Getting Organized as Recovery Champions – Solidifying Partnerships

Recovery-to-work ecosystems require efficient regional stakeholder collaboration to achieve their goals. Individuals are especially vulnerable as they transition between different recovery steps while moving through treatment to employment. Behind the scenes, stakeholders must coordinate efficiently, generally with a regional champion to offer leadership and management. Addressing Appalachia’s Substance Use Disorder Crisis Through Recovery-to-Work 


You have a vision for what a successful recovery to work ecosystem looks like in your region, now it’s time to organize regional stakeholders to create a continuum of care. 

By now you have connected with other organizations in the recovery to work ecosystems. You may have met in small groups and discussed what success looks like in your region. There are a number of individuals who are ready to be recovery to work champions. These people will represent their  communities, organizations, and individual projects in further understanding the SUD challenges and opportunities for recovery.   

This is a good time to bring a larger group together to discuss where there are gaps in the regional ecosystem and where there are opportunities for collaboration. You might not accomplish all of the steps below in one meeting, but getting the right group of partners together to discuss the ecosystem is really important. This will set you up for success in engaging employers and other stakeholders.  


[ICON] Resources for planning the first meeting of stakeholders: 

  • Email Invitation Template 
  • Agenda Template 
  • Choosing a meeting location for optimal dialogue 


Step One: Discuss what a successful recovery to work ecosystem would look like in your region.  
  • Envisioning success activity
    • Responses are condensed and added to sticky notes, placed on a board at the front of the room.  Group discussion begins with a conversation around general trends spotted, and attendees are offered time to explain their picks. The group will synthesize what ‘success’ could look like in their region. 
Step Two:  Complete Recovery to Work Ecosystem Assessment  
  • Recovery to Work Ecosystem Assessment Tool:
    • For each recovery to work framework goal, consider and discuss your region’s strengths, where your ecosystem needs work, and your region’s top opportunities. 
  • Case study: Community example of regional strength. Family Connections in Georgia as grassroots starting point for convening stakeholders. 
Step Three: Identify Community Stakeholders, Pathways and Level of Engagement 

Based on the opportunities identified in the regional ecosystem assessment, identify all stakeholders who should be included in the ecosystem, and where they can each add unique value.  

  • Stakeholder Support Pathways Tool 
    • List pathways that currently exist to connect individuals in recovery to needed training, employment and wraparound services. 
    • Community example: Flowchart of existing treatment (OVRDC) 
    • Community example: Upper Cumberland hub and spoke diagram 
  • Stakeholder Engagement Matrix  
    • Review completed regional ecosystem assessment form and list all mentioned organizations/representatives. Using the Stakeholder engagement matrix, place organizations on diagram based on perceived proximity to the recovery-to-work initiative. 
    • Three tiers: key partners, integrated services, ecosystem supporters (will receive regular communications to know how and when to help) 
      • Community example: First Tennessee ally map; OVRDC ally map 
      • Community example: Partnership MOUS that define roles and expectations (Jen Gregory) 
      • Community example: Data sharing tools (Jen Gregory) 


Step Four: Identify people who can provide perspectives from  employers, public partners, and recovery champions. 
  • Identify employer champions 
    • Assessment tool  to identify employer champion 
    • Identify top industries in region 
      • This person might be a member of the recovery community or particularly willing to formalize pathways for employees needing recovery services 
    • Case study on identifying employer champions and what makes an effective employer champion. 
  • Identify ecosystem champions 
    • Ecosystem Champion Tool: Use assessment tool to determine which stakeholder should assume role as ecosystem champion (combination of willingness + resources + aligned agenda with recovery mission) 
  • Identify recovery champions 
    • Include people who have gone through recovery and have connections to people in recovery who bring personal experience, passion, and creativity to the work. 
      • Example: Kentucky River Community Care 
      • Example: Phillip Cooper, North Carolina 




Additional Resources:  

  • Applying for funding 
  • Grant-writing tool (listing activities, vision, scope)