In beautiful Berkshire County, Massachusetts, everyone knows each other well. You can’t go to the grocery store or movie theater without running into someone you know, which is a nice thing. It might be a friend or a work colleague, and it might be an opportunity to have a conversation that you wouldn’t otherwise have.
It is this sense of community that makes Berkshire County a great place for people to collaborate. With 32 cities and towns spread out over 950 scenic square miles, this county likes to work together to get things done. And one of the best ways to collaborate is on grant applications.
Every month, the superintendents of Berkshire County get together and share ideas. They are a really smart bunch, so these are good ideas. Earlier this year, with the creative juices flowing at the Superintendents’ Roundtable, ten school districts joined forces to obtain a Community Innovation Challenge grant from the MA Executive Office for Administration and Finance along with funding from the Berkshire Readiness Center.
This grant support allowed them to work collaboratively to map out implementation of the new Curriculum Frameworks. They achieved better results at a dramatically lower cost than if they had undertaken this work as separate districts.
The Berkshire Compact for Education’s Berkshire County Goes to College program is another example of how collaboration can have a huge impact and attract funding. Every April, all of the public schools in Berkshire County send their sixth graders to visit one of the county’s four college campuses. Each of the collaborators contributes time and resources, and the Berkshire United Way provides grant funding. Through this community-wide effort, 1,200 students get an enticing vision of their future life as a college student and what it will take to get there.
Another Massachusetts funding source that supports collaborative efforts is the Workforce Training Fund. Collaboration is a great way to tap into the Workforce Training Fund. A few like-minded employers can pool resources to hire someone to assess training needs and write a collaborative grant proposal to fund training. As a consortium, they’ll be able to afford better trainers and offer more variety of training than they could on their own. This makes for a competitive grant application.
It’s easy to understand why funding sources LOVE collaboration. Their investment of resources can have more impact on more people and organizations. So really, collaboration is the way to go. Think about it. And go collaborate with someone TODAY.