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Our Story

Common Ground is the product of a 1998 merger of two agencies, Common Ground and The Sanctuary, Inc., that had served Oakland County since the early 1970s. The merger allowed those in the community experiencing a crisis a single source of help. The unified approach to meeting community needs enabled both organizations to expand their services significantly.

Common Ground was founded in 1971 by a group of students, parents and community leaders who were concerned about an increase in substance abuse and suicide among young people. United Community Services volunteers began The Sanctuary, Inc. in response to the growing number of runaway youth in Oakland County. The residential counseling program for runaway and homeless youth, ages 1017, opened in 1974. The program offered youth two weeks in which to resolve the conflicts that led them to leave home.

Today, Common Ground is a 24-hour crisis services agency dedicated to helping youths, adults and families in crisis. Through its crisis line and in person, Common Ground provides professional and compassionate service to more than 80,000 people a year. For more details about our history, view our Common Ground timeline.


Today, Common Ground is a 24-hour crisis services agency dedicated to helping youths, adults, and families in crisis. Through our crisis line and in person, we provide professional and compassionate service to more than 80,000 people each year. Every member of our team is dedicated to our core purpose and guided by our core values.

Core Values

  • Empowerment – maximizing the potential of all
  • Collaboration – always working toward shared goals
  • Innovation – exploring new ways to positively impact our community
  • Diversity and Inclusivity – welcoming and respectful of people and ideas

Our Vision for the Future

Our vision for the future is that our efforts will continue to result in positive changes in people’s lives and throughout their communities, which will lead more people to feel safe asking for help. As a result, demand for our services will continue to grow, thus driving the further growth of Common Ground.

As a nationally recognized crisis services organization – one respected for its quality, reliability, and collaborative spirit – our reputation will help us attract and retain highly qualified staff, volunteers, and board members, thereby better equipping us to continue helping people move from crisis to hope.

We are dedicated to developing and implementing the innovative strategies required to achieve our vision.

Our 50th Anniversary Celebration of Hope Event

More than 150 guests and volunteers gathered at M1 Concourse in Pontiac this past October to celebrate Common Ground’s 50th year operating as a mental health resource to those in need.  Through the generous support of sponsors and donors, the event raised funds that get us closer to our goal of $1.2 million to launch our new Behavioral Health Urgent Care service.

Guests enjoyed an evening of thrill rides around the M1 race track in sports cars driven by professional drivers.  They also experienced a strolling dinner, musical entertainment and a special 50th anniversary program. Evrod Cassimy, WDIV morning anchor, emceed the program, which featured a moving speech by Kate Richards, Oakland County native and mental health advocate, as well as presentation of the first Kay White Legacy Award to Kay White, Common Ground Board of Trustees Chair, by Common Ground president and CEO Heather Rae.

Many thanks to our generous event sponsors, including the Mental Illness Resource Association (MIRA), Beaumont, Great Lakes Wine & Spirits, Ameriprise Financial, AVL Creative, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan, Blue Cross Complete of Michigan, Hearst Autos, the Hour Detroit, ITC, Planning Alternatives, Vella Strategic Philanthropy Group, Versalta, the Harold and Marion Gordon Foundation, Kay White, and Amy and David Wood, M.D.

We’ve received 50th anniversary congratulatory messages from community leaders throughout the state.  Read their messages of support.