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2017 Collaboration Prize Winner

2017 Collaboration Prize Winner

April 27, 2017

A Quick History

What began 14 years ago as a partnership among the JCC, JF&CS, and JAA formed to respond to a federal innovation grant has deeply connected three Pittsburgh organizations serving seniors. AgeWell Pittsburgh has reduced duplication of services and confusion for consumers. Staff at every level are engaged with teams of their peers in operating the collaboration and there is shared responsibility for planning, budgeting, and fundraising for the collaborative.

 

Through AgeWell Pittsburgh, the three agencies have been able to rethink both services and service delivery. In 2011, AgeWell Pittsburgh implemented an outcome measurement tool to collect data across all three agencies that is used to strengthen services. The focus on the community and on outcomes has reoriented the cultures of the three agencies. Today 96% of the 7,000 seniors enrolled in AgeWell Pittsburgh services maintain non-institutional status. These results have made AgeWell Pittsburgh a model that is being replicated in other communities with the same collaborative structure and spirit.

 

Announcing the Grand Prize Winner

AgeWell Pittsburgh is the 2017 winner of the Collaboration Prize — a national award designed to spotlight exceptional models of permanent collaboration among nonprofit organizations. This nonprofit partnership, which supports older adults and their caregivers in leading healthy and independent lives, will receive the grand prize of $150,000.

Ilene Rinn, Senior Manager of Planning and Allocations at the Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh, said:

 

We used to fund and support the three agencies and they were competing. So, we came together and thought about how to better serve these seniors, particularly to keep them out of hospitals and nursing homes, and keep them at home as much as we can. We noticed that between all three organizations, they had a full set of services.

AgeWell hasn’t decided what it will do with the money, and the Collaboration Prize doesn’t set limits or restrictions of that kind on its winners. Rinn said, “In a truly collaborative manner, we’ll figure it out together.”

 

The Capacity-Building Power of the Collaboration

Lodestar sees collaboration as a capacity-building tool. Lois Savage, the president of the Lodestar Foundation, said:

 

When companies merge, there are analytic articles and news reports, but no one was paying attention to what was happening in the nonprofit sectors. So, we decided if we offered a prize, we could use this to develop a body of models. That’s why we started the prize. It wasn’t about finding a winner, but to establish a body of knowledge.

However, Savage said, “One of the indicators of AgeWell being a model is that other communities are replicating it.”

 

About the Collaboration Prize

The Collaboration Prize helps raise awareness of collaboration as a powerful and strategic way for nonprofits to increase their impact. A selection panel comprising major funders of nonprofit collaboration reviewed more than 350 applications from qualified nonprofits for the Prize.

To be considered for the Prize, collaborations needed to be between two or more nonprofits, have a formal written agreement and be in operation for at least 18 months.

The legacy of the Prize is the Nonprofit Collaboration Database, a resource of effective collaboration models among nonprofits. The database currently contains information on more than 650 collaborations, not including the new models from the 2017 Prize process. Nonprofits and other interested organizations can access the easily searchable database at www.grantspace.org/collaboration.

 

For more details, visit Nonprofit Quarterly online by reading 2017’s Collaboration Prize Winner Can Teach a Thing or Two by their senior editor, Cyndi Suarez.