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(c)Space Becoming the Place

PHOTO: This shared office space for nonprofit groups in Kentucky is growing as it hits its one year anniversary. Those involved say it fosters collaboration. Photo courtesy the Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky.
PHOTO: This shared office space for nonprofit groups in Kentucky is growing as it hits its one year anniversary. Those involved say it fosters collaboration. Photo courtesy the Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky.
May 26, 2015

LOUISVILLE, Ky. - In a Louisville office building there's shared space where nonprofit groups can work together under one roof. The place has a catchy name: (c)space, a play on the tax-exempt status of nonprofit 501 c-three groups. Since the co-space concept was launched a year ago this month a half dozen organizations with similar missions have moved in. One of those non-profit organizations is the Fund for Transforming Education in Kentucky.

Its executive director is Barbara Bellissimo.

"It's a good way for us to meet each other and understand better what's going on in each of our worlds and how we might be able to collaborate," says Bellissimo.

The co-working project was launched by the Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky.

Mary Jo Shircliffe, vice president of operations and administration overseeing the project for the foundation, says the goal is for the shared space concept to spread across the state.

"It would be cool to see a (c) space in western Kentucky and eastern Kentucky," says Shircliffe. "We're hoping this model can be inspired to get other non-profits collaborating in their communities."

A half dozen nonprofit groups involved in health, environmental, education and poverty fighting causes are located in the building with a seventh soon to join them, according to Shircliffe.

Take the education nonprofit group Bellissimo runs as an example. She says she was in a meeting recently about the school as a center of community. Bellissimo says to pilot that type of model in Kentucky being in a co-space environment will help.

"We will need partners in the health arena to offer services through the school or at the school," says Bellissimo. "The first place I would go is to (c)space and the foundation to find people who could look at our plans or provide services."

(c)Space includes private offices, individual workstations and shared work space. The offices are also available to those who offer support services to nonprofit groups, including technology, legal and accounting experts.

Greg Stotelmyer , Public News Service - KY