The Imperative of Collaboration

An excerpt from the Summer/Fall 2009 issue of the Journal of Jewish Communal Service, published by the Jewish Communal Service Association of North America:

The Imperative of Collaboration: Partnering Together in Tough Times

by Sally Weber and Michelle Krotinger Wolf

Working in close collaboration with other Jewish agencies and organizations to achieve mutual programmatic goals has taken on new urgency with increased
client demand and reduced financial resources. This trend is expected to continue, and ongoing economic pressures may require many Jewish nonprofits,
synagogues, and schools to scale back their social services offerings unless they can successfully work together with other existing organizations.

Many new and innovative programs that require adding staff with specific expertise can no longer be taken on by just one entity, which mandates that  organizations working in similar programmatic areas partner together to more efficiently meet client demand. In addition, collaboration provides the opportunity to bring together partners representing a wide range of resources, resulting in a “whole” that is significantly more effective than any of its parts.

The model presented in this article is HaMercaz, a one-stop program for Jewish families who have children with special needs and developmental disabilities.
HaMercaz is a collaborative effort of the Jewish Federation of Greater Los Angeles and Jewish Family Service of Los Angeles, along with six other local
Jewish agencies/organizations. In this article we share its history and its evolution as part of an exploration of how a community assesses needs and rallies the resources of partner agencies and organizations in both meeting those needs and creating a new and dynamic entity. We also focus on why a broad-based collaborative model was chosen, how the collaborative teams were developed, and the ongoing strengths and challenges of this model. As Dr. Steven Windmueller, dean of the Los Angeles campus of Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion, has written in a recent essay, “mergers and collaboration will be code words that may well define this era”

[The complete article, The Imperative of Collaboration: Partnering Together in Tough Times, is available for download – copyright Jewish Communal Service Association of North America; you can also subscribe to The Journal and help support its continued growth.]