BTOP Projects at Work: Successful Partnerships

Finding the right community development partners can be difficult for non-profit organizations. Sometimes, because resources are scarce, non-profit leaders compete with one another when they should collaborate.  Fortunately, as we launched the Spanish language components of our Small Business Success Series, I could turn to people with whom I had worked successfully over the past decade: Sara Nelson, Founder of La Comunidad Habla, and Andrea Plaza, Founder of Encuentro.  Both these women are bold, visionary, and willing to partner to get their programs built and accomplish their goals.

When considering potential partners to help roll out our Éxito con su Negocio (Success with your Business) training program, the key characteristics I looked for in partners were in this order:

  1. A long-standing relationship with diverse elements of the Spanish-speaking community
  2. Entrepreneurs working to build their own programs or organizations
  3. A willingness to share success and credit
  4. Rapport and trust among us

Being able to serve the Hispanic community well means overcoming issues of trust and cultural differences.  Both Encuentro and La Comunidad Habla have long track records of success and their diverse connections in the Hispano community reflect this.  But, these ladies are also eager - a euphemism for hungry - to build their own ventures.  They work for themselves and because they must succeed I knew they would need us to succeed.

Together we did it! This doesn’t mean that some work harder than others and get none of the credit. This means that when a funder says to me at a training, “Great job on the speakers!” I don’t reply "Actually, I didn’t do that part, Sara did." I instead say. "Thanks, it all came together really well." Sharing credit, giving it up, or getting looked over when the accolades are handed out can be tough. But when partners are willing to do this they become an effective team, internally valuing each other’s efforts thoughtfully and specifically, but externally presenting a unified force that funders, participants, and more partners are eager to support.  And there is nothing better than success to create rapport among a team. 

Alice Loy

Co-Founder GCCE ~ fostering economic prosperity and cultural wealth

Santa Fe, NM