service models that address root causes of poverty. ACAM also organizes member- and funder-driven initiatives to provide immediate response to member needs. ACAM is effective in coordinating efforts to address emergency situations affecting the lives of the clients served by the CAMs, including but not limited to disaster relief.