One of the most powerful things a nonprofit can do is collaborate. By that, we mean the kind of collaboration fueled primarily by what’s best for the community meant to benefit from the work. Many lesser forms of collaboration are required by funders or otherwise deemed desirable, but true collaboration comes from a shared sense that the outcomes of more than one organization could be bettered by working together.
The Collaboration Prize can help us make the important distinction between collaborations of substance and the lesser types. Most nonprofits collaborate from time to time, or even a lot but on an impermanent basis. This award focuses on more permanent models, which might include such relationships as administrative collaborations, joint programming, mergers, and alliances.
Each year, the Prize awards $150,000 for work well done. The aim of the Prize—itself a collaboration, a project of the Lodestar Foundation—is not simply to reward the participants but also to gather data that can inform others about effective approaches. (The Foundation Center’s Collaboration Hub at Grantspace hosts a rich database of collaboration models and practices. It’s a resource of over 650 real-life examples from which we all can learn.)
The Collaboration Prize received 350 submissions this year. Twenty semi-finalists were winnowed down to eight finalists. This year’s finalists were Ability Partners, AgeWell Pittsburgh, Chicago Benchmarking Collaborative, Historic Germantown, Multi-Agency Alliance for Children, Power Scholars Academy, P.S. Arts/IOCA, and Stand! For Families Free of Violence. All eight finalists received $10,000 each.
But the winner is…
The winner of this year’s Collaboration Prize is Pittsburgh’s AgeWell, a network approach to services designed to ensure both that seniors have the kind of access and coordination of care they deserve and that that all the agencies function better on behalf of their clients. There are three agencies involved in the service, all