What is a Partnership Community?
A partnership community is any organizational structure designed around the principles of partnership as described by Riane Eisler in her many books, essays, and speeches.
Some characteristics of a partnership community are:
- The community is initiated by one or more individuals and develops organically, responding to the needs and the interests of the organizers.
- The community is committed to partnership principles.
- There is an atmosphere of hospitality and caring.
- A flexible structure--that promotes creativity and offers a pleasant environment--is created to guide the work. This might include identifying a leader, co-leaders or facilitator. It also might include identifying individuals that assume important roles of providing meeting space or being liaisons with a sponsoring organization, in charge of logistics. Share the work and find a role for every person to play. This will assure a shared responsibility for accomplishing your goals.
- Leaders empower people to actively and individually engage in partnership work
- There is strong, focused leadership and clear accountability. We know that behind the success of any initiative or project is a person that had a vision along with the time and skills to lead a group.
- Engaged listening is built into every aspect of the community, to benefit and learn from all of the people who are onboard with the partnership efforts.
- All voices are heard and recognized within the structure that supports moving the community forward.
- Develop a way to deal with challenging issues that everyone agrees to. There will be disagreements!
- Information flows up and down the community, with many points of contact so that community members know what is happening and what future plans are.
- Everyone contributes to the knowledge about partnership and has the opportunity to participate in decision-making.
- The unique talents of everyone are valued and utilized.
- Teamwork is valued and expressed in every phase of the work
- Volunteer contributions are honored and recognized.
- Positive relationships are fostered within the community, as well as with funders, participants and the public.
- Environmental stewardship is practiced, including green practices such as using dishes instead of throw aways, excessive use of paper copies is avoided, etc.
Examples of partnership communities include:
- A group of people that gather to promote some aspect of partnership
- A partnership program convened under the auspices of an existing nonprofit organization
- A nonprofit organization organized specifically to address partnership issues
- A community collaborative made up of multiple organizations to address an aspect of partnership
Adapted from materials prepared for the Center for Partnership Studies by Kathleen Hermes, M.A. Transformative Leadership, Partnership Concentration at the California Institute of Integral Studies.