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April 25, 2016

To Whom It May Concern:

I am writing this unsolicited letter of support/endorsement for the Denver Shared Space Project.   I am the Executive Director of the Colorado Cross-Disability Coalition (CCDC) (www.ccdconline.org). 

CCDC is the largest disability rights organization in Colorado and the only statewide organization run by and for people with all types of disabilities. Our mission is to advocate for social justice for people with all types of disabilities.  

CCDC had been in the same location since 2000. While we had outgrown our space years ago, we were prepared to have to move when our lease ended at the close of calendar year 2016.  However in September of 2015, our landlord (Denver Health) decided to stop renting to all external tenants. We had a short window to find another place, so CCDC hired a realtor who found us a place.

The only way CCDC would be able to financially make this work was for us to share the space. This is where Denver Shared Space (DSS) came in. DSS was incredibly helpful in facilitating three organizations with no history coming together. CCDC had not shared space since the year after we were incorporated in 1990. We were moving in with one other organization that had shared space with others and one that had not. We are all different sizes, have different missions and different populations.

Initially I was skeptical—after all, how do three organizations of adults really need someone to facilitate “living” arrangements? The answer is a resounding YES!

As a director of a nonprofit, I do not think about the logistics of moving. There are numerous details that DSS brought up and helped us work through…things that I would not have thought about. Time is my most scarce and important commodity, having used DSS…allowed me to make the best use of my time. DSS staff worked with a team of one representative from each organization. By working ahead of time in a planned organized way and then facilitating an orientation meeting for staffs of all organizations, problems were prevented.

We spent a couple hours working out issues ahead of time instead of endless unplanned bursts of 10 or 20 minutes resolving problems; such as, who would load/unload the dishwasher or who would lock what doors.   

We (in the nonprofit world) contract out other work including evaluation development, translation, 990 preparations,  publications, IT and other services that require skills we do not have – because we do not need to have them every day. Helping more than one organization “live” together is a specific skill.

In an age where many of us spend more time at our office than our homes, having an atmosphere that is calm, welcoming, and not rife with tension…is an absolute imperative need for productive work. DSS helped us achieve this with minimum time on our part for a very reasonable price. It was money well spent.

I am happy to directly answer any other questions about the process and our experience with DSS, so please do not hesitate to contact me, through my assistant – Marlene Murillo. Her direct dial is: 720-259-1969 or my email address is: jreiskin@ccdconline.org.

Regards,

Julie Reiskin

Executive Director