Wayzata, MNâ€” Begun in 1979 as a grassroots effort, Interfaith Outreach & Community Partners has grown to become a highly respected organization whose hallmark is collaborating to fulfill its mission of responding to familiesâ€™ basic needs. This year marks IOCPâ€™s 30th anniversary as a nonprofit direct service provider serving at-risk families and individuals living in Hamel, Long Lake, Medicine Lake, Medina, Minnetonka Beach, Orono, Plymouth, and Wayzata.
LaDonna Hoy, IOCPâ€™s founder and executive director, has provided vision and leadership for the agency since the beginning. â€œIOCP is really about a community working together for the common good,â€ said Hoy. â€œMany wonderful people helped us chart our course. And many equally wonderful partnerships have allowed us to leverage resources and enhance our ability to bring about long-term solutions for the people we serve.â€
Two events will mark the organizationâ€™s 30th anniversary. IOCPâ€™s Annual Meeting, Thursday, April 30. Key representatives from IOCPâ€™s past will be on hand to share their part of the organizationâ€™s story and its impact on the community. The meeting, which is open to the public and includes a soup supper, will be held from 6 to 7:30 p.m. in Mithun Hall, Wayzata Community Church, 125 East Wayzata Blvd.
Spread Your Wings, Thursday, June 25, will be IOCPâ€™s signature event for the 30th anniversary and includes dinner and a silent and live auction. Chaired by Jim and Kathryn Ramstad, the benefit will be at the historic Lafayette Club, 6â€“11 p.m., 2800 Northview Road, Minnetonka Beach. Tickets, at $130/person, are available online at www.iocp.org. For more information, contact Nancy Holden (952-288-2570 or email@example.com).
IOCP began in a church basement. In 1979, representatives from nine area churches came together to discuss a way to respond to the need in the community. Out of those conversations came Interfaith Outreach, a nonprofit housed at St. Bartholomew Church, where Hoy was on staff as a parish worker. Initial services included transportation and food and clothing shelves.
By 1985, Hoy recognized partners were needed in order to respond to the increasingly complex life challenges people faced. The organization changed its structure and became Interfaith Outreach & Community Partners. When the building that housed the convent at St. Bartholomew was targeted for demolition in 1989, a group of local businessmen coordinated an effort to move the building to 110 Grand Avenue, IOCPâ€™s home ever since.
The 1990s saw tremendous growth in programs and services for IOCP, in large part through partnerships. St. Maryâ€™s Neighborhood Clinic began to offer free services one day a week. CONECT, a collaborative effort of community groups to serve the needs of families in Plymouth apartment neighborhoods, was launched. IOCPâ€™s first home building project was completed in Wayzata. Local shoe repairman Bob Fisherâ€™s fundraising for Thanksgiving meals evolved into the annual Sleep Out campaign.
In 1997 IOCP convened the Vision for the Village, an opportunity for people from throughout the community to chart its future. Out of this grew plans to develop programs addressing needs for affordable housing and child care, employment, transportation, and expanded on-site services to families living in Plymouth apartment complexes.
In the subsequent years IOCP expanded in all of these key areas, primarily by initiating partnerships with communities of faith, schools, government, businesses, community groups, foundations, health systems, and individuals. Examples of some of these partner-driven initiatives include:
- In partnership with CommonBond Communities and Twin Cities Habitat for Humanity, IOCP spearheaded the development of 54 new affordable housing units in Plymouth and Wayzata
- Caring for Kids Initiativeâ€”a partnership with Wayzata School District Family
- Learning Center, Kidsâ€™ Care Connection, area child care providers, and IOCPâ€”is a scholarship program that provides families access to quality child care or pre-K,parent education and family support services.
- Adopt-a-Neighborhood involves volunteers from more than a dozen area congregations and community groups working with CONECT staff to build relationships and support residents of CONECT neighborhoods.
- More than 3,000 community members support the Sleep Out campaign around affordable housing each year.
Hoy credits her parents for instilling in her a sense of hospitality and inclusive love, which has guided her as sheâ€™s led the organization, particularly through times such as the current recession. â€œIf there is anything I have learned along the way,â€ added Hoy, â€œit is that there is always enough, enough for everyone. This community has demonstrated the heart and will to respond.â€
More information about IOCP can be found at www.iocp.org.