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First Training Session
In September 1970, the first training session for volunteers was held and out of 60 trainees, 20 were chosen to be Common Ground counselors. A 7-member steering committee was chosen from the volunteers to establish house policies. A Board of Directors was also set up, composed of four members of the steering committee and four adult friends of Common Ground.
National Search Award
The agency won an award for excellence in alternative programs for youth (National Search Award from National Institute on Drug Abuse) and was named the outstanding program for drug abuse prevention in Michigan by the Department of Health, Education and Welfare. The agency had a paid staff of seven and 250 volunteers and an annual budget of $150,000.
Walk-in Clinic In Oakland County
Crisis prevention being stressed. In 1985 CG was still the only walk-in agency in the Detroit metro area. In 1985 the operating budget was $475,000, 60% of which came from Oakland County contracts to provide emergency crisis work during nights, weekends and holidays, and prevention work in substance abuse. The other 40% privately raised. Cocaine became a substance abuse concern.
Royal Oak Post Office Shooting
In November of 1991 Common Ground responded to a tragic shooting at the Royal Oak Post Office. Eight postal workers were shot, and five people died, including the shooter. Crisis counselors assisted the survivors with emergency emotional aid. Tony Rothschild was hired as executive director.
Common Ground Celebrates 25th Anniversary
In 1996 Common Ground celebrated its 25th anniversary. There were now about 80 volunteers handling about 20,000 calls a year on the crisis line and a paid staff of 80 as the agency began doing mental health screening for Oakland County.
Common Ground receives accreditation and endowment
Common Ground received accreditation by the Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities (CARF). An endowment fund for Common Ground was also established at the Community Foundation for Southeast Michigan.
Chat and Text Program begins
Mobile Crisis Unit created to serve clients in Genesee County. Legacy Society created. Mental Health First Aid Program started to educate people on how to assist those in crisis. Tony Rothschild’s 20th anniversary as CEO was celebrated with a fundraiser at the home of Jack Kresula that raised $40,000. Crisis-related services provided to 51,362 individuals/families.
Mosaic Created in Honor of 40 Years
Common Ground celebrated 40 years as an organization in 2011. To honor this milestone, a Mosaic was created. Board members, staff, community members and donors all submitted their artwork to become a part of the Mosaic. The final piece still hangs in Common Ground's board room to this day! If you submitted artwork for this Mosiac, visit the link here: https://projectsnap.org/gallery-lookup.php.
Common Ground Moves
Common Ground moved most of its crisis services to a building on the Oakland County Complex in Pontiac. Common Ground was one of four agencies in SE Michigan to form the Runaway and Homeless Youth Alliance. The success of Common Ground’s Chat and Text program caused it to be invited to join the Crisis Text Line, Inc., a national program. The Common Ground Legal Clinic, which began in 1971, had 2 dozen volunteer attorneys and a dozen additional volunteers including paralegals conducting 2 weekly clinics serving 1500 people in 2013.
Heather Rae Becomes CEO
Heather Rae assumes CEO position on Oct.1, 2015. Common Ground wins award for Crain’s Best-Managed Non-Profit, Nov. 2014.Common Ground receive runner up award in Prudential Leadership Awards for Exceptional Non-Profit Boards, Nov. 2015.
New Facility for Sanctuary
Sanctuary for Runaway and Homeless Youth opened new facility in Royal Oak, June 2016.
Common Ground Receives SAMHSA Grant
In Nov. 2020 Common Ground received a grant from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Administration (SAMHSA) to assist in implementing programs to improve follow-up with high risk individuals.