The Lodestar Foundation announced in April the 2011 Collaboration Prize winner—the Adoption Coalition of Texas. The coalition, which was selected from more 800 applications, was selected based on a combination of mission alignment, focus and impact to tackle a very difficult issue: the placement of mostly hard-to-adopt teens, siblings and minorities who are in the foster care system.
Before the coalition was formed, the five agencies who worked in this space annually placed about 370 teens with ‘forever families’. Under the coalition, they place more than 700 annually. A 100 percent increase is not just amazing, it borders on miraculous for these adoptees who desperately need love and stability.
Here's more on the selection criteria:
Mission Alignment: “We work with one mission – to help kids of all ages and ethnicities get adopted… We hope our example encourages others in the nonprofit sector to create new partnerships, share resources and establish joint programs, as collaboration has been extremely successful in our efforts to provide assistance to more kids, teens and families throughout the state of Texas, while also establishing our organization as a national expert on teen adoption.”
These are the words of Bruce Thompson, Executive Director, Adoption Coalition of Texas (from the press release). Thompson has demonstrated one of the key elements of collaboration: mission-alignment.
Focus: The coalition is made up of five high-profile child serving agencies and the Texas Department of Child Protective Services. Agency executives sit on an Advisory Board of Directors and the Austin Community Foundation provides financial accounting, grants management, human resources, and other back-office support. This public/private partnership stayed focused and addressed challenges—including changes to state law—throughout the process.
On a recent visit to Sarasota, Lois Savage, the Lodestar Foundation's President, thoughtfully opined that the reason the public/private partnership was successful was they it was narrowly focused on one topic.
Impact: In a press release announcing the Collaboration Prize winner, The Lodestar Foundation Chairman Jerry Hirsch stated, “The Collaboration Prize was established to celebrate nonprofit organizations that join forces to deliver substantive community or field impact – showcasing how collaboration is a strategy that can lead to greater social good……The Adoption Coalition of Texas has demonstrated that agencies working together, instead of competing, can effectively advance a shared goal, and in this case, help hard to place children and teens find permanent homes.”
What are your thoughts on Jerry Hirsch’s statement? Do you agree—or not—that working together, instead of competing, can effectively advance a shared goal?
Learn about these and other concepts used in TPF's approach to philanthropy.
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