Partners in Prevention sees role evolving
JANESVILLE By design, Partners in Prevention-Rock County is shrinking.
After helping substance abuse prevention coalitions in four Rock County communities grow and secure $625,000 federal grants, Partners in Prevention will assume a support role.
Executive Director Kate Baldwin said the nonprofit organization's annual federal grant of $100,000 has expired after 10 years. As a result, Partners in Prevention will shed two fulltime and two part-time employees.
"All of our staff except me will be gone by Friday, and we're moving from a four-room to a one-room office at One Parker Place on the third floor," Baldwin said.
It is the culmination of a plan written in 2007 to disperse substance abuse prevention work to area communities.
"Local problems, local solutions," Baldwin said. "As a countywide agency, for us to come in and tell Edgerton, for instance, what works best, it's just not the same because it's not local."
Partners helped a coalition in Edgerton land a $625,000 federal grant to target substance abuse prevention locally. It helped coalitions in Beloit, Evansville and Janesville get $625,000 grants, too.
"Partners will continue," Baldwin said. "We'll work with Milton to develop their coalition so next spring they can write for a grant for their community."
Partners has $35,000 in federal funding remaining to carry it through March.
"That will give us more time to seek other funding and to continue to adjust what Partners does," Baldwin said.
Partners began in 1989 as a drug-free alliance, changed its name three times and has worked to create a safe and drug-free environment in Rock County.
When Partners began, it worked to create awareness about healthy lifestyles by reducing alcohol, tobacco and other drug use. That transitioned into youth programming such as Operation Snowball and Family Fun Fest.
"But the focus was always on supporting the youth in reducing their substance abuse," she said.
Partners in the past 10 years used more than $3 million in foundation grants, United Way awards and federal funding to fight substance abuse.
Five years ago, coalitions such as Partners were encouraged to begin environmental prevention—"changing the environment we live in rather than the individual. So, we were encouraged to build local coalitions that would work on local problems," Baldwin said.
Partners developed drug-free coalitions in Beloit, Edgerton, Evansville and Janesville. Milton still is developing its coalition, she said.
"The communities are strong, and I know they can succeed as Partners has succeeded," Baldwin said.
Partners role will be to offer training in prevention methods, train boards of directors members and educate local coalition staff how to run their operations and write for federal grants, Baldwin said. It also will continue to help local school districts that conduct student drug and alcohol surveys, Baldwin said.