Our story began in 2007, when Kevin Kirby, a seasoned business executive, connected with Charlie Day, a lawyer, CPA and health care finance expert.
Kirby, a survivor of addiction, had been active in the community of Sioux Falls, S.D., establishing a network of sober living homes and a residential, non-medical addiction treatment program. These made a difference, but he felt something more fundamental had to change for more people to get well from addiction.
Day had recently served as a senior finance officer in one of the nation’s largest regional integrated health care systems. He was an experienced start-up strategist and business innovator and ready to give back to the community.
The two met, and began crafting a vision for a community-wide transformation around the disease of addiction. They quickly engaged some of the nation’s leading experts. Very soon they could see that those with the most “skin in the game” – employers, health care organizations and others – needed to play a leading role.
Their work led to a seven month community town hall process that enlisted the private, public and social service sectors to identify shared solutions to addiction in the community.
These meetings led to the creation of a new nonprofit, Face It TOGETHER Sioux Falls, in 2009. The organization was charged with implementing an innovative community model designed to foster system-wide change and eliminate barriers to addiction wellness while reducing costs. In 2014, Face It TOGETHER Sioux Falls was awarded the Bush Foundation Prize for community innovation.
In 2011, the success at the local level in Sioux Falls served as the catalyst for the creation of Face It TOGETHER, a nationally focused social enterprise dedicated to advancing the model in communities nationwide. Currently, Face It TOGETHER has affiliates operating in Sioux Falls, Bemidji MN and Fargo, ND. An affiliate in Bismarck-Mandan, ND will open later this year.