Mission Sustainability Initiative Update

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

An Update on the Mission Sustainability Initiative: New Staff, A Workshop, and Grant Application Announcement

Forefront held a full-day Mission Sustainability Summit in October, which attracted over 400 nonprofit and philanthropic leaders. The Summit showcased the principles of nonprofit alliances and mergers, including highlighting successful examples and sharing some tools that can be used by nonprofit organizations to better understanding the value of strategic partnerships to advance their missions. 

At the Summit, we announced our Mission Sustainability Initiative (MSI), a program of Forefront, which draws on our membership network, education programs, and communications expertise. The MSI will offer a full array of information and assistance that includes confidential counseling to nonprofits interested in strategic partnerships, information on the steps of such a process, educational programs, referrals to pro bono legal assistance, and experienced, paid consultants. The MSI will also offer grants to selected nonprofits to cover some of the costs of exploring and implementing a strategic partnership. (We define “strategic partnerships” as nonprofit mergers, acquisitions, back office collaborations, and permanent program partnerships.)

Introducing Our New MSI Director

We are delighted to announce that Genita C. Robinson has been hired as Forefront’s new Mission Sustainability Initiative (MSI) Director. 

A lawyer by training, Genita comes to Forefront with extensive experience in the nonprofit and public sector. She served for four years as a member of Arne Duncan’s team at the Chicago Public Schools, and for seven years led Lawyers Lend-A-Hand to Youth, which provides grant and in-kind support to community mentoring programs. Genita is a Board Member of the Illinois Women’s Institute for Leadership (IWIL), which trains Democratic women to run for office, and she was previously a Board Member with the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence, Leadership Greater Chicago’s Leadership Fellows Association, and the Serve Illinois Commission. 

We are grateful to Elspeth Revere for her tremendous leadership over the past four months. Elspeth has done a fabulous job in building the MSI into what it is today. She is so thoughtful, strategic, creative, and passionate about assisting nonprofits as they consider partnerships and collaborations. We look forward to continuing to engage Elspeth in Forefront’s future work.

With the hiring of the MSI Director, Genita C. Robinson, we are ready to move ahead with the MSI Program implementation, including our next workshop and release of our grant application. 

Upcoming Event: Nonprofit Strategic Partnerships – The Benefits, the Pitfalls, and the Challenges & How the Mission Sustainability Initiative Can Help

Join us on Friday, March 24, 2017 for a candid discussion on the benefits and challenges of strategic partnerships, including nonprofit mergers, acquisitions, back office collaborations, and permanent program partnerships. A panel of experts will discuss their experience with strategic partnerships and provide helpful insight into the exploration and implementation of partnerships. The panel will be moderated by the MSI Director, Genita C. Robinson, who will also share information on the release of the MSI grant application which will award grants for one-time, out-of-pocket costs (up to $75,000) incurred in assessing organizational readiness for, exploring,  or implementing  a strategic collaboration.

- Eric Weinheimer, President + CEO, Forefront