The Patterson Foundation, La Piana team to facilitate partnership conversations for nonprofits and civic entities

Posted on March 02, 2011 by Pam Truitt

Now that you know I am in a new space, you are sitting on the edge of your Aeron chair wondering, "What is your new space?" right? The Patterson Foundation's Collaborative Restructuring Initiative (CRI - don't laugh too hard at the acronym!) is about creating an opportunity to think about ‘what could be’.

In plain English, that translates into facilitated conversations that could lead to alliances, collaborations, partnerships, networks and mergers.

In the last blog, you learned a little bit about The Patterson Foundation.  Today, I open the conversation on why TPF is in this space.

TPF has a ‘blank charter’ to go into the world and ‘do good in a way that maximizes impact’. Because of this, the foundation has the flexibility, opportunity and responsibility to do what others cannot, will not, and are not doing.

Having seen and observed how nonprofits—mostly outside of the Southwest coast of Florida (where I’m physically located) collaborate for greater impact, Debra Jacobs, The Patterson Foundation's president and CEO, knew that other foundations (and we have two awesome community foundations) were focused on programs and training. She saw an opportunity to build capacity for facilitated conversations between nonprofits around ‘what could be’.

How do nonprofits (and civic entities) realize what they could gain from partnerships if they never have a conversation by a neutral third party? Enter La Piana Consulting. Through research and references, TPF selected La Piana Consulting, in Emeryville, Calif., for its partner in this venture. La Piana was formed a dozen years ago by three foundations and has completed around 150 nonprofit partnerships around the nation. They are clearly a leader in the field.

La Piana is guiding TPF as we embark down this road. Presently, we are undertaking a few pilot projects. Additionally, La Piana offers consultant training to build capacity for this type of work in our region. We know this is not easy work, so TPF has created a relationship with three other foundations that are using La Piana as their expert and technical support.

The Foellinger Foundation (Ft. Wayne, IN),  Community Foundation for Greater Atlanta and the Foundation for the Carolinas (Charlotte, N.C.) are all moving (in varying degrees) in the ‘strategic restructuring’ space. All want successful programs to help nonprofits be the best they can be.  That’s why we are talking with each other—to learn and share.  Collaborating with other foundations across the U.S. that are taking risks to build capacity for the benefit of others is part of TPF’s learning journey and a component of being a new realities foundation.

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


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