An Open Invitation

Pam KWhether your title is that of executive director, president, or chief executive officer, as the leader of a health and human service agency one of your greatest challenges is determining how to best spend your time. Compounding this problem is the lengthy list of professional groups dedicated to promoting collaboration between nonprofit programs. Determining which group provides the best use of time and resources can be difficult, but may be becoming an easier decision to make

At the end of the day, many of us working in the health and human services sector have very similar needs and interests and the more closely we can work together, the better we can address the needs of our community. For the last several months you have been reading about the transformation of United Way of Central Illinois to an organization that brings people together to address our community’s greatest challenges. What has been less visible are the similar efforts of the group of executive directors of the current member agencies currently working with United Way.

This past spring, United Way’s Board of Directors expanded the community fund to offer opportunities for any local nonprofit program to apply for funding in the issue areas of Basic Needs, Education, Financial Stability and Health. As a result, the Executive Director’s Council of United Way hopes to expand the reach of our group to include those potential partners. Because United Way funding is no longer restricted to member agencies, it provides us the opportunity to expand the collaborative efforts of our current council. As that potential grows for United Way funding, so does the opportunity for collaboration and joint learning.

With the new funding cycle approaching and United Way hosting Intent to Apply Meetings in early January, we’d like to invite the leaders of our local nonprofits to join us at our next meeting. The Executive Director’s Council meets on the second Thursday of each month at 9:00 am with our next meeting scheduled for January 14. This meeting will be held at the United Way office, 1999 Wabash, Suite 107.

I should note that the Executive Director’s Council is currently comprised of the leadership of 32 local nonprofit agencies with United Way as a partner. The council provides an opportunity to strengthen relationships between local nonprofits and provides a forum to discuss the issues, challenges and needs of our organizations. Plus, the council provides a great way to learn more about United Way’s community fund process.

I would encourage those nonprofit leaders interested in deepening partner relationships and interested in the networking that occurs between partner agencies, to join us for our monthly meetings as we discover the possibilities that new and potentially improved collaborations can bring to Springfield and the Sangamon County area.

Pam Kovacevich is chief executive officer at Girl Scouts of Central Illinois and president of the Executive Director’s Council. Learn more about United Way at www.springfieldunitedway.org. Look for United Way columns weekly in Our Towns.