November 24, 2015
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in•ter•sec•tor |in,tersektor|
1. a space where government, business, and non-profit sectors share expertise, resources, and authority to address problems that cannot be solved by one sector alone



Research to Practice: Designing comprehensive partnership agreements

By Stella Pfisterer, Research Associate at the Partnerships Resource Centre, Rotterdam School of Management at the Erasmus University

At some point in every cross-sector partnership, the partners will write and sign an agreement. This might be a very simple letter of intent stating their mutual commitment to work together. It might be a Memorandum of Understanding articulating the vision and aspirations of the partnership or a more detailed contractual document setting out the terms of the collaboration and the procedures by which it will operate.

In order to navigate partners through decisions on the content of their partnership agreement, the Partnerships Resource Centre and The Partnering Initiative have developed the Partnering Agreement Scorecard. The tool can be used in both developmental and evaluative contexts, highlighting several takeaways for practitioners involved in various stages of cross-sector collaboration:

  • Include both relational and transactional elements of cross-sector interaction in the partnership agreement.
  • Incorporate a number of rules that guide the general interactions between partners that are not tied to a particular task or activity.

Read more.


New report highlights how cross-sector collaboration can strengthen the non-profit sector



As an organization that explores the potential of intersector collaboration, we’re always interested to hear one sector’s thoughts on how partnerships across sectors can enhance their work. Threads: Insights from the Charitable Community, a new report from Independent Sector, explores the current state of the non-profit sector, synthesizing feedback from a series of community conversations across the country and providing several insights on how cross-sector collaboration can strengthen the sector.

“There is general consensus especially in the non-profit and philanthropic sector that solving societal issues cannot happen within one sector alone," explained Erica Greeley, Vice President of Networks at Independent Sector. Read more.

What We're Reading and Following This Week


Dos and don'ts for civic engagement
In an interview with Jason Shueh of Government Technology, U.S. Federal SocialGov Community Lead 
Justin Herman shared insights on civic engagement. We were interested to hear his thoughts on the link between civic engagement and collaboration: "Digital engagement and citizen engagement isn’t just fueling better programs, those lessons are being used to create an entire collaborative government across the board."

Wanted: 100,000 new STEM teachers
100Kin10 is a cross-sector initiative involving corporations, universities, and non-profits that aims to train and place 100,000 new STEM teachers by 2021. Intersector approaches are popular in tackling issues related to STEM education in the United States
— See our case study on New York's P-TECH, or our blog post on the national US2020 initiative.


System mapping in action
Addressing a complex issue involving multiple stakeholders can be a daunting process, so we were interested to see a recent post from FSG walking through the process of system mapping, specifically related to children's health, learning, and development from birth to age 8. 


Chi-Cal Rivers Fund announces 1.4 million in grants
A cross-sector partnership in Illinois brings together the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, ArcelorMittal, the Chicago Community Trust, and several foundations to help improve and enhance waterways in the Chicago and Calumet region. 

Boston's MBTA could partner with Uber, Lyft
This article from Next City profiles a pilot program between the MBTA, Uber, and Lyft that aims to make transit more accessible for passengers with disabilities. This isn't the first instance of the MBTA working with the private sector in an innovative way to tackle a problem that they lacked the resources to solve on our own. For another example, see our profile of their collaboration with New Balance to build a commuter rail station.

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Case Study Corner:
Improving Public Schools with Business Volunteers in Detroit

Detroit Public Schools face a number of challenges, including budget cuts, school closures, and the expansion of public charter schools, which coupled with the district’s multi-million dollar budget deficit, mean that students in the system suffer. Supported by a grant from the Skillman Foundation, Brooke Franklin of the Detroit Regional Chamber (DRC) spearheaded a DRC advisory council to develop infrastructure that would link district schools with the business community – resulting in Businesses/Organizations Optimizing Learning in Detroit. The program creates partnerships that strengthen education in the district by aligning academic skills with workforce needs. Read more.


Resources for Practitioners

Created for practitioners from every sector, our Toolkit enables leaders to design and implement successful intersector solutions.


Our case studies profile leadership and tactics from successful collaborations in a variety of issue areas, including community revitalization, health and wellbeing, infrastructure, education, and environmental conservation. Our case library is one of the country’s leading libraries on U.S. cross-sector collaborations.

Copyright © 2015 The Intersector Project, All rights reserved.

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