Partnering with others
Convening community partners
Photo: Steve Fassa/Boeing
Finding a way: Boeing, community partners 'lead and learn' at California forum
They came from near and far — officials representing school districts, state and local government agencies, nonprofits and educational institutions — the gamut of community organizations with which the Boeing Global Corporate Citizenship team in California interacts throughout the year.
More than 150 representatives from across the state gathered in Long Beach Nov. 16 for the California GCC team's first community partner convening. The primary audience was the nonprofit organizations who have received investment funding from the company, but other community stakeholders such as local government agencies also were invited to attend.
The intent was simple: to build better partnerships. Or, as the theme of the forum succinctly stated, to lead and learn from each other.
“I was inspired to see how far-reaching Boeing's philanthropy is in the community. We feel grateful to be part of the Boeing community and are more excited than ever to continue to work with all of our existing partners and the ones we met at the forum.”
—Erin Ross of City Year, a national youth service organization.
"We wanted to educate our stakeholders about Boeing," said Jim Herr, senior manager, Global Corporate Citizenship. "It's important that the nonprofits with whom we invest recognize that we're in a partnership and must work together to manage our resources strategically."
The day began with an overview of the Boeing footprint in California, presented by Boeing Regional Executive Nan Bouchard. Providing the state-wide perspective was Brad Kemp, director of regional research for consulting group Beacon Economics. A panel discussion wrapped up the first half of the day, featuring subject matter experts in political analysis as well as the nonprofit and business communities.
Photo: Steve Fassa/Boeing
The Boeing GCC team then spent the remainder of the forum in breakout sessions with representatives for the nonprofits in the GCC strategic focus areas (arts & culture, civic, education, environment, and health and human services.).
Having begun to percolate in the morning, one of the most rewarding and productive aspects of the forum came into full bloom during the breakouts. These were the opportunities not only to connect with peers in the same field, but also to cross-pollinate and learn about new areas of community engagement and potential new connections.
"One of the most valuable outcomes of the convening was the opportunity to meet colleagues, perhaps for the first time, who are working in the same field and to explore areas of collaboration that will help us increase our capacity to meet our goals," observed Bruce Saito, executive director of the LA Conservation Corps, which works with at-risk young adults and school-aged youth. "Together, we can achieve significant change."
Erin Ross of City Year, a national youth service organization, shared the same sentiment.
"I was inspired to see how far-reaching Boeing's philanthropy is in the community," commented Ross. "We feel grateful to be part of the Boeing community and are more excited than ever to continue to work with all of our existing partners and the ones we met at the forum."
Feedback from the participants has been universally positive, with a strong interest expressed in continuing the practice.
"The 2010 Boeing Grantee Convening was a wonderful sharing of information," said Dan Chernow Ed.D., executive director, UCLA School Management Program, a nonprofit school reform initiative. "Whereas usually generous grants are given and supportive work is undertaken, this was a unique opportunity for organizations to share with one another their accomplishments. Every aspect of this convening provided for information, dialogue and learning."
Saito agreed. "At next year's convening, it would be great to have more time and a greater focus on the breakout sessions and grantees," he concluded.