Collaboration: More Than a Buzzword In the Nonprofit Sector

April 8, 2011; Source: The Collaboration Prize | As a tangible sign of the new importance of collaboration within the nonprofit sector, on Monday the Lodestar Foundation named the Adoption Coalition of Texas the 2011 winner of the $162,500 Collaboration Prize. This year nonprofit organizations nationwide submitted a record-breaking 807 applications for the competition, which a selection panel of foundation leaders then narrowed down a pool of eight finalists, all of whom will receive $12,500.

Equipped with a $63,000 planning grant from the Austin Community Foundation in 2003, a group of representatives from five nonprofit child-serving agencies and the Texas Department of Child Services came together to share their resources and to figure out a way to increase the overall number of adoptions from the state’s foster care system. According to the Lodestar Foundation, since being recognized as a nonprofit in 2004, the Adoption Coalition of Texas has not only created a “seamless child-centered system for families interested in adoption,” but it has also raised the annual number of adoptions throughout the state from 370 to 700.

The Lodestar Foundation established the Collaboration Prize in 2009 as a way to promote “collaborations among two or more nonpro?t organizations that cooperate to demonstrate innovative and effective responses to challenges or opportunities.” As part of its ongoing work, Lodestar also supports the Nonpro?t Collaboration Database http://collaboration.foundationcenter.org/search/searchGenerator.php, an online resource of best practices in nonpro?t collaboration, and a useful resource for future applicants to the Collaboration Prize.—Anne Eigeman