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Exploring Alliances and Collaborations

On May 10 KACF held a session on Exploring Alliances and Collaborations: strategies for increasing effectiveness, cutting costs and expanding reach.

Across the country there is a growing trend among community foundations to collaborate with each other for greater impact. To capitalize on this trend, the Kansas Health Foundation has placed millions on the table in the GROW II grant program for Kansas community foundations to explore the potential of collaboration.

As part of the GROW II Training and Technical Assistance grant of the KHF, KACF brought the Aspen Institute Community Strategies Group co-directors John Molinaro and Janet Topolsky to help KS community foundations build understanding about the range of opportunities and models that community foundations use to work together for mutual benefit; and to provide the common language that participating community foundations can use to discuss, consider or explore opportunities to work together.

  There were outlined three main models:

  1. Strategic partnership;

  2. Service alliance;

  3. Affiliates.

The session was enhanced by remote presentations of representatives of different collaborative models practiced in other states:

- Suzanne Lee, President and CEO of the First Community Foundation Partnership of Pennsylvania - an umbrella organization; 

- Nancy Van Milligen and M. J. Smith at Northeast Iowa Funders Network - where six affiliates of two host foundations collaborate to jointly fund key regional issues; and 

- Gary LaPlant, Executive Director at the Community Foundation of the Upper Peninsula (Michigan) - that practices a model of service hub for neighbors.

The presenters shared their how-to's, challenges and results. The session surfaced and discussed challenges and concerns that may discourage CFs from working together. The participants were also presented with an opportunity to shop for potential collaborations or alliances with participating community foundations and other agencies that were present in the room and were interested.

The full text of the materials provided by the Aspen Institute Community Strategies Group and the list of community foundations interested in service alliances and affiliations is to be posted for KACF members in the Resources Section of the KACF website.

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