Current Projects

There exists in communities two significant challenges in the employment sector: 

The need for entry level/ retained workers in the hospitality and retail industries


Sustainable employment for individuals who have experienced homelessness and Systemic racism and poverty

The Reciprocity Collective was founded to meet both of those challenges by fostering partnerships between business and nonprofit sectors to respectfully and effectively guide individuals from disenfranchised communities to successful and sustainable employment.

The Reciprocity Collective (TRC) was inspired by the work demonstrated at Pizza Fusion, a supported transitional employment program of the Colorado Coalition for the Homeless, which was created, developed and managed by The Reciprocity Collective Founder and Executive Director, Mary A. Putman. Building on the success of Pizza Fusion, TRC works to fill the gaps in current systems of vocational training and employment for communities of poverty and homelessness.

Individuals who have experienced lack of consistent employment often have challenges with medical and mental health, criminal history and court obligations, substance recovery and treatment, insufficient child care, and deficiencies in life skills. The various workforce development programs that currently exist are structured for short-term support.  However, truly sustainable employment can be achieved with on-the-job support where professional and personal challenges are addressed immediately, repeatedly, and proactively.  TRC provides this support through the placement of Peer Mentor/Trainers in the workforce, Trauma Informed practices, and ongoing assessment and coaching tools for development of core intrinsic competencies and positive life skills.

The programs of The Reciprocity Collective are available to any individual who demonstrates need and desire to participate. No prior work experience is required, only interest and active engagement. Any agency or community organization working with those experiencing poverty and homelessness may refer individuals to The Reciprocity Collective.

The Reciprocity Collective practices Servant Leadership and organizational decisions grow from that practice.

By mission and design, funding from Government sources, local/state/federal will not be sought or developed. TRC is founded on the belief that workforce development to mitigate poverty and homelessness is the responsibility of the community. The work of TRC is funded by the generosity of individuals and businesses, as well as community foundation grants.

Lasting Effect and Benefits

The Reciprocity Collective will provide a vital connection between business and nonprofit partners and establish a shared job-training structure that will be sustainable between the entities beyond the two-year program pilot. When individuals are given the opportunity to move out of poverty through employment, the overall economic impact and saved tax payer dollars adds up to tens of thousands of dollars each year, an estimated $25,000 to $55,000 per person, annually. Trainees benefit from earned income, greater self-sufficiency, increased confidence and positively contributing to their community. Business partners benefit from building a loyal workforce, economic stability, and the positive reputation that comes from greater social responsibility. Nonprofit partners benefit from an effective job-training program, lasting partnerships with local businesses, and ability to dedicate resources to other vital programming.  The interconnectedness between business and nonprofit partners in this program serves as a building block for those that have less in our community, allowing them to be a part of their own progress toward healthy, happy futures for themselves, their families, and their communities.

Our current Employer Partners have supported employment pilot projects with TRC:

Service Systems Associates / The Denver Zoo  Denver, CO

Service System Associates / Western Complex Denver, CO

Kaos PIzzeria Denver, CO

Mas Kaos PIzzeria and Taqueria Denver, CO

Bird Restaurant Denver, CO

Palizo Italiano Denver, CO

Colorado Health Policy and Financing Department Denver, CO

Infinite CBD Lakewood, CO

Digstown Dog Day Care Denver, CO

Walmart Englewood, CO