The Power of Partnership
“One way to drive fear out of a relationship is to realize that your partner’s values are the same as yours, that what you care about is exactly what they care about. In my opinion, that drives fear out and makes for a great partnership, whether it’s a corporate partnership or a marriage.” —Steve Jobs
A couple of weeks ago, I was fortunate enough to attend an AmeriCorps conference in Los Angeles. Geared specifically towards its VISTA (Volunteers in Service to America) members, there was discussion of capacity-building and sustainability as well as small group sessions regarding resource development, volunteer management, marketing, and outreach. It was inspiring to circulate with over 150 VISTA members from across the country, addressing issues such as housing, food security, veterans' affairs, youth mentoring, and Native American higher education, to name a few. While our backgrounds are extraordinarily diverse, we are united in the common goal of improving our communities and enriching the lives of our neighbors. [Photo: dca.ga.gov]
The most compelling breakout sessions I attended focused on creating and maintaining successful partnerships and empowering the community. In pairs, we participated in a “speed-dating” activity, commingling in timed increments to determine if we could form any of the following partnerships: networking, coordination, collaboration, merger, or collective impact with the host-agencies of other VISTAs. Knowing that nonprofits are condemned without creating connections, it transformed into an exercise in conceptualizing possibility. Described also as an alliance, association, or collaboration, a partnership can be defined as a close cooperation between parties with common interests, with cooperation defined as the act of working together for a common purpose. Knowing that Truckee Meadows Parks Foundation was conceived to mitigate the post-recession budget woes of our local municipalities, I became curious as to the nature of our own partnerships. What I found was equally compelling.
The following are excerpts from the mission statements of four local entities in partnership with one another:
“...creating a community that people are proud to call home.”
“...providing for the health, inspiration and recreation opportunities for the people...through the creation and maintenance of high-quality programs, facilities and community special events. Dedication and preservation of natural resources will ensure the opportunity for high-quality leisure experiences for generations to come.”
“...dedicated to quality public service, effective communication and integrity, by enhancing the abundant quality of life in northern Nevada.”
“...protects and enhances our communities’ livability through public engagement, education, and the sustainability of our parks, open spaces, and trails.”
Characterized by shared assets such as geography, institutions, and resources, our community in the Great Basin shares beautiful topography from the tip of Mt. Rose to the Humboldt sink, stable and trusted establishments such as UNR, St. Mary’s Hospital, the Reno-Tahoe International Airport, and the enviable gift of the Truckee River that flows from Lake Tahoe to Pyramid Lake. The commonality in the aforementioned mission statements is a shared interest in our own well-being, both personally and communally; protecting what we have in order to improve not only the quality of our lives, but the lives of our children's children.
Truckee Meadows Parks Foundation is extraordinarily grateful and fortunate for our partnerships with the local municipalities, businesses, and nonprofit organizations. With aligning mission statements, devoted and dedicated employees, volunteers and stakeholders, we have collectively elevated the idea of partnership to an act of fellowship. Our common goals and shared interests unite us. We are fused together as stewards for our parks, each other, and our future: fearlessly.