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The Conference Board Reports Global Companies Partnering with Nonprofits and Government to Remedy Social Ills, According to New Three-Sector Study.

Joint Report Pinpoints Risks in 'Going It Alone'

NEW YORK, April 20 /PRNewswire/ --

More global companies are partnering with nonprofit organizations and government bodies to address major social issues affecting their businesses, their reputations, and their communities, according to a report by a collaboration of leading groups representing the three sectors. The organizations are engaged in research and public issues development for the business, government, and nonprofit sectors.

The Conference Board, the Council on Foundations, Independent Sector, the National Academy of Public Administration, the National Alliance of Business, and the National Governors' Association have issued Changing Roles, Changing Relationships: The New Challenge for Business, Nonprofit Organizations, and Government.

The joint paper finds that three-sector collaboration is an important strategy to help solve society's major problems. It also finds that nonprofits have benefited from government privatization and contracting initiatives, while also facing growing competition from the for-profit sector.

"Privatization of government and nonprofit functions are forcing nonprofits into new fund-raising strategies at a time when there is more demand for their services," says David Vidal, Director of The Conference Board's Global Corporate Citizenship Research Unit. "It is important to know how to partner well and to avoid a solitary course in this era of mergers, consolidations, and overlapping responsibilities and interests."

"In an increasingly complicated society that faces competing challenges in shorter periods of time, collaboration is an asset for those working on the critical issues facing the nation," says Vartan Gregorian, President of the Carnegie Corporation of New York and an advisor on the report. "No one institution, nor for that matter, no one sector, has a monopoly on ideas, solutions and strategies. Working together, we can better clarify our responsibilities and missions and advance the nation's social agenda."

The report shows how these partnerships are beginning to make a difference:

* 14 entities in Lowell, Massachusetts, including the city of Lowell, the non-profit Streetworker Anti-Gang Program, the YWCA, and private businesses planned and implemented summer camp and educational programs for children ages 3-17 and created 1,800 summer jobs.

* The Partners in Education project in Green Bay, Wisconsin and Wichita, Kansas: In Green Bay in the late '80s, a business leader publicly attacked the quality of education to draw attention to the slipping quality of the workforce. The result was this project, which involved 10 school districts and over 100 businesses and nonprofit organizations and which helps 40,000 students each year to learn about business skills and plan their careers. In Wichita in 1998, Boeing teamed with city and county government to provide mentoring and to improve reading skills among elementary school students. Wichita was the only urban school district in the nation whose students improved academic achievement despite an increasing percentage of the population falling below the poverty level.

* In metropolitan Tallahassee, Florida, coordination problems and redundancies led to uneven distribution of services. The city collaborated with United Way and Leon County government (and invited recommendations from local businesses and universities) to set up a more systematic approach to the distribution of grants. The resulting Community Human Service Partnership (CHSP) distributes funding from the United Way, the city, the county, and the state and Community Development Block Grants in a process requiring only one application and one presentation. The CHSP won HUD's 1998 award for the best practice in community development.

FACTORS IN SUCCESSFUL PARTNERSHIPS

The report notes several common factors that have helped to make collaborations successful:

* A common goal

* A convener

* A structure to organize and manage the core talents of each participant

* Awareness of the geographical dimension

* Effective communication

* Periodic assessment

* Trust and confidence

Source: Changing Roles, Changing Relationships:

The New Challenges for Business, Nonprofit Organizations, and Government

To order this publication, please call the Independent Sector at 888-860-8118 or go to http://www.indepsec.org.

Copies are available to media: please call Frank Tortorici of The Conference Board at 212-339-0231.
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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Apr 20, 2000
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