September 15, 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


An Interview with Sarah Goodyear of The Atlantic's CityLab

The Atlantic's CityLab is nearly always part of our morning read here at The Intersector Project, and we were intrigued to come across the publication’s recent City Makers series examining how urban breakthroughs, including 311, bike sharing, and urban recycling, spread and evolve. We asked Sarah Goodyear, who did the reporting work for these pieces, to share her thoughts on civic innovation, cross-sector collaboration, and whether journalists should focus on solutions.

"One thing that is common to all [the urban breakthroughs we profiled in the series] is … there were people, individuals, and city governments that were willing to look at problems that seemed perhaps intractable, or at pieces of infrastructure that seemed to have no use, or at civic relationships that weren’t working," Sarah explained. "And instead of trying to micromanage the details of how those things were happening, instead they really took a big step back and tried to see the entire thing in a different light and to really jump into another frame of mind and do a real paradigm shift." Read more.

Research to Practice: Community social capital linked to collaborative planning in emergency management


In this month's Research to Practice post, we focus on a recent article published in the American Review of Public Administration, which explores the relationship between community social capital — broadly understood as networks of relationships among people who live and work in a particular community — and the presence of formal and informal collaborations in emergency management planning. Read more.

To stay up to date with new research on cross-sector collaboration, check out our September Research Briefing.

The state of research on cross-sector collaboration

An upcoming week-long topic series on our blog

September 21 - 25, we'll be featuring reflections on the state of research in the field of cross-sector collaboration and collaborative governance. Throughout the week, we'll be posting content on Intersector Insights, with a focus on the importance of connecting cross-sector research to cross-sector practice. Visit our blog starting Monday, September 21, and share your thoughts using #research2practice.

What We're Reading and Following This Week

Why success sometimes eludes community efforts to fight social problems
This opinion piece from Bridgespan's Willa Seldon and Meera Chary in the Chronicle of Philanthropy examines the difficulty of long term collective efforts to tackle social issues. “Grant makers have an increasing number of opportunities to invest in community efforts to tackle big social problems,” they write. “But even in the most successful efforts, supporters are finding that achieving the hoped-for results takes many more years — and lots more perseverance — than anybody expected.”

McCray set to unveil Mental Health Roadmap, signature De Blasio plan
NYC First Lady and Chair of the Mayor’s Fund to Advance New York City Chirlane McCray has conducted a series of cross-agency and cross-sector conversations to design a new Mental Health Roadmap for the city. “It is long overdue to acknowledge that our inattention to mental illness is a public health crisis that requires a public health solution,” McCray wrote in a recent column at Informing the roadmap “will be the notion that both governmental and non-governmental service providers of all kinds can contribute to a better, more intertwined mental health care system,” according to coverage in the Gotham Gazette. Read our take here.

Led by new office, De Blasio forms his brand of public-private partnerships
The Gotham Gazette takes a look at some early initiatives of NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio’s new Office of Strategic Partnerships (OSP), launched “with a clear mandate in mind: bring entities together to address income inequality and opportunity gaps in New York City.” The Gazette writes that this administration aims to infuse “the time-honored tradition of leveraging the private sector for public good to focus as acutely as possible on reducing inequities.”

Embedding artists in city planning departments: an intriguing approach to civic engagement
“Artists, it appears, have a knack for breaking down barriers and drawing residents into conversations about community assets and needs,” writes Eileen Cunniffe in the Nonprofit Quarterly. She profiles an experiment in civic engagement in Minneapolis, where experienced community artists are placed in city planning agencies in a kind of advisory capacity. “What began as a one-year demonstration project between the City and Intermedia Arts, funded by ArtPlace America, is now a multi-year arts-based innovation initiative known as Creative CityMaking Minneapolis."

Corporate efforts to address social problems have limits
Thought provoking piece in the New York Times this week that touches on shared value and a forthcoming Harvard Business School report (based on a survey of its alumni) exploring concern over the lack of shared prosperity in the United States.

What do shared value leaders have in common?
From FSG's blog comes this look at not just “the mechanical issues of shared value – how to create, measure, and implement” but at individual leaders, “who are crucial to successfully creating shared value. Who are these shared value champions and what exactly does it take to be one?"

We now publish a weekly briefing on our blog each Friday to capture the new intersector collaborations surfacing across the United States and new, fascinating research and commentary emerging that provides insight into the intersector – the space where collaboration among government, business, and non-profit sectors enables leaders to share expertise, resources, and authority to address society’s most pressing problems.

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Presidio's Cross Sector Leadership Fellows program

If you are a mid-career professional who is passionate about solving some of the toughest challenges we face today, you should consider applying for Presidio's Cross Sector Leadership Fellows program. For more information, check out our two-part blog series on the Fellowship, or visit the Presidio website to apply by September 27.

Case Study Corner:
Connecting Veterans to Resources in the Central Savannah River Area

The Augusta Warrior Project estimates that there are over 66,000 veterans living in the Central Savannah River area, who are entitled to a number of benefits to facilitate transition into civilian life. Many, however, lack an awareness of the resources available to them and so are unable to access services. Under the leadership of AWP Executive Director Jim Lorraine, the Project has taken a collaborative approach, developing partnerships with other non-profits, local businesses, and governmental agencies to improve veteran care in 13 counties in Georgia and South Carolina. Read more.

Upcoming Events


ICMA Annual Conference
We're heading to Seattle Sept. 27 - 30 for this annual gathering of local government managers and staff. Learn more and register.


Data for Good Exchange
The Bloomberg Data for Good Exchange is a catalyst for the use of data-driven problem solving for social good. The goal of this initiative is to connect data scientists, both academic and industry, with the NGO, public sector and non-profit partners who can benefit most from applied data science. (We'll be there!) Learn more.


Washington Ideas
Hosted in partnership with the Aspen Institute, the Washington Ideas Forum hosts an all-star lineup of speakers across two days, covering the biggest newsmaking topics of the moment. Learn more and register.

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.

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