GridWorks, a consulting firm founded by Ross Peterson in 2013, is ranked in the top 10 percent of all Certified B-Corps for its commitment to serving disadvantaged populations, and the investment it places in its employees. GridWorks partners with state and local governments, nonprofit organizations, and businesses throughout the United States to design, evaluate, and implement solutions at the intersection of access and mobility.
As an extension of his efforts to help disadvantaged people with transportation, Peterson launched GridWorks IC, a sister company that serves as an operator of non-emergency medical transport in Portland, Oregon.
The Evolution of GridWorks IC
The overall mission of GridWorks IC is to create a safer, more reliable non-emergency medical transportation system. In June of 2018, GridWorks launched GridWorks IC to work with Medicaid beneficiaries to access non-emergency medical transportation. Non-emergency medical transport (NEMT) is covered by Medicaid, but is a complex benefit to access for many Portland-area residents. Working as the white label operator of the Ride to Care Program through the Health Share of Oregon Coordinated Care Organization, GridWorks IC supports Medicaid recipients through easily accessible, non-emergency medical transportation.
Prior to its launch, Gridworks IC went through the growing pains of hiring staff and building the tools and resources needed to provide non-emergency medical transportation services for Portland’s under served community. The company started with just seven employees and quickly grew to over 175 full-time employees by the end of the year (the majority of whom work in the company’s ride scheduling call center).
Since the launch of the program, GridWorks IC has served about 18,000 unique individuals. “There are over 320,000 Medicaid members in the tri-county Portland area, so there is a lot of potential to serve more members,” Katie Chaney, HR Business Partner with Gridworks IC, explained. That level of opportunity is unprecedented — and the benefits are far-reaching.
Vital Success for People in Need
GridWorks IC ensures Medicaid members receive access to medical services in a number of ways. These include an excellent network of private drivers who are scheduled through the call center, funding for public transportation, and personal modes of transportation — like driving themselves or having a family member, friend, or guardian do so. According to Chaney, most of GridWorks IC rides are to life-sustaining appointments — methadone clinics, dialysis, chemotherapy, and more. In fact, methadone rides account for two-thirds of GridWorks IC rides. That makes the success of this company even more impressive… and vital.
The company is also proud to be modernizing an outdated industry. While their business model is for-profit, the work they do is very aligned with their not-for-profit-style mission. “We are an interesting company. We have a nonprofit-type feel because of the way we work in our organization, but we can use the profits to revolutionize the way the industry works,” shared Chaney. For example, GridWorks IC requires drivers to have a scheduling app to receive rides. This helps eliminate wasted time and makes it easier to schedule rides in a more economical and organized manner. The result? More rides for more people in need.
An Organization-Wide Focus on Giving Back
“It’s really about taking care of our employees’ general well being and exploring the idea of why we go to work.
In addition to doing their important work each week, GridWorks IC offers its employees a unique benefit: paid time for volunteering.
“We’ll give back 10% of your time to help you volunteer with the group or on a project that relates to our mission,” explained Chaney. “As long as your volunteerism helps create safe, reliable transportation for our industry.” This is paid time for employees and, while GridWorks IC is still setting up tracking and approval systems for this benefit, it’s an important offering for the company.
For GridWorks IC, the business-facing benefit in committing to corporate volunteerism is helping to shape a greater understanding of the mission and role the company plays. “It creates a deeper engagement and connection in [employees’] daily work,” Chaney added. “Creative projects give employees the space to solve something they’ve noticed could use some attention. Anything to help better our industry is helpful [and] this benefit allows people the time to do it.”
The desire to better their industry and support people in the Portland community is also why the company is now partnering with NobleBridge and other Portland organizations.
Community Partnerships & the NobleBridge Initiative
Currently, GridWorks IC is highly connected with organizations specializing in human services in the Portland area. GridWorks IC works in close partnership with the Immigration Refugee Community Organization (IRCO) for its daily operations. IRCO supports immigrants and refugees as they assimilate with people in the area. It has been vital in helping GridWorks IC establish a diverse transportation network framework — as well as help with translation and interpretation services.
To better support GridWorks IC’s infrastructure, Chaney and her team are also looking forward to joining forces with the NobleBridge initiative — especially because of the access it provides to the NobleHour tracking tool. “In terms of employee engagement, impact is really hard to measure,” Chaney said. “I don’t look at just ROI, but return on engagement as a measurement of success. This [tool] lets us look at ROI from a financial perspective, but it also gives us data to pull from to see what our employees are connecting to within our mission — not just the base dollar value.”
Chaney added that the NobleBridge program provides a network of community partners, as well as a tool for supporting employees who are excited to give back to the community. “It’s really about taking care of our employees’ general well being and exploring the idea of why we go to work. What is work to us other than money?” she asked.
Are you ready to join the movement and mobilize your volunteers? Connect with the NobleBridge community today.
NobleBridge is a volunteer initiative started by TreeTop Commons, LLC. It’s designed to pair businesses with nonprofits and charities. Its goal is to create a strong volunteer culture in Portland and make it easier for people to find volunteer opportunities. NobleBridge hopes to make Portland the #1 corporate volunteer city in the United States. We want to help businesses create and foster a culture of volunteerism with their employees.
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By NobleHour Special Contributor:
Latasha Doyle is a writer and long term care volunteer living outside of Denver, Colorado. When she’s not writing or volunteering, she enjoys crocheting, Netflix marathons, and planning her next trip.