"Organized People and Organized Money Builds Power."

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November 11, 2009

At the Community Development Innovation Forum event held on October 16, 2009, Jeanne Dubois, from the Fairmont Collaborative, concluded “organized people and organized money builds power.” Dubois was referring to the benefits of CDC collaboration, which was the topic of the Innovation Forum event.

With over 60 CDC practitioners in attendance, Hollis Van Inwagen and Carole Carlson from New Sector Alliance advocated greater CDC collaboration, using the cases of The Homeownership Center of Worcester and The Fairmont Collaborative (comprised of Southwest Boston CDC, Codman Square CDC, Mattapan CDC and Dorchester Bay EDC) as examples of successful collaborations. New Sector Alliance looked at collaboration from a value perspective and concluded that through collaboration, CDCs can broaden their social impact because they have increased access to capital and more opportunities to measure their outcomes and expand their services.

For collaboration to be effective, CDCs should identify complementary partners and establish administrative efficiency and a single marketing identity. After securing community buy-in and outlining a clear financial strategy, they should discuss their Memorandum of Understanding (MOU). Funders must be brought to the table early so that they can offer technical assistance, invest in any pre-collaboration costs and support the innovation efforts. At the end of the presentation, Van Inwagen and Carlson reiterated that while collaboration can be effective, it is costly and risky and CDCs should collaborate only when there is a strategic imperative or when collaboration broadens programmatic impact.

After the presentation, there was a panel including Jeanne Dubois from The Fairmont Collaborative, Miguel Rivera from The Homeownership Center of Worcester, Carl Nagy-Koechlin from Southshore Housing and Steve Stanton from New Sector Alliance. Dubois and Rivera spoke of their organizations’ successes while Nagy-Koechlin presented a document about the seven types of CDC collaboration. Stanton provided insight based on his experience with collaboration in the for-profit sector and noted that the boundaries between CDCs are starting to dissolve. He added “the spectrum is becoming continuous and collaboration is a better way to execute your mission.”

Read more about our Innovation Forum. In addition, read Carl Nagy-Koechlin's report on CDC Collaboration and view New Sector Alliance's presentation for more information!

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