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Charitable collaboration chalks up accolades Sandra Coopersmith | Thu, Mar 17 2011 12:00 PM

Imagine what could be accomplished by the helping hands of multiple nonprofits united by a shared vision. That’s what the Lodestar Foundation did, and as a result, developed the Collaboration Prize, a national award designed to identify and showcase models of innovative collaboration among nonprofit organizations.

There are eight finalists for this year’s prize, and among them is Westside Infant-Family Network (WIN), a Culver City-based collaboration that includes Westside Children’s Center, Venice Family Clinic and St. Joseph Center. The triumvirate was designed to help stabilize and strengthen families with children (prenatal through age 3) by providing culturally sensitive, bilingual mental health care regardless of ability to pay, together with a host of connections to community resources.

Of the more than 800 applicants consisting of a collaboration of two or more nonprofits, WIN is the only one from California.

In keeping with the spirit of collaboration, The Lodestar Foundation, an organization dedicated to maximizing the growth and impact of philanthropy, has partnered with AIM Alliance, the Foundation Center, La Piana Consulting and other foundation and nonprofit leaders to support the 2011 Collaboration Prize of $250,000. Each of the eight finalists will receive $12,500 and the grand prize winner will also receive the remaining $150,000. The grand prize winner will be announced in New York City, NY, on April 8, 2011.

“It is an honor to be selected as one of eight finalists in the country for the Collaboration Prize,” said Anna Henderson, WIN’s executive director. “The nomination highlights the system of care and infrastructure we’ve created to deliver very high quality health, mental health, education and social services to families with young children who are facing critical challenges in multiple aspects of their lives. Collaboration allows us to address the complex problems underlying early childhood mental health issues by addressing multiple root causes simultaneously, while making services seamless for families.”  

Jerry Hirsch, chair of The Lodestar Foundation, described each finalist as “a superb model of how nonprofits, by pooling knowledge, resources and talent, can serve their communities more efficiently and with greater impact.”

“It is an honor to be a part of the 2011 Collaboration Prize and encourage collaboration in the nonprofit sector,” said Sterling Speirn, chairman of the selection panel for the 2011 Collaboration Prize, and president and CEO of the W.K. Kellogg Foundation. “As seen from the accomplishments of these eight finalists, partnerships can enable you to work smarter, thereby becoming more effective in your mission to help others in need.”

The selection panel, composed of individual philanthropists and leaders of philanthropic foundations, will judge each finalist on the extent to which it exceeded the performance of its individual partners and thereby improved effectiveness in achieving social good; more effectively used human and financial resources; represented an innovative response to a specific challenge or opportunity; and exhibited characteristics demonstrating that the collaboration is a model for the field, sector or community.

WIN’s position is that an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, and it takes that approach as strives to help families deal with mental health issues such as post-partum depression, anxiety and post-traumatic stress disorder, thus giving children healthy opportunities to develop.  

One example of a family served by WIN is a new mother who appeared isolated and frightened, suffering from post-partum depression. Her pediatrician referred the woman to WIN, concerned about her 4-month-old daughter’s lack of energy and expressiveness. After six months with WIN, the child was described as an inquisitive, happy baby who enjoys playing and exploring. And the mother, now taking classes to learn English, has reportedly become more outgoing, is making friends and building a healthy relationship with her baby.

In addition to being named a finalist, WIN appears to be on a roll, with yet another reason to celebrate. In February Dr. Wendy Sun, WIN’s clinical director, became one of the first 52 California clinicians endorsed by the California Center for Infant-Family and Early Childhood Mental Health to provide mental health services to infants, young children and families.

“We are fortunate to have Dr. Sun leading WIN’s clinical program,” said Henderson. “Her expertise and thoughtful supervision have added a depth and structure to our therapeutic services that have strengthened our program, our outcomes and, ultimately, the families that we serve.”

 For more information about the 2011 Collaboration Prize, see lodestarfoundation.org and thecollaborationprize.org. To learn more about WIN, see winla.org or call (310) 846-4100. WIN is at 5721 W. Slauson Ave., suite 200, in Culver City. 

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jerry Says:

Wed, Mar 23 2011 10:52 PM

synergy....works wonders.

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