Pictured (from left): CASA volunteer Karen Goldsmith, Family and Children’s Service CEO Michael McSurdy, CASA executive director Julieanna Huddle, Nashville-Davidson County Juvenile Court Judge Sheila Calloway, and CASA volunteer Carla Fletcher.

Nonprofit organizations can often do more together than they can do alone.

For years, we have known that nonprofit organizations can often do more together than they can do alone. But, also for years, most nonprofits thought that collaboration only meant providing joint programming.

Now, local nonprofits have come to realize that true transformative collaboration combines administrative collaboration with programmatic collaboration.

The Fund for Strategic Opportunities, established thanks to an initial gift in 1999 from The United Way of Metropolitan Nashville, allows a range of interested funders to come together themselves to invest in such transformation by providing financial support for strategic opportunities — opportunities defined by the nonprofits and vetted by the prospective investors.

The Goal: Helping local nonprofits work together to achieve greater efficiency and effectiveness, therebyleading to enhanced stability and sustainability.

The participating funders look for organizations, local to Middle Tennessee, that have already embarked on the path of working differently … together. They don’t have to have “gotten married,” but they must have a commitment to each other and to the bright future they have envisioned together.

In 2015, The Community Foundation joined with other funders to make the 25th grant from the Fund for Strategic Opportunities. Two organizations that “have always worked in the common space of child welfare” had jointly applied for assistance from the Fund so they could share space and leadership. Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA), headed by Julieanna Huddle and founded in 1984, and Family and Children’s Service, founded in 1943 and led by Michael McSurdy, were willing to strategically affiliate to improve their collective efficiency and effectiveness on behalf of the children and families they both serve.

By encouraging nonprofits to transform their organizations to maximize services to their clients and minimize overhead, The Fund has provided and continues to provide support not only for collaborations and mergers, but also efforts to generate new revenue sources, outsourcing, and shared services by utilizing scarce community resources to maximum advantage.

Support The Fund for Strategic Opportunities