Partnerships Work

March 04, 2015
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Karen Beavor shares how the power of multiple simultaneous partnerships takes GCN's work with nonprofits even further.

Partnership is central to nonprofit endeavor. At the core of our work is a partnership with a community of citizens—otherwise known as volunteers, donors, board members, communities of faith, neighborhood associations, and our own beneficiaries. Layered around this core partnership are intricate webs of collaboration with other organizations, institutions, government entities, and businesses, forming multiple overlapping and interconnected consortia of socially-minded players.
 

You might say that the tangle of leadership and objectives in this partnership web is what makes the sector messy. But that same mix of viewpoints, experiences, approaches, and skills is also what makes the sector innovative, approachable, and exciting.

The GCN member network is a vast, deep partnership that drives change and progress across Georgia. As the state’s largest association of nonprofits, our collective influence is powerful, our scale is impressive and well-documented, and our collective economic and mission impact is critical to the state’s wellbeing. But GCN sees, constantly, how the power of multiple simultaneous partnerships—that layered web of networks—takes our work with nonprofits even further.

The GCN member network is a vast, deep partnership that drives change and progress across Georgia. We see, constantly, how the power of multiple simultaneous partnerships takes our work with nonprofits even further.

In Augusta, a group of local and statewide donors has coalesced to put a cohort of arts groups through GCN’s capacity-building Momentum program. This increased capacity will, in turn, propel a vision for building a riverfront “arts corridor” destined for a central role in the city’s downtown economic revitalization strategy. Meanwhile, on the Westside of Atlanta, The Arthur M. Blank Family Foundation is supporting Westside Works, a collaborative effort with key nonprofit workforce developers preparing residents to participate in the economic potential catalyzed by the new Dome. With GCN, the Blank Foundation is now offering our Momentum program to ensure additional local nonprofits can scale their work to serve the greatest number of residents possible. Georgia Gives Day, too, is a massive partnership involving media leaders, corporate consultants, government agencies, foundations, and nonprofits—a partnership that’s driven thousands of new donors to give, elevated the profile of the sector, and raised, to date, more than $5 million for Georgia nonprofits.

At the same time, our Building Community Network with The Home Depot Foundation is engaging more than 120 nonprofit CEOs in new approaches to collaboration, like Design Thinking, that solve tough organizational and community problems. Our collaboration with The Bridgespan Group is equipping 40 nonprofits to better collaborate as teams, and enabling GCN to deploy more trained consultants to Momentum projects in communities around the state. And our partnership with Independent Sector amplifies Georgia’s policy voice in Washington.

In short, coming together in partnership around issues that matter is common, and fundamental, to all of our work. At the organization level, the community level, and the state and national level, the issues are large—too large for any one person, organization, or idea. Strengthening and leveraging the web of partnerships among us is the only way to solve them. At GCN, whether you need an advocate, a coach, an idea, or just a friend, you will find a welcoming partner in our staff. And know, as always, we are proud to call you our partner.

Karen Beavor is President and CEO of the Georgia Center for Nonprofits.

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