Collaboration in the U.S. Muslim Nonprofit Sector: Lessons From the Community Collaboration Initiative
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The Community Collaboration Initiative (CCI) was a three-year collaboration of nonprofit leaders, donors, practitioners, academics, and researchers designed to build sustainable collaborations in the Muslim-American nonprofit sector. CCI envisioned a sector where all participants would have a voice in moving these organizations from working in silos to working in partnerships in order to tackle their many challenges. This white paper summarizes the opportunities and recommendations that emerged from CCI. It is a guide for communities, practitioners, and researchers interested in engaging in these collaborations, as well as universities and funders that endeavor to nurture them. These findings hold significant relevance for the nonprofit sector as a whole, but particularly for leaders aiming to enhance their understanding of cross-organization collaborations. It draws on the experiences of the organizational participants and the CCI leadership to reveal best practices for future collaborations. This white paper highlights the factors critical to fostering trust, building programs, and ultimately building integrated groups to contribute to more vibrant, sustainable, and equitable communities. It is essential to recognize that collaboration is fundamentally challenging, and collaboration among experts from different communities and institutions is no exception. These partnerships require that individuals with different resources, cultures, incentive structures, schedules, and skillsets find each other, identify a shared challenge, agree on roles, secure funding, and move through inevitable barriers. When these collaborations succeed, they can have a tremendous effect on the overall well-being of society.