Our origin story
Our story starts with co-founder Kevin Kirby, a seasoned business executive. Despite being well connected in the community, having a loving family and the ability to draw upon significant financial resources, Kirby struggled to get well from his alcohol addiction. Once he did, after multiple treatment stays across a few years, he wanted to learn all he could about his disease and the addiction treatment landscape.
Kirby recognized there were flaws in the system and wondered how people with fewer or no resources ever managed to get well. He was called to do something. First, he was connected with Charlie Day, a lawyer, CPA and health care finance expert, who would ultimately become Face It TOGETHER's other co-founder. 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.
Kirby and Day began crafting a vision for a community-wide transformation around addiction, along with 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.
Face It TOGETHER was the outcome of those town halls. The organization's model was unique, innovative and designed to bring social transformation around addiction. In 2009, the nonprofit opened its doors and began coaching in the Sioux Falls community.
Face It TOGETHER has been recognized by Ashoka, a leading network of social entrepreneurs, and has received the Bush Foundation’s Prize for Community Innovation. The nonprofit has also partnered with the Daniels Fund, to expand programming into Colorado, and Stand Together, as part of its prestigious catalyst program.
Since its start, Face It TOGETHER has coached members in more than 40 states, one U.S. territory and two other countries. The team's dedication to the mission and vision has remained unwavering. And although Face It TOGETHER's primary service, peer coaching, fundamentally hasn’t changed, the organization has refined its processes and continued to learn from the communities in which it operates. Some noteworthy events from Face It TOGETHER's history are included below.