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A Handbook from the Fund for Our Economic Future

by Chris Thompson

Oct 28, 2016

Effective collaboration can result in enduring, positive community change, yet it remains elusive for many. The Fund for Our Economic Future, with support from the Akron Community Foundation, the Community Foundation of Lorain County and the Stark Community Foundation, has created a resource guide for civic leaders grappling with collaboration in their communities. 

"Collaboration: A Handbook from the Fund for Our Economic Future" encapsulates the Fund's lessons from its experiences operating within multiple collaborative environments over the last 12 years and offers concrete guidance on how to move from "collaboration" to true, effective collaboration. 

Author Chris Thompson, who was with the Fund since its early days and recently started his own consulting practice, takes stock of the Fund's collaboration work to date and draws the following lessons:

  • Collaboration is a process through which independent stakeholders assume shared responsibility for achieving a mutually beneficial common goal. Collaboration should never be the goal; it is a means to the goal.
  • Before collaboration is even possible, specific preconditions -- a compelling cause, galvanizing leadership and high-performing organizations -- need to be met.
  • Effective collaborations all have three common elements -- capacity, process and leadership.