Necessity is the Mother of Invention

Posted on December 07, 2011 by Pam Truitt

In the past 18 months—the time that I’ve been in this space—I’ve written or read more about partnerships for organizations providing homeless services than any other.  No question that the protracted poor economic conditions drove the partnerships, but outcomes put each of the organizations on a trajectory for transformational change.

Each partnership is not just unique but seeks to move the needle in one of the toughest social challenges. The snippets below provide a peak into each situation.

Atlanta Center for Self Sufficiency— The merger of two organizations with similar missions has plans to significantly expand services.

Allston Brighton Community Development Corporation and Urban Edge – Created a third entity to manage their combined housing stock, freeing them to focus on their missions—in this case, needs of their respective neighborhoods.

Family Promise of Greater Cleveland— The merger created the largest homeless provider in the Cleveland area and resulted in expanded services.

Lodestar Day Resource Center – Multiple agencies working collaboratively on one campus take a holistic approach to effectively moving clients to positive outcomes.

The most recent example came in a Washington Post story….

The merger of N. Street Village and Miriam’s House. As resources shrank and demand increased, neither organization was in a position to grow. However, soon after the executives began meeting, N. Street Village began offering critical services that Miriam’s House couldn’t afford and the opportunities for a partnership took off.

"Necessity is the mother of invention" comes to mind. If the economy hadn’t changed, many entities would not have sought to change. Fortunately, it did and they did too.

I know there are more cases where necessity is creating more partnerships. Please share your stories!

  • Learn about these and other concepts used in TPF's approach to philanthropy.


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