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Dec. 28, 2016 2:50 pm

Nonprofit Repositioning Fund’s director reflects on its first year

In a published letter, Nadya Shmavonian shared key lessons from working with the fund, which offers grants to nonprofits considering formal collaborations and mergers.

Nadya Shmavonian at the 2015 Philanthropy Network fall conference.

(Photo by Jim Harris Studios)

The Nonprofit Repositioning Fund has been operating for over a year, and Director Nadya Shmavonian has learned a thing or two about nonprofit collaboration in that time.

Among those lessons, which she detailed in a published reflection letter:

  • Interest in the fund’s work has been international — From as far as the U.K. and Paris, while still inspiring likeminded organizations across the United States.
  • This work is time-consuming — These formal collaborations “are not for the faint-hearted,” Shmavonian wrote, recounting the example of one executive director of a newly merged organization who said she needed to focus about one full day out of her workweek on the merger.
  • Most collaborations facilitated by the fund have been kickstarted by a leadership change — Seven out of 11 supported collaborations, specifically.
Read the full letter

Most interestingly, Shmavonian referred to a “shift” from “capacity building” to “nonprofit sector building” in the mindset of the Nonprofit Repositioning Fund’s nine funders.

“We are engaged in supporting collaborations that transcend what have been traditional organizational boundaries,” she wrote — in other words, the whole, rather than the parts, is what’s at stake.

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