Fund for Our Economic Future Publishes Handbook on Collaboration, Offers to Sponsor Diagnostics

Author Chris Thompson captures know-how honed over more than a decade, provides "how to" and checklists for successful collaboration

CLEVELAND--October 20, 2016--Effective collaboration can result in enduring, positive community change, yet it remains elusive for many. The Fund for Our Economic Future, with support from the Akron Community Foundation, the Community Foundation of Lorain County and the Stark Community Foundation, has created a resource guide for civic leaders grappling with collaboration in their communities. 

"Collaboration: A Handbook from the Fund for Our Economic Future" encapsulates the Fund's lessons from its experiences operating within multiple collaborative environments over the last 12 years and offers concrete guidance on how to move from "coblaboration" to true, effective collaboration. 

Author Chris Thompson, who was with the Fund since its early days and recently started his own consulting practice, takes stock of the Fund's collaboration work to date and draws the following lessons:

  • Collaboration is a process through which independent stakeholders assume shared responsibility for achieving a mutually beneficial common goal. Collaboration should never be the goal; it is a means to the goal.
  • Before collaboration is even possible, specific preconditions -- a compelling cause, galvanizing leadership and high-performing organizations -- need to be met.
  • Effective collaborations all have three common elements -- capacity, process and leadership.

"We asked Chris Thompson to distill our lessons in collaboration in hopes that our Fund will improve its performance," said Brad Whitehead, president of the Fund. "At the same time, we hope this handbook will be useful to others in Northeast Ohio and beyond who are working to support large-scale civic change."

For those desiring to learn more or wanting to strengthen a collaboration, the Fund is sponsoring five individualized diagnostic assessments and learning sessions with Chris. Simply email us at info@thefundneo.org with the name of your organization or collaboration and a short paragraph on why you believe it will benefit from some guidance. Any sector or geography of Northeast Ohio is eligible. The deadline to apply is November 30. We'll announce the winners in early December.

"In this increasingly complex world, authentic collaboration provides real hope for tackling tough issues," said Fund Chair Brian Frederick, president and CEO of the Community Foundation of Lorain County. "Chris provides us with a field-tested guide to accomplish this unnatural behavior."

To download the handbook, click here, or email Sara Lepro, slepro@thefundneo.org, for a hard copy.

About the Fund for Our Economic Future

The Fund for Our Economic Future is an alliance of funders -- foundations, corporations, universities, health care systems, business and civic associations, government entities, and individuals -- that pool their resources and collective know-how to advance economic growth and increase access to opportunity for the people of Northeast Ohio through improved job creation, job preparation and job access, an approach we call Growth & Opportunity. We do this by building shared community commitment, supporting high-impact collaborations and marshalling strategic funding. Since our founding in 2004, the Fund has raised more than $100 million for our efforts, which have helped retain or create more than 21,500 jobs, add $930 million in payroll, and attract $5.3 billion in capital to Northeast Ohio.

Media Contact

Sara Lepro
Director of Communications

Fund for Our Economic Future