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About the Clubhouse

A Welcoming Community

Putnam Clubhouse is a welcoming community where adults recovering from mental illness come to rebuild their lives. Participants—called members, not patients or clients or consumers—share ownership and responsibility for the success of the organization. The underlying premise is that each member can sufficiently recover from the effects of mental illness to lead a personally satisfying and productive life. Recovery is achieved at the Clubhouse through work and work-mediated relationships, which are proven to be restorative and provide a firm foundation for growth, self-respect, and individual achievement.

Members work in a unique partnership with their peers and a small trained staff, building on personal strengths instead of focusing on illness. The Clubhouse provides an accepting place to spend the day, valuable work to perform within the organization, opportunities to socialize, health and wellness activities, expressive arts programming, and access to education and paid employment within the wider community.

Participation is voluntary, at no cost to members, and available for ongoing support to adult residents of Contra Costa County who meet the membership criteria.

Our History

Putnam Clubhouse first opened its doors in February 2008 in a 2,400 square foot office space near downtown Concord, close to BART and other public transportation. Initially open just four days per week with two staff members, the program quickly grew to serving more than 150 active participants. The Clubhouse now has a six-person staff, operates six days and three evenings each week, and occupies 6,000 square feet. The Clubhouse space is home-like, comfortable, and modern—conveying a sense of respect and dignity. The facility includes a reception area, office/administrative rooms, career development room, multimedia lab, conference rooms, kitchen and dining area, computer lab, recreation areas, library, thrift shop, gardens, flower arrangement area, and more.

In order to launch the Clubhouse, a group of committed citizens met weekly for years as part of a work group spearheaded by long-time mental health advocate Herb Putnam. Herb and his wife Bev first encountered the Clubhouse Model while on vacation in Kauai. They thought it would be great if a clubhouse program could be started in Contra Costa County. In the spring of 2006, Herb and other members of the work group—including our current executive director, Molly Hamaker, and board member Linda Cardiff—travelled to Salt Lake City to attend Clubhouse International’s New Clubhouse Development Training program. They returned more committed than ever to starting a clubhouse and continued their weekly planning meetings.

Within a year, the working group formed a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, The Contra Costa Clubhouses, Inc., so they could begin to raise money and open the first program. The mission of the new organization was to eventually open three clubhouse programs in Contra Costa, one in each region of the County. The Board of Directors quickly raised a quarter of a million dollars, including a $100,000 grant from community partner John Behavioral Health. In addition to the John Muir funding, $150,000 of other start-up funds were secured from individual donors, including a generous $50,000 contribution from the Putnams. Many supporters, both individuals and organizations, have since provided generous contributions to the Clubhouse. Funding from both the Community Services Bureau of Contra Costa County and the Mental Health Services Act in partnership with Contra Costa Mental Health has allowed for further program expansion, including the addition of evening and weekend activities and peer-to-peer home visits.

Clubhouse International Affiliation

Putnam Clubhouse is affiliated with Clubhouse International and follows the Clubhouse ModelClubhouse program components involve doing the tasks needed to run the Clubhouse (cooking, clerical, fund-raising, etc.), structured employment and educational opportunities, social and recreational activities, community support, outreach to other members, and participation in Clubhouse governance.  Putnam Clubhouse is the first Clubhouse International-affiliated program to open in Northern California.

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