Leadership for Sustainable Communities
The Lodestar Center for Philanthropy and Nonprofit Innovation has been part of the leadership of several important community initiatives designed to strengthen Arizona's nonprofit sector.
Freeport-McMoRan Leadership for Sustainable Communities Initiative
Building on over eight years of a strategic partnership to support the capacity of nonprofit organizations in rural communities, the ASU Lodestar Center and Freeport-McMoRan created a leadership development program designed to promote evidence-based collaborations in rural communities. This cohort-based program model leveraged the knowledge and passion of local leaders to determine the most critical challenges and identify powerful opportunities for change in their communities. Each community cohort conducted research and developed a plan to address their key outcome while participating in web-based leadership development programming provided by the ASU Lodestar Center on topics such as Asset-Based Community Development, strategy and work plan development, resource development and group facilitation.
Now, more than ever, nonprofit organizations are called upon to serve great community needs with extremely limited resources. This challenge is great for all nonprofits, but even greater for those in rural communities. For nonprofits to succeed, it is critical that they are not only managed efficiently and effectively, but also that they operate with a focus on sustainability. Equally important to the understanding of sustainability is the emphasis of local leadership and building collaboration for sustainable communities. It is increasingly necessary for organizations to partner along a collective impact continuum that requires coordination and collaboration around issues of systemic community change and joint funding strategies. The Leadership for Sustainable Communities Initiative supported community leaders in navigating these challenges as they work to develop strategies to combat their communities' most pressing issues.
Starting in 2009, ASU partnered with Freeport, building the capacity of nonprofit organizations in selected communities and helped them achieve sustainability through a series of offerings. Nonprofits serve an important function by helping the most vulnerable members of the community and impacting quality of life in ways not addressed by the private sector. The ASU Lodestar Center works to ensure that the organizations fulfilling this important role have the knowledge and tools they need to be as effective as possible. Given the high need and limited resources, organizations often allocate most of their time and resources to service delivery, without regard to organizational or community sustainability. Services provided by the Lodestar Center give nonprofits the opportunity to evaluate what they do and explore ways to do it better.