May 10, 2016
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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



Telling the story of your partnership: lessons from the 5 in 1 Collaborative in Milwaukee

Often operating with limited resources and occupied with the complex work of achieving results through cross-sector collaboration, partners sometimes forget a crucial component — telling the story of their partnership. Documenting and sharing the collaboration’s work, whether the collaboration is still in progress or complete, creates transparency, enables partners to communicate the value and legitimacy of cross-sector collaboration, and allows others to learn from, and potentially replicate, collaborative initiatives.

An ongoing collective impact initiative in Milwaukee that relies on cross-sector collaboration is illustrating the value of telling its story with the release of a new report. “School Improvement Innovation and Collaboration” tells the story of the 5 in 1 Collaborative, whose work is having a positive impact on academics and school climate at Dr. George Washington Carver Academy for Mathematics and Science. Read more for guidance on how your collaboration can effectively tell its story.


Research Briefing, May 2016



This month's briefing includes articles about:

  • state-centric versus civil society collaboration models,
  • volunteer programs co-managed by government and non-profits,
  • how partners from different sectors understand impact,
  • strategies for improving childhood opportunity,
  • cross-sector partnerships that aim to integrate new immigrants,
  • and collective voluntary environmental programs.

What We're Reading and Following This Week

Pittsburgh will give civic startups a chance to pilot projects with City departments
This piece in Route Fifty highlights a new initiative in Pittsburgh: “Known as PGH Lab, the pilot program will provide a select group of startup companies based in Pittsburgh and surrounding Allegheny County a chance to work with the City in areas such as citizen engagement, municipal operations, and improving the environment.” For more on this program and a similar initiative in San Francisco, see our piece Bringing together startups and government to solve city challenges.

Collective Impact #ToolBox: Hiring initiative directors
This new resource from Living Cities highlights tips and lessons learned from current leaders of collective impact initiatives. We find the advice to be applicable to any cross-sector collaboration looking to Identify a Manager. The piece highlights qualities to look for in potential candidates and the short- and long-term challenges for this position.

Mayors: Flint could happen to us
“Nearly 1 in 3 American mayors think they may already have hurt their own citizens by making cost-saving decisions on critical infrastructure,” says new data from POLITICO Magazine‘s fifth national Mayors Survey. In the wake of the crisis in Flint, the survey reveals that although infrastructure issues often fall on cities to address, cities lack the resources to make much-needed fixes. Says Roy LaHood, former Secretary of Transportation, “Mayors are struggling to find the money from their governors and states — struggling to find the resources to keep their buses and transit systems running, to keep up the infrastructure at airports, to fix up bridges and interstates that are crumbling.”

The key to making economic development more equitable is making it more democratic
This piece in The Nation examines how the participation of local residents can make economic development more equitable. It touches on cross-sector collaboration and how community engagement can help mitigate the potentially negative impact of private interests on economic development policy: "By providing representatives of often-overlooked constituencies with a real seat at the table to shape, implement, and monitor economic development policies, grassroots participation offers the hope of a more equitable approach to economic development.” For tips and tactics for successfully engaging the community in a cross-sector initiative, see Research to Practice: Engaging citizens to improve outcomes of public-private partnerships in transportation.

From stalemate to solutions
This SSIR piece comes from Karen Abrams Gerber and Andrea Jacobs, co-founders of Rally Point for Collaborative Change. They share their thoughts on the Convergence Center for Policy Resolution: “The organization’s unique approach to collaboration enables adversaries to work together and develop breakthrough solutions. It starts with targeting and framing an issue, and then enrolling a wide spectrum of stakeholders. Over an extended period of time, these stakeholders attend a series of expertly facilitated meetings to explore the issue and identify solutions, and finally take joint action.”


We 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.

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Case Study Corner:
Retrofitting Homes for Energy Efficiency in Portland

An estimated 40 percent of carbon dioxide pollution in the United States comes from energy used in homes. In Portland, Oregon, the Bureau of Planning and Sustainability wanted to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in the city while bettering the economic and social development of local residents and businesses. In 2009, stakeholders came together to draft a plan designed to provide energy upgrades to 500 Portland homes and cut energy consumption by 10 to 30 percent using an innovating financing model to eliminate the upfront costs that deterred homeowners from pursuing environmentally friendly energy retrofits. 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 © 2016 The Intersector Project, All rights reserved.

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