How to Effect Meaningful Collaboration (or, what I learned from a week away at Rock Camp)

I’ve been thinking a lot about collaboration lately. How can multiple actors best come together to merge different (and often competing) cultures and interests, to achieve a common goal? What are the conditions under which something truly significant results? What are the red flags that indicate despite good intentions all around, it’s time to chalk things up to “lessons learned” and walk away?

My desk is piled with some truly fascinating research on the subject. The Bridgespan Group recently assessed twelve “needle-moving” collaboratives nationally, including Philly’s Project U-Turn, to determine what made them work. Their research demonstrates the importance – and collective impact – of using metrics data to clearly define goals and guide decision-making; securing investments from supporters who are willing to take a long-term approach; and creating equal space for both power players and on-the-ground community providers to contribute to problem-solving.

But you don’t need to rely on a bevy of national experts to confirm what works. Consider the Rocktopus. Read more

Fairmount4Free Selection Announcement

Following a long and difficult discussion, we are excited to announce the winning recipient of Fairmount4Free’s inaugural pro bono consulting services. This year, we will be working with PhilaSoup, an organization that hosts a monthly micro-grant dinner that brings together innovative and dynamic Philadelphia-area educators, highlights the great work they are doing and funds exciting projects for implementation in the classroom. Read more

Make New Friends

In a few weeks, kids will head back to school for a new year – different teachers, interesting classes, and hopefully some new friends. Making friends for an organization isn’t all that different from making friends with another kid on the playground. Read more