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Heather Hiscox, Pause for Change, Tucson, AZ
12/Aug/2019

Think about the last time you created or joined a collaborative project or partnership. In my most recent experience I felt optimistic, excited, and hopeful. I also felt scared, territorial, and skeptical. My hope was about how the collective skills contributed by each partner would elevate the work, and my fear was about how my organization’s name and my hard work might get lost in the mix. I also felt a bit of distrust with some of the organizations in the room. None of these feelings were outwardly expressed as I sat around the table. What we discussed was the work of each of our organizations and gaps that we saw in our community that perhaps our collective effort could help to address. While this was a start to identify new or enhanced potential programs, services, etc., I was reminded of the early foundation-building steps that are often missed in a new collaborative effort: empathy and experimentation. Empathy provides the foundation of deep and authentic understanding between collaborative partners and experimentation tests the behaviors you need to see in order to achieve success. What if we asked new questions of one another and what if we held each other accountable in new ways?


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Allandra Bulger Executive Director, Co.act Detroit and Nicole de Beaufort EarlyWorks Founder & President
05/Aug/2019

In the context of increased community need and funding constraints, organizations often feel stuck when it comes to collaboration. Sector dynamics often pit organizations against each other competing for funding, external awareness, and the vocal community ambassadors that can give voice to their respective issue. And, the ever-changing nonprofit landscape is a constant journey, and one in which individual organizations often travel alone. Many of Southeast Michigan’s most pressing challenges and opportunities are connected and realizing impact requires a collective approach, a diversity of perspectives and ideas, and coordination across efforts. The status quo needs to be flipped to one that moves away from organizations chasing dollars to one that would stimulate community-level problem solving and collaborative action.


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Lauren Andraski and Ezzie Dominquez, Posner Center Denver, CO
29/Jul/2019

The Posner Center for International Development is a mission-oriented community dedicated to making the world a more equitable and prosperous place. We believe that we can transform global development through catalyzing collaboration. For mission-oriented centers like ours, it can be challenging to maintain a clear focus on the needs of the community while simultaneously advancing our own organizational aims. In an ideal world, the facilitation and leadership of your network would always be perfectly aligned with your organizational mission. However, it can be easy to fall out of balance or prioritize the many discrete needs of the community over new levels of achievement and visibility for your center.


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10/Apr/2017

Nearly a quarter of all shared space projects are driven by foundations, whether it’s because they have many grantees conducting capital campaigns at the same time, they’re searching for new offices themselves, or they’re looking for a new way to invest in their community. We know that the philanthropic community is a valuable partner to shared spaces, but shared spaces have many benefits for foundations as well.

  • A mission-related investment opportunity: Many foundations invest a portion of their endowment in real estate. Shared space offers the same opportunity with a deep local impact. The Jessie Ball duPont Fund structured the development of the Jessie Ball duPont Center so that its rents generate a reliable return on investment. While the building does not perform at the same rates as other portfolio assets, the foundation sees that the local social return is worth it.
  • The ability to make in-kind grants: The Charles A. Frueauff Foundation in Little Rock, Arkansas, offers in-kind grants of office space for two to five years to qualifying nonprofits. This allows the foundation to leverage its own offices to have a greater impact.
  • The chance to spark community redevelopment: The Melville Charitable Trust purchased the historic Lyceum building in the Frog Hollow neighborhood of Hartford, CT in 2003, an area that had seen decades of disinvestment and decline. Following a building renovation, the space became a hub of housing advocacy and community organizing, leading the Trust to make additional property investments in the neighborhood.
  • The opportunity to be in-the-know: Many foundations that share space with other nonprofit agencies report a value from being at the center of a hub of community activity. Program officers can see first-hand the issues that affect their grantees and become a stronger community partners.

If you represent a foundation that operates a shared space, we want to hear from you. What are the benefits that you’ve seen to your practice as a funder? E-mail us at info@nonprofitcenters.org!


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