Providing resources for nonprofits is where Commonwealth Compassion Bridge shines. CCB is a nonprofit organization itself. Headquartered in Shelbyville, CCB partners with faith-based community organizations (100 and counting, so far, in Louisville and across Kentucky) to provide them with support, training, and resources so that these organizations can strengthen their services and help more people.
“It has been amazing and often eye-opening to find the commonalities between ministries from different parts of the state, to see how rural and urban needs and assets are so similar, and to learn from each other,” said Phyllis Platt, Ph.D. She is the executive director of Commonwealth Compassion Bridge and has 30 years’ experience working with community-based organizations.
Many of CCB’s partner organizations are “mom and pop” or smaller ministries. Some are organizations serving incarcerated populations and their re-entry into society; others are involved in foster care and adoption; and several partner organizations are helping people who have substance use dis- orders. Oftentimes, CCB forms a bridge of compassion by introducing a nonprofit to a relevant state or local governmental agency. Together, these organizations and agencies help even more people.
“Capacity building, or strengthening ministries to do what they do in the best way possible, is a large part of what I do as director and what our board members do in their roles,” said Dr. Platt.
CCB was founded in 2005 by Dr. Larry Martin and Greg Correll, “two men passionate about ministry support for small faith-based ministries throughout Kentucky,” said Dr. Platt.
One of the key goals of CCB is to assist faith-based community organizations is “netweaving.” While networking is interacting with others, particularly in business settings, CCB co-founder Larry Martin explains that netweaving is “when God brings together people and groups to weave a new pattern in the way they work together to meet needs.”
Dr. Platt tells the story of a CCB board member who found out that a Fazoli’s restaurant in Northern Kentucky was closing and had tables and chairs to give away. At a CCB board meeting, other members knew of a youth program opening a community-based gathering site in Eastern Kentucky. “As a result, a donor was able to make a connection with a ministry that had a need,” she said. “Without CCB the two would likely never have known about one another.”
Sometimes CCB connects nonprofits that are doing similar work but they just aren’t aware of each other yet. “Other times it can mean providing group or individual training, connecting people to resources, or helping access needed funding,” said Dr. Platt. “We may at times walk alongside a ministry leader by providing mentorship or a listen- ing ear during start-up or at a key point in the life of the ministry such as when the time has come for the founder to retire or pass the baton to a new leader.”
In 2008 CCB began engaging with partner organizations to address the opioid epidemic in Kentucky. At that time, they found out about NET Recovery, a device providing neuroelectric therapy (NET). According to Dr. Platt, studies in Kentucky and in Scotland have shown significant reductions in withdrawal symptoms and cravings when NET Recovery is used for a week at the beginning of addiction treatment.
Commonwealth Compassion Bridge, in collaboration with the National Christian Foundation, is raising monies to assist in clinical trials in the United States (taking place in Willisburg, Kentucky) to seek FDA approval for NET Recovery to treat addiction. “One key benefit of this research project is that people who need substance use disorder treatment will receive it,” said Dr. Platt.
Five men from Louisville, Lexington, and a couple of rural communities in Kentucky were filmed as they went through a NET Recovery process. The resulting documentary, The Final Fix, was released in 2020 and earned 10 international film festival awards.
“Walking together through the growth and development of a ministry, meeting a need, fulfilling a passion, or responding to a calling requires partnership,” said Dr. Platt. “CCB serves as a link between ministries, between people, and between communities to bring about change in the lives of individuals, families, and communities.”