The South County Collaborative is composed of 54 local non-profit community-based organizations, schools, private hospitals and clinics, and public agencies that serve South Santa Clara County’s most vulnerable populations. The Collaborative works to increase the quality and quantity of human services as well as making them more accessible, efficient, and effective in an area of the county where government services are scarce, and government funding, foundation and individual giving are even more so.
The Collaborative was founded in 1991 to oversee a Healthy Start grant for the Gilroy Unified School District. When the grant expired, there was still a need for a collaborative forum, so members continued to meet and expanded the geographic service area to include San Martin and Morgan Hill. Committees and projects over the years have included the Integrated Services Committee (later replaced by the Health & Safety Alliance), Before & After-School (tutoring for students at risk), Senior Focus, Roads to Success (later replaced by Family-to-Family – Child Welfare System improvements), South County One Stop (Workforce Reinvestment), Neighborhood Outreach, and Restorative Justice (First Offender Program).
In 1996, the Collaborative received the Human Relations Award from Santa Clara County based on its outstanding contributions in human services. Annually, the Collaborative presents Gilroy Community Health Day, a health fair for under- and uninsured South County residents that reaches more than 600 people. With the County’s Public Health Department, the Collaborative coordinates the Binational Health Week conference attended by an average of 120 healthcare professionals annually. The Conference, featuring local and international speakers, is intended to foster understanding of the special psychological, health education, and health care needs of Latino immigrants.
In 2009 the South County Collaborative added a Youth Summit focusing on health and nutrition, healthy relationships and substance abuse prevention to the week’s events. The Collaborative received three multi-year grants totaling $600,000 in 2006 from the Santa Clara County Dept. of Alcohol and Drug Services to form coalitions to address alcohol and substance abuse issues in South Santa Clara County. The Coalitions spearheaded passage of social host ordinances in Gilroy, Morgan Hill, and the County as well as a state reclassification of the tax on alcohol to reduce underage drinking. As a result of this work, the Collaborative was awarded a 3-year federal grant in 2008. Communities United in Prevention, funded by the grant, passed a smoke-free parks ordinance in 2012.
The South County Collaborative is a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt organization governed by a volunteer board. There are no paid employees or contractors.
Meetings: The South County Collaborative holds a monthly on the second Thursday of each month from 11:30 AM to 1 PM in the community room on the second floor of the Gilroy Library.