Sarasota, Fla. (April 3, 2013) – ITNSarasota and Lighthouse of Manasota are pleased to announce that the Jerome & Mildred Paddock Foundation has funded the Independent Travel for the Visually Impaired Program, a strategic partnership between the two organizations.
The funding allows ITNSarasota to provide door-to-door transportation to Lighthouse clients who attend classes critical to their future success. This collaboration is a new venture that will begin this year and continue as long as needed.
My eyes lit up and a smile broadened across my face as I read the press release on ITN’s Facebook page. It was a success story for a budding collaboration between two organizations providing critical community services.
Let me share how they got started.
Caroline Chambliss, ITN Sarasota executive director, and Chip Willis, Manasota Lighthouse for the Blind executive director, are seasoned nonprofit professionals but realtively new to their organizations. While introducing themselves around town, John Annis, VP of Community Investment at the Community Foundation of Sarasota County, put two and two together—then served as the connector.
ITN-Sarasota provides transportation services to individuals with vision loss, whether from age or disease. Manasota Lighthouse focuses on helping individuals with vision loss be as independent as possible.
I was privileged to sit with Caroline and Chip during their first meeting. As they sat talking with one another, I observed the synergistic effect one sees when things get off to a smooth start and take off rapidly. From the get-go, Caroline and Chip identified opportunities that would support each other’s missions. A burning issue for Manasota Lighthouse was accessing transportation to transport young adults from their high schools to the Manasota Lighthouse office to enable them to work on career transitions. ITN would be a perfect match…..but funding was elusive. The Patterson Foundation helped identify a potential funder and the rest is history!
What’s next? Well, this is all new to both organizations, and I won’t speak for them, but starting small—the joint grant—has provided the courage to explore more opportunities.
There are many good folks in the nonprofit sector doing good things with limited resources. It’s extremely rewarding to see them acknowledge they can’t do it alone, but they can do so much more together.
How do I know they will continue down the collaboration path? I saw Caroline and Chip today, meeting folks and shaking hands at a community luncheon. I’ll be bold. They are now partners.
It's fun writing about connective tissue that leads to new realities. If you know of any examples, please share!
Learn about these and other concepts used in TPF's approach to philanthropy.
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