The Power of Partners 

When we talk about dismantling systematic problems like poverty, homelessness, and education, often times our solutions are reactionary. We may put out the wildfire, but on our own, we don’t have the capacity to rebuild the homes, feed the families, or help them recover from their financial loss. We may fix a symptom of the problem, but our solutions alone may be too small to cure the disease. However, through convening strategic relationships, resources and leveraging the power of partnerships, we can collectively convert audacious goals into impact.

At United Way of the National Capital Area, when we say “change isn’t a one-man band” we’re referring to the radical impact that we can achieve when we partner together. On April 1st, 2019 United Way NCA convened area nonprofits for it’s 12th Annual Regional Community Partnership Forum to discuss scaling exponential impact.  The Community Partnership Forum, hosted at George Mason University, provides nonprofit attendees an opportunity to rally around innovation, efficiency and thought leadership.

Lisa Whetzel, Executive Director of Britepaths and longtime partner at United Way NCA’s Financial Empowerment Center in South County, attended the Partnership Forum to deepen her ability to solve problems faster, efficiently and more creatively.

“We’re really excited to partner with United Way of the National Capital Area because of the opportunity it provides Britepaths to expand our resilience programs,” Whetzel shares. “We consider ourselves to be nimble…but we want to see how we can [work] more creatively.”  

Throughout the event, partners were guided through Lean Startup principles by keynote speaker Ann Mei Chang, former Silicon Valley entrepreneur and author of Lean Impact.Chang discussed the importance of cutting down on feedback loops when it comes to innovation, scaling goals to meet the needs of the problems and then changing organizational structures to hold the capacity of that determined goal. Participants were then grouped by tables and given the opportunity to put Chang’s principles into practice with a workshop led by the University of Maryland’s Academy for Innovation and Entrepreneurship.

As regional conveners, United Way NCA has a strategic position in enriching its partnerships with information, structure, and resources that can radically grow the scope of our work. In partnering with United Way of the National Capital Area, nonprofits are not only eligible to receive funding, but they also join a larger network of problem solvers, hand-raisers, and game changers. 

To learn more about what a partnership with United Way NCA can do for your organization, please contact Partner Engagement at partner@uwnca.org.