Throughout its 56-year history, the Phil Hardin Foundation has emphasized collaboration. We don’t have the luxury of excess capacity in Mississippi, so working together is a necessity.
We’ve also long believed that partnership, not paternalism, should be the guiding principle in the relationship between philanthropy and nonprofits.
Hardin Foundation grants helped start and sustain both the Mississippi Center for Nonprofits and the Mississippi Association of Grantmakers. In their time, they exemplified the best of collaboration in their spheres.
But when leaders in those separate spheres began to talk seriously about working together more closely, it seemed to us at the Hardin Foundation to portend an even more powerful partnership. The Center and MAG had done extraordinary work in advancing collaboration for the common good, but how much more could be accomplished for Mississippians if they came together as one?
This exciting prospect guided our board in its decision to provide a three-year, $225,000 startup grant for the Mississippi Alliance of Nonprofits and Philanthropy. We knew Mississippi would be blazing a trail with this first-of-its-kind partnership, but where better than here—and when better than now—to make it happen?
A year into this experiment in a new level of collaboration, the Hardin Foundation is encouraged by what we see. A new energy and sense of possibility are emerging among both nonprofits and philanthropy as we learn more about each other through the Alliance and discover ways that we can better achieve our common goals.
COVID-19 has only underscored the value of a unified effort. This crisis has birthed several Alliance initiatives that clearly demonstrate the enhanced impact and influence of a new kind of organization intent on breaking down barriers that keep Mississippians from working together to achieve common goals.
The Alliance is already responding to the monumental challenges our state faces and is doing so by forging a stronger bond between two groups critical to addressing those challenges. This is a partnership worth supporting in a state that needs and deserves all the collaboration it can muster.
Philanthropy and nonprofits are in the same business and share the same overarching goals. Neither can do without the other. The Alliance affirms and celebrates this reality, and the Hardin Foundation is pleased to be one of its founding partners.