COO Learning Community: Community Collaboration Toolkit & Capacity Building Resources!

Communities of Opportunity (COO) defines capacity building as “building an organization and partnership’s infrastructure and sustained civic capacity to actualize equity – policy after policy, issue after issue, year after year.” Critical to actualizing equity goals and building the community capacity for long-term, systemic change are the relationships and partnerships between and among community organizations. Cross-sector, cross-community collaboration is critical to dismantle the systemic, and complex, barriers to equity and justice that harm our communities. To this end, nonprofits and community organizations often collaborate to accomplish a common goal, share resources, build towards social change, and to better serve community. And yet, collaboration and partnership itself can be challenging.  

The COO Learning Community supported the development of a Community Collaboration Toolkit to help community groups navigate the ins and outs of creating a written document that captures the spirit and details of collaborative work between organizations. It is important to have a written agreement, especially when there is money involved, to clarify and be explicit about agreements, purpose, roles and responsibilities, and expectations of a collaboration. Such an agreement can also include processes and values around generative conflict and conflict resolution, partnership norms, and communications and information sharing. The Community Collaboration Toolkit includes key terms (and definitions), key considerations, and key sections or contents of a written collaboration agreement, including a stepwise checklist to help inform collaboration planning and conversation.

We put together this Community Collaboration Agreement Toolkit to help you navigate the ins and outs of creating a written document that captures the spirit and details of your collaborative work together. It is important to have a written agreement, especially when there is money involved, to be sure that everyone is on the same page and so that you don’t have to rely on different people’s memories of what was agreed to.
Community Collaboration Toolkit (March 2022), graphic design by Stacy Nguyen

Download the toolkit and accompanying agreement template at the link below:

Community Collaboration Toolkit launch event recording.

COO is thankful to Jodi Nishioka (Communities Rise & BIPOC ED Coalition), Sarah Tran (Sama Praxis LLC), and Andrea Caupain Sanderson (Byrd Barr Place & BIPOC ED Coalition) and all who shared their wisdom, knowledge and expertise to make this toolkit a reality! The video here featuring Andrea, Jodi and Sarah from the Community Collaboration Toolkit launch event contextualizes the materials and resources in the toolkit, and offers some of what the toolkit can do to support strong and healthy community collaborations. We hope this toolkit can be a resource to develop, strengthen and sustain partnerships and the work for justice and greater well-being in King County.

The Community Collaboration Toolkit is also the first of a series of toolkits and capacity building resources that Communities of Opportunity is launching this year. Coming up are several capacity building opportunities for King County community organizations and community leaders interested in learning more about tools and models that support more equitable processes, practices, and policies – and healthy, self-determined communities.

Upcoming COO Learning Community capacity building events (free to attend!):

Alternative Leadership Toolkit Launch! Friday, April 29, 11am-12pm

Nonprofit and community organizations reflect what is happening in the communities they serve. We are living in turbulent times of political and social upheaval and our community organizations are no exception. We have seen a rise in community leaders questioning and exploring how our nonprofit and community organizations are structured and whether the current and traditional approaches to nonprofit leadership structures reflect the values of the organization and are ultimately serving the community in ways that are authentically connected to the community and take advantage of all the leadership talents of the organization.

Speakers: Jodi Nishioka (Communities Rise); Kad Smith (Twelve26 Solutions); Maha Jafarey (Microsoft, previously The Apex Law Group).

RSVP at the link:

Workshop: Financial Planning for a Sustainable Future: Budgeting, Forecasting and Financial Modeling, Thursday, May 5, 10:00 AM – 12:00 PM

Join us for a conversation about financial planning and how organizations are using budgeting, forecasting and long-range planning to support their visionary work. We’ll look at these questions and more:

  • How do we plan while the future is uncertain?
  • How do I decide who should be driving the planning process and who should be participating?
  • How do I talk with my board when my budget isn’t breaking-even?

Participants will hear stories from organizations that have used planning as a means of aligning the board and strategic priorities with the org’s values, how organizations have used long-term planning get clear about pandemic and post-pandemic goals, and the wins and challenges they encountered along the way. Panelists will also share how to use tools and metrics to make planning easier and keep organizations accountable to their intentions and goals.

Panelists: Amy Michael; Jaimée Marsh (FEEST)

RSVP at the link:

HR and Equity Toolkit Launch! Friday, May 27, 12pm-1pm

Equity is a common value for many organizations today but how do we practice it – not only externally but internally? One of the most important ways is in how we support our organization’s most valuable resources – our employees. COO supported the development of this toolkit to help organizations in developing more equitable policies and practices – particularly in the areas of Compensation, Wellness, and Performance.

Embedding equity – particularly racial equity – in Human Resources is a powerful opportunity to dismantle the systems that were designed to oppress people of color and other marginalized communities – and instead build systems where people can fully participate, reach their full potential and thrive. Learn more about this new resource and related partnership capacity building supports available to COO partners at this launch event.

RSVP at the link:

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