Collaboration Prize: Alliances Take Center Stage

AgeWell, a Pittsburgh-area program supporting independent living for seniors, has been named the winner of the 2017 Collaboration Prize. This year was the third round of the Prize, which was held first in 2009 and again in 2011. La Piana Consulting has worked with the Lodestar Foundation to manage the award process each round, observing with interest how the landscape of collaborations it has surfaced continues to take shape.

Jo DeBolt, Partner at La Piana, notes that the biggest change this year from rounds previous was the prominence of partnerships identifying as alliances: “We saw a greater number of consortia and coalitions, including the winner (AgeWell) and two other finalists (Chicago Benchmarking Collaborative and MAAC).” There were also some interesting hybrids, such as the merger of Historic Germantown and the Germantown Historical Society, to which a 16-member consortium was also attached. In all, 66% of collaborations in the running for this year’s prize included some form of alliance, more than double than in previous years and overtaking joint programming as the most prevalent type of partnership represented. The proportion of mergers has held relatively steady from year to year at about one in four.

The Collaboration Prize is not limited to new collaborations, so these trends do not necessarily indicate shifts in the kinds of partnerships being formed from year to year. However, Jo notes that overall “the sector has become much more sophisticated regarding both forming and managing complex collaborative relationships.”

See the infographic below for additional data from the 2017 Collaboration Prize, highlighting the organizational effectiveness and community benefit goals of these partnerships [click here or on the image to download a full-size PDF file].