What is it? Often, several organizations work on affecting change in the same community, from slightly different perspectives. However, it can be difficult for these groups to identify ways to work better together. A collaborative coalition establishes an overarching group designed to bring organizations together around a shared mission area. The coalition can be permanent or temporary, if a short term issue arises. In either case, a coalition brings groups together to talk, and to plan together how to best move forward on issues ranging from domestic violence to population health to drug prevention. Coalitions enable a community, and participant organizations, to pool resources, leverage existing assets, and design more effective community-wide interventions.
How has it been used? The Virginia Early Childhood Foundation has helped establish 29 Smart Beginnings coalitions that work to improve the opportunities available to young children. Smart Beginnings bring together public and private organizations that touch on childcare, education, and social services. Smart Beginnings coalitions are not focused on running these programs but rather seeking to bring together those already in the field to more effectively accomplish their goals. Whether this is leveraging financial assistance or providing expertise, the collaboration helps children succeed by strengthening the systems and organizations that serve them. These improvements in the social infrastructure may pay big dividends for organizations and people involved and result in better outcomes for young children. (Source: Smart Beginnings)