A Publication of WTVP

Collaboration in the nonprofit world is a common way of doing business. Whether it’s to create back-office efficiencies, consolidating similar programs and services at different agencies, or bringing together several organizations to create community-wide change, nonprofit collaboration is a working reality in the health and human care network.

For the Heart of Illinois United Way, collaboration is not only a key component in how we raise dollars, it’s vital to making an impact on the education, income and health needs of our community. Last year, we concluded the fifth year of our Vision: 2012 strategic plan. The number one strategic goal of this plan was to position the Heart of Illinois United Way as a leader in solving the health and human service needs of our community by identifying issues, establishing and funding outcomes, creating community initiatives, and driving collaborative efforts.

From our Success By 6 early childhood initiative to the Heart of Illinois 2-1-1 information and referral service, our United Way is building community-wide relationships that are the foundation for a stronger and healthier central Illinois. As we transition from Vision: 2012 to our new Community Vision plan, the Heart of Illinois United Way is in a unique position to leverage partnerships in order to gain momentum at making a positive impact on the areas of education, income and health.

Here are just a few ways the Heart of Illinois United Way is effectively utilizing collaboration:

In deciding which programs to support through our outcome-based grant process, Heart of Illinois United Way volunteers look for collaborative efforts between agencies. Collaboration not only leads to greater efficiency, it also helps people in need have better access to services. This year, two new programs, both collaborations, received funding. Prairie State Legal Services formed a new collaboration with Community Workshop and Training Center, EP!C and Tazewell County Resource Center to provide legal advocacy for persons with disabilities; and the Children’s Home is collaborating with Easter Seals to fund teacher training and accreditation for a new autism school focused on children ages four to nine.

Establishing new relationships and utilizing existing networks are not new concepts for business, and as more nonprofit organizations use these practices to form successful collaborations, the opportunities for community-wide change grow exponentially. As the United Way moves forward with its Community Vision plan, it positions the organization to build collaboratively governed, community-wide initiatives that offer several organizations the opportunity to have a significant impact on priority needs in the community and improve the overall quality of life in central Illinois. iBi