Twenty-seven percent of residents in northeast Denver live in poverty. Without drastic changes in someone’s life, the cycle continues. While many organizations offer poverty alleviation solutions, the most common fragmented approaches address only parts of the problem. Without considering a complete view of poverty along with a person’s potential, a model has limited scope in resolving the deep issues contributing to the cycle of poverty.
CrossPurpose intentionally engages with the northeast community of Denver through committed, redemptive relationships to help eradicate poverty. Recognizing the power of relationship to transform lives, CrossPurpose invests in the deep work of poverty abolition and goes “all-in” to help people achieve life-long generational change. Through a people-centered community development model, CrossPurpose focuses on the client and helps them navigate all the factors contributing to poverty. By leveraging a network of community services, which include skills, development and counseling, CrossPurpose connects clients to the services they need and walks with them through the process.
The organization’s main programs, UPRISE (faith-based) and Upstream (secular), are year-long community-based career development programs. Participants complete an eight-week Training Camp at the beginning of the 12-month program, then choose one of two paths – job skills training or placement. The program addresses relational poverty through a unique mentorship component matching leaders with a volunteer working professional or ally from the community for friendship and support, building community and reweaving the fabric of a frayed society.
Cross Purpose also works to bridge different segments of the community. The Urban Encounter immersion program invites those unfamiliar with the obstacles of poverty to experience them firsthand for a weekend. The experiential programs address common stereotypes of ostracized groups, like the homeless, refugees, and the incarcerated. A two-year leadership training program cultivates urban leaders in public, private, and nonprofit sectors. Through professional development, work experience, classes, and speakers, motivated college graduates are baptized into challenging community development work and an urban environment.
Growing up in the Midwest, Jason Janz knew the realities of poverty when his father lost his business. After being called into ministry and working as a youth pastor for 11 years, Janz and his wife moved into inner-city Denver to start a church and walk with the poor. By getting involved in the community, in schools, and in politics, Janz became acquainted with the systemic, complex issues of poverty. Janz recruited Juan Pena, a man of strong faith who knew the hardship of immigrating to the United States, and they co-founded the ministry. Pena’s own experience overcoming poverty grew his heart for serving under-resourced, diverse communities. Together, Janz and Pena started investing in Denver. What began as a church plant, a re-entry program for former offenders, and a leadership development program turned into CrossPurpose. Today, CrossPurpose works to abolish deeply rooted poverty through the power of intentional, committed relationships.
CrossPurpose is a 2017 S+ Catalyst. Through participation in the Catalyst Program, CrossPurpose receives training from industry experts in organizational development, branding, measurement and growth, and strategic relationships to amplify their impact and strategically expand their reach.