The Importance of Community Partnerships

Community partnerships can be great opportunities for schools to not only connect students, parents, nonprofit organizations, and educators to increase funding chances, but also a measure to create advocacy for education and work towards achieving a common goal.

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Community partnerships allow organizations and educational institutions to share responsibilities by engaging in meaningful ways, while actively involving all parties in the process. Many nonprofit organizations offer specific grants aimed at creating community partnerships and require collaboration between the grantee and the community.

Impact
By partnering with a community organization, schools can combine resources to have a greater impact at a lower cost. For example, if a grant requires a financial match, a partnership can help leverage this match. Partnerships can broaden your reach beyond your students to other children in the community. Pooling resources, such as staff, volunteers, time, supplies, and space, can help reduce the costs of your programs.

Finding Common Goals
Schools and community organizations with similar goals and programs have an unmatched opportunity to join forces when applying for funding. This can be a meaningful way to strengthen your grant proposals. Funders favor proposals where collaboration extends the reach and impact of the grant. If a school does not have tax-exempt status, using a community organization as a fiscal agent can widen the school’s eligibility for grants.

Sharing Strengths
Partnerships allow each organization to take the lead on aspects of the project where they have expertise. For after-school programming or mentoring programs, schools may be able to offer space, materials, and equipment, while the partner organization offers volunteers and staff.

Schools that partner with community organizations can also reach out for other needs they have. For example, community organizations are useful resources for teachers who want to invite professionals from a particular field to their classrooms to engage students in experiential learning.

Involving the Community
Making connections in the community gives community members a sense of responsibility and ownership on either side. Students who are involved in community projects engage in service learning while achieving their academic or personal goals. Likewise, community members involved in school projects get an insight into how their local school works and what the school’s specific needs are. 

Community partnerships ultimately bring benefits to both the school and the community. Partnering with a community organization increases a program’s impact, strengthens grant proposals, and involves the community in students’ education.

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