David La Piana // April 25, 2012 15:04
I am just catching my breath from yesterday's launch of the Nonprofit Sustainability Initiative in Los Angeles. With our partners from the Weingart Foundation, The Ralph M. Parsons Foundation, the California Community Foundation, The Center for Nonprofit Management, and the Luskin School at UCLA, we took over Loker Auditorium at the California Science Center for a morning-long event attended by more than 600 nonprofit leaders.
They came in board/CEO pairs, the better to build both awareness and a desire for action that they could take back to their organizations. Against a stark backdrop of reduced funding for the human services, we explored possibilities for strategic restructuring partnerships to strengthen nonprofit organizations in difficult times.
The event sparked a lively dialogue, and I left filled with admiration for the work these organizations do every day, as well as a keen appreciation for the fact that business as usual is no longer an option for a growing number of groups.
My top take-away: nonprofits must find more sustainable business models — on their own or in partnership with others — as they face mounting and in some cases life-threatening economic pressures.
In the next phase of the initiative, we will provide organizational assessments for up to 30 nonprofits that express an interest in finding partners. Ultimately, we hope to support a cohort of partnerships that will inspire the broader Los Angeles nonprofit sector to see alliances and consolidations as a key sustainability strategy.