The Intersector Project’s case studies tell the stories of intersector collaborations, which involve participants from multiple sectors working toward a common goal.
In the early 2000s, tens of thousands of animals were euthanized each year in New York City shelters. The Mayor’s Alliance for NYC Animals, city government, and Petco came together to advocate for abandoned and homeless dogs and cats, a partnership that resulted in a dramatic drop in the euthanization rate in New York City’s animal shelters over the past 10 years.
In the 1970s, the unemployment rate in Jamestown, New York was 10 percent – higher than the national average. Mayor Stan Lundine, labor unions, and local business leaders came together to develop a collaboration that would improve labor relations and bring new industry to the city.
The closing of a fifty-year-old livestock market threatened the livelihood of local farmers. A new central livestock market opened through a collaborative effort across sectors, reinvigorating the region and making small-scale livestock farming economically viable once again.
East Lake Meadows was the site of a public housing project in Atlanta infamous for its high crime rates and drug trade. The East Lake Foundation was established in 1995 to help transform the neighborhood and create new opportunities for residents. Working with the neighborhood and expert public and private partners, the foundation developed a new community on the site of the public housing project.
The streets of the Crotona East neighborhood in the Bronx encouraged speeding, and motorists frequently disobeyed traffic signals, creating dangerous conditions for pedestrians. Through collaboration with the New York City Department of Transportation and Crotona East’s residential, business, and social service communities, a streetscaping project redesigned the streets to improve pedestrian safety and access and to create public space and greenery.
The percentage of foreign-born U.S. residents is more than 40 million – nearly 14 percent of the population in 2012; the City of Dayton wanted to “promote immigrant integration.” Through cross-sector collaboration, Welcome Dayton has publicized the needs of various immigrant communities, helped leverage the assets of existing groups working on immigrant issues, and promoted a cultural shift toward immigrant inclusion.
The Bethlehem Steel Plant closed in 1995, leaving abandoned a 1,800-acre industrial site, the largest privately owned Brownfield – a site that had been used for industrial purposes that can be used once hazardous waste or pollution is cleared – in the country. Over a twenty-year period, the city, Bethlehem Steel, and several investor groups worked collaboratively to develop a plan to convert a 135-acre plot for both commercial and cultural use.
In 2007, Los Angeles had more than 700 individual gangs with 40,000 members. In response to the crisis, the Advancement Project created a report providing a framework for how the city should approach gang reduction, which included input from 47 subject matter experts and prompted the creation of the Gang Reduction and Youth Development (GRYD) office. The collaborative program implements the city’s new comprehensive, community-building approach to gangs.
In 2005, Hurricane Katrina destroyed the St. Bernard Public Housing Development, the largest of its kind in New Orleans. Civic leaders formed the Bayou District Foundation (BDF) to work with government and business to redevelop SBPHD, implementing a holistic community revitalization model that would provide residents safe mixed-income housing and access to quality education, public services, community programming, and neighborhood businesses.
The greater Cincinnati area faced a shortage of workers equipped with the skills to match the labor demands of employers. In response to this gap, organizations from the community and non-profit, business, and public sectors created Partners for A Competitive Workforce in 2008. This collaboration provides organizational support to identify employer needs, connect workers to educational programs that help them develop necessary skills, and facilitate worker readiness.
For decades, the riverfront in Detroit was dotted with run-down industrial sites, parking lots, and overgrown shrubbery, rendering it unusable to the general public. In 2002, a group of local philanthropic leaders, representatives from state and local government, and local businesses, such as General Motors, saw the potential for positive redevelopment and came together to breathe new life into the city’s riverfront.
In the city of Somerville, outside of Boston, the high rate of obesity among fourth graders matched the national obesity epidemic. As children have limited control over the food and physical activity options available to them, only a citywide initiative could reverse this trend; the Shape Up Somerville program aims to prevent obesity in early elementary school-age children through a community-wide initiative focused on environmental and policy strategies.
San Francisco faces a 62 percent chance of being hit by a large earthquake in the next 30 years. To prepare, San Francisco’s Department of Emergency Management (DEM) needed to reimagine its disaster preparedness and recovery strategies. Alongside non-profits and the design firm IDEO, San Francisco’s DEM created a new disaster preparedness website and awareness campaign: SF72.org.
Each year, approximately 300,000 people in the United States suffer a cardiac arrest outside of hospitals. In order to increase out-of-hospital cardiac arrest survival rates, CARES collects data on areas of the EMS system that need attention. CARES’ mission is to save lives by strengthening collaboration among 911 centers, EMS agencies, and hospitals.
San Francisco’s homeless population ranks among the highest per capita in the country. Project Homeless Connect brings business, governmental agencies, and non-profit organizations together to provide a one-stop shop for the homeless population to access much needed goods and services.
The Augusta Warrior Project (AWP) is a non-profit organization dedicated to improving the lives of veterans in the Central Savannah River Area. In collaboration with University of South Carolina at Aiken, AWP created a Veterans Center to continue its mission of improving the educational opportunities available to veterans.
When Boston was rocked by a series of snowstorms in the winter of 2010 that cut power to thousands, school buses were delayed for hours, and parents were left wondering as to the whereabouts of their children. The collaboratively-created mobile app, “Where’s My School Bus?” rapidly and securely relays student bus locations to parents.
In the early 2000s, the University of Texas School of Public Health – Brownsville found that 80 percent of Brownsville residents were either obese or overweight, one in three were diabetic, and 70 percent did not have healthcare. A collaborative, citywide initiative – including support from the public health team at UT, city officials, local physicians, and a newly formed Community Advisory Board – came together to promote healthy initiatives throughout the community.
While there have been many clean energy innovations in the United States, transitioning from a fossil fuel-based energy system has not been simple for the average homeowner. In California, to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 33 percent, city government, researchers from UC Berkeley, and solar power companies put in place the Berkeley FIRST program, which provided homeowners with a long-term financing option to install solar panels on their homes.
Southern California’s Colton Crossing is one of the busiest railway junctions in the United States, serving as many as 120 trains per day and requiring trains to idle at the crossing for an average of 50 minutes to four hours. Railway traffic was predicted to double by 2020. A federal grant allowed a limited amount of time for a collaboration across sectors to solve the problem.
In 1992, Hurricane Andrew left Florida devastated. A long-standing flaw in the bureaucratic system – the lack of a uniform, statewide building code – threatened community efforts to rebuild homes and businesses and to obtain disaster relief funds. A collaboration among government, private contractors and businesses, and local non-profits helped to create a new, improved statewide code.
Located within minutes of downtown Houston, Buffalo Bayou Park is a 160-acre, 2.3-mile-long public space that has been subjected to years of neglect. In 2010, the Buffalo Bayou Partnership (BBP) received a $30 million grant, which served as a fundraising catalyst for the park’s revitalization. Collaborating with the City of Houston, the Harris County Flood Control District, design firms, and community groups, BBP has worked to transform the park for the community.
Alaska’s vast size, sparse population, and difficult terrain makes communication and transportation across the state a challenge. As a result of growing concerns over potentially hazardous disruptions to Alaska’s critical infrastructure, the State of Alaska, Department of Defense, and several private sector organizations set out to develop a central, cross-sector mechanism to gather and share critical information. The resulting Alaska Partnership for Infrastructure Protection (APIP) has a mission to protect infrastructure essential to Alaskans by improving collaboration across sectors.
In 2010, wildfire and subsequent flooding north of Flagstaff, Arizona caused more than $150 million in combined suppression and recovery costs. A similar fire on slopes above Flagstaff has the potential to disrupt 50 percent of the city’s water supply, resulting in significant long-term financial and lifestyle impacts in the community. The Flagstaff Watershed Protection Project (FWPP) is a multi-level partnership between city, county, state, and federal governments, with support from local non-profit and for-profit organizations, to mitigate the risk of potentially devastating wildfires in Flagstaff’s critical watershed areas by managing forest fuels and restoring natural ecosystem functions.
Even though almost 15 million Americans were unemployed in 2010, companies like IBM still saw a lack of qualified candidates for STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) positions. A collaboration across sectors founded the Pathways in Technology Early College High School (P-TECH) in New York City to prepare students for these jobs.
Rochester, New Hampshire was actively trying to improve economic development opportunities for its citizens following the relocation of several industrial companies, and recognized Safran and Albany’s need for an educated workforce to build a new product as an opportunity to increase jobs in the area. In partnership with Great Bay Community College, city officials proposed that the companies build their manufacturing site in Rochester and source a certified workforce from GBCC.
The Detroit’s public school system’s standardized test scores rank among the lowest in the country. But through the Detroit Public School Volunteer Business Corps, businesses and community organizations are energizing schools and students. The organization connects businesses and philanthropic organizations to Detroit schools, and volunteers provide interactive and engaging lessons based on the specialty of the business or organization.
More than 60 percent of the available jobs in the United States require post-secondary education. The formation of the Advancement Via Individual Determination (AVID) Program, a non-profit dedicated to preparing underachieving students for success in postsecondary institutions, allows tutors to work with diverse students and help them attend postsecondary institutions. Today the AVID program serves more than 700,000 students in 4,800 schools.
In 2003, the City of Baltimore created a development corporation, East Baltimore Development, Inc. (EBDI), which would “revitalize, re-energize, and rebuild the East Baltimore neighborhood.” With strong backing from Johns Hopkins, EBDI united a range of partners including foundations, the community, and the city to transform a school into an innovative community resource. Elmer A. Henderson: A Johns Hopkins Partnership School is the first public school to be built in East Baltimore in more than 20 years.
In the greater Roaring Fork Valley in Colorado, 53 percent of families living in the 80-mile corridor between Aspen and Parachute live below the self-sufficiency standard. Only 73 percent of low-income youth in the region graduate high school, and many that do graduate do not to attend a four-year college. Recognizing that this problem reached beyond the classroom, the Aspen Community Foundation created the Cradle to Career Initiative (CCI) in 2011, bringing together the non-profit, government, and business.
Children and youth in foster care face a unique set of educational challenges, including frequent school transfers and a lack of stable academic support and guidance. FosterEd is an initiative of The National Center for Youth Law, a national non-profit working to improve the lives of at-risk children, that improves the academic outcomes of foster children by ensuring they are supported across sectors by education champions and strengthened by education teams.
In the early 2000s, community and technical colleges in Washington State began to observe a troubling trend: many students enrolled in basic skills programs were not acquiring the credentials necessary to advance to college-level programs or secure employment. In collaboration with governmental agencies and businesses, the innovative I-BEST program has helped to reverse this trend and get students into the workforce and college with advanced skills.
After growing protests in Kerala, India caused the state to ban the production of Coca-Cola products in 2005, the company became determined to improve their water efficiency and overall water stewardship throughout their worldwide operations.
A history of industrial pollution created “toxic hotspots” along the Elizabeth River, including at Money Point, where studies revealed cancer rates of 38 percent and precancerous lesions in 83 percent among the small, hardy fish known as the mummichog. A cross-sector effort on dozens of projects along the river has reduced future pollution and restored wetlands, with a goal for the entire Elizabeth River to be both swimmable and fishable by 2020.
The shortgrass prairie of Eastern Colorado is host to more than 200 plant and animal species across 27 million acres of land. In 2000, a group of scientists and government agencies found that a lack of land conservation had led to the decline of more than 100 species, with 33 species at risk of extinction. A conservation partnership across sectors incorporated disparate interests, allowing for effective conservation of the shortgrass prairie while permitting continued highway infrastructure development and farming.
Seattle’s forested parks faced damage due to a number of invasive parasitic plants. In 2004, experts projected 70 percent of trees would be dead in the next 20 years. Joint efforts among the city, local businesses, and non-profits were able to launch a community-involved program to restore the endangered trees.
California’s Marine Life Protection Act severely restricted fishing in the Crystal Cove State Marine Protection Area. The Crystal Cove Alliance, which manages the area along with state agencies, created new educational and scientific programs that utilize local fishing boats, providing a new source of income for fishermen who previously had opposed the legislation and furthering CCA’s environmental conservation efforts.
In 2007, smoke emitted by New York City buildings burning residual fuel oil caused more pollution than all of the vehicles on the city’s roads combined. To improve air quality, the Clean Heat Task Force emerged as a collaborative effort with partners from private real estate interests, the city, oil companies, and the Environmental Defense Fund.
Clean Energy Works Portland is a pilot program for saving energy, improving a home’s comfort and value, and reducing carbon emissions, while creating high-quality jobs for Portland residents in the process. It was designed in partnership with stakeholders to set forth a series of community goals and standards concerning job quality, diverse business participation, and access to opportunity for workers from under-served and historically-disadvantaged communities. This cross-sector effort has been scaled into the statewide initiative, Clean Energy Works Oregon.
Since the 1950s, the Rocky Flats Plant in Golden, Colorado produced all plutonium triggers for U.S.-made nuclear warheads. The facility stopped nuclear production in 1989, and five years later, Rocky Flats sat unused and badly contaminated. The Department of Energy labeled the site “one of the country’s most significant nuclear vulnerabilities,” projecting that cleanup would take 70 years and $36 billion. That same year, Kaiser-Hill Co. won a contract to clean up the Rocky Flats site. DOE, Kaiser-Hill Co., and a non-profit Citizen’s Advisory Board, which included community activists and government representatives, worked together to determine the objectives for the cleanup effort.