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Partnership Prize 2014 Results

Our Second Annual Glowing Your Business Event Was a Winner

 

The Partnership Prize

 
The Partnership Prize, which includes both cross-sector and intra-sector partnerships, is the first of its kind of competition in the United States. The prizes were awarded at our Glowing Your Business event, held Nov. 21 at the Marin Country Club in Novato, in a joint effort we developed with Bruce Burtch.
 
We were extremely pleased with the outstanding response. We want to sincerely thank every organization and everyone involved for the time and effort they took to provide such thorough nominations and supporting materials.
 
Burtch conceived The Partnership Prize with two very distinct goals: First, to recognize and reward exemplary partnerships in the North Bay and, second, to stimulate the future development of such partnerships that we have clearly seen have a significant measurable and sometimes immeasurable impact on the quality of life in our communities
 
It was so heartwarming to see the simply outstanding work that is being done in both cross-sector and nonprofit with nonprofit partnerships in the North Bay.
 
Prizes were awarded in the following categories:
 
Cross-sector partnerships
 
• A grand prize for the most exemplary cross-sector partnership in the North Bay
 
• Two Partnership Prizes of equal merit in each of the categories of more than 50 employees and less than 50 employees
 
Nonprofit with nonprofit partnerships
 
• A Grand Prize for the most exemplary nonprofit with nonprofit partnership in the North Bay
 
• Two Partnership Prizes of equal merit in the category of nonprofit with nonprofit partnership
 
Our judging was based on the following criteria:
 
• Uniqueness of the partnership;
 
• The objectives set by the partnership;
 
• The measurable impact and results that were received toward those objectives; and
 
• The number of partners within each partnership, understanding that the degree of difficulty for success usually rises as more organizations are involved in a partnership. 
 
It’s also important to point out that many of the partnerships that were submitted in nomination included large for-profit organizations, foundations, nonprofits and other participants and that were significantly funded. So an important part of our consideration was focusing on those partnerships that had the most proportionate impact. We felt it would be unfair to give higher recognition to a large partnership over a smaller partnership that had exceptional, measurable results and impact on those the partnership was serving.  
 
That was our second-highest challenge. The first was selecting the winners from such an outstanding selection of truly exemplary partnerships.
 
The 2014 Partnership Prize Winners
 
The Partnership Prize for the North Bay cross-sector partnership with more than 50 employees:  Napa Valley Vine Trail Coalition
 
Description: This coalition is made up of 32 individual member organizations who came together to design, fund, construct and maintain a 47 mile hiking and biking trail from the Vallejo ferry terminal to Calistoga. To accomplish this goal, the partnership needed to secure easements from private landowners, write a design manual for trail construction, map out trails on public and private right of ways and fund engineering and environmental reviews.
 
Their use of donated funds to support this type of public works project is unique in the Bay Area. Their results included mapping a full 47-mile proposed course, raising more than $9 million in philanthropic funding to be used as local matching funds. They’ve secured public and private right-of-way for 75 percent of the trail course today, incorporating eight miles of existing trails of the county into the route. With funding to date, they’ll be able to complete 12.5 continuous miles of the trail by fall of 2015.
 
 
 
The Partnership Prize of equal merit for the North Bay cross-sector partnership with more than 50 employees: Family Justice Center Sonoma County
 
Description: The Family Justice Center Sonoma County partnership was formed to empower family violence victims to live free from violence and abuse by providing comprehensive services, centered on and around the victim, through a single point of access. Building on strong interagency collaboration, this partnership protects the vulnerable, stops the violence and restores hope. The partnership includes: YWCA Sonoma County, Sonoma County Legal Aid, Catholic Charities, Council on Aging Sonoma County, Verity, Inter-Tribal Council of California, Sonoma County Human Services Department and several other partnering organizations.
 
To date, the partnership has served more than 3,500 Sonoma County victims of domestic and intimate partner violence, nearly 1,400 in 2013 alone.
 
 
 
The Partnership Prize for the North Bay cross-sector partnership with less than 50 employees: Kid Scoop News, Sonoma Raceway and their partners including Children’s Museum of Sonoma County, Friedman’s Home Improvement, Napa Junction Elementary School, Meadow School Petaluma and several others
 
Description: The goal of the partnership was to take advantage of Kid Scoop News, which is used by more than 1,200 Bay Area elementary teachers, to promotescience, technology, engineering and math (STEM) education by leveraging the high interest in auto racing. Together they developed the STEM Race Car Challenge, looking at the challenge from a scientific perspective and connecting students in a way that was instructive and engaging.
 
Students were given recyclables and clean trash. They formed teams and, from cardboard, rubber bands, straws, buttons and an array of other objects, emerged cars powered by gravity alone. The final challenge race was held at Sonoma Raceway. In all, the partnership involved three schools, 300 students participated directly in the challenge with an additional 300 or more students also involved, 45,000 students in the North and East Bay received STEM education lessons in a special section of Kid Scoop News based on the race car challenge.  Following the event, Verizon made a $10,000 contribution to Napa Junction elementary school based on the school’s exceptional involvement in the STEM Race Car Challenge.
 
 
The Partnership Prize of equal merit for the North Bay cross-sector partnership with less than 50 employees:  Bellam Self-Storage and the San Rafael Clean Campaign
 
Description: The partnership was formed to reduce litter in San Rafael, most notably cigarette litter, which is one of the most prevalent, non-biodegradable and toxic forms of litter. They created the Bounty for Butts campaign and paid local diners at the St. Vincent De Paul Society free dining room $1 per ounce to pick up cigarette butts and turn them in for recycling. They also developed the Cigarette Eater Meter and interactive street art exhibit showing the harm of litter and capturing and weighing butts in the process. During the pilot program, 90,000 cigarette butts were removed from the streets and sidewalks. During the three-month summer program, 238,000 butts were removed and $2,400 was distributed to the industrious diners, many of whom were homeless. During the four months the Cigarette Eater Meter was in San Rafael’s downtown 4th Street Plaza, more than 100,000 cigarette butts were captured.
 
 
The Grand Prize for the most exemplary cross-sector partnership in the North Bay: SchoolsRule Marin
 
Description: SchoolsRule Marin is the first cross-county organization to collaborate with every district, a coalition of 20 public school foundations working in partnership with the Marin County office of education to improve education for every public school student in Marin County. Together with the businesses and communities of Marin, their goal is to bridge the gap between state funding and what it actually takes to ensure that all students in all of schools have access to the same high-quality programs and opportunities for success.
 
The idea for SchoolsRule Marin began in June 2010, when the president and publisher of Marin Independent Journal met with Mary Jane Burke, Marin County Superintendent of schools, and said that the paper wished to do something to support all public schools as part of its 150th anniversary.
 
Out of this meeting grew an outstanding cross-sector partnership involving all four sectors of nonprofit, for-profit, education and government, including a significant ongoing pro bono donation of advertising space from Marin Independent Journal, with ads designed also pro bono by the advertising agency Venables Bell and Partners. Marin County schools, the Marin Alliance for Public Schools, Paradise Food Market, Kaiser, the Marin Department of Cultural and Visitor Services, Wells Fargo Bank, Bank of Marin, Marin Community Foundation and many other corporations, organizations and community.
 
More than $220,000 was distributed in October 2012 and $400,773 was distributed in October 2013 on a per-student basis to the school’s foundation and school districts in Marin. In its third year, $450,000 was raised. The goal for 2015 is $1 million.
 
SchoolsRule Marin is an exemplary example of what happens when people work together to meet the county’s needs. And well deserving of the cross-sector partnership grand prize for the North Bay.
 
The Partnership Prize for the North Bay, nonprofit with nonprofit partnership: Warm Wishes and MarinLink
 
Description: Warm Wishes is partnering with Marin Link and 40 local organizations nonprofits, foundations, schools rotaries and businesses, even the San Francisco 49ers. The partnership helps distribute “street packs” to homeless men, women and children living on the streets of the Bay Area during the difficult winter months. The street packs include warm mittens, scarves, wool socks and rain ponchos, all packed within individual backpacks that are given to the homeless. The street packs are assembled by more than 200 volunteers and then distributed to 40 Bay Area agencies and also directly by volunteers to the homeless on the streets. Each year during the winter months, 5,000 street packs are donated, assembled and distributed. Since its inception in 1997, Warm Wishes, Marin Link and its partners have provided more than 500,000 items that have been given to the less fortunate in our community.
 
The Partnership Prize for the North Bay of equal merit nonprofit with nonprofit partnership: The Gasser Foundation and Sustainable Napa County
 
Description: This partnership focused on connecting sustainability’s three elements: economy, environment and community, in partnerships with community, business and policy leaders. The partnership developed Napa County Energy Watch, a program that provides energy efficiency rebates, resources and incentives. A focus of this program was to assist nonprofit organizations in implementing behavioral changes and energy efficient upgrades. The partnership provides grants to nonprofits so that the cost to the nonprofit of the resources and incentives is zero and the organization can begin seeing a positive financial return right away.
 
Since the program began in 2010, the partnership has audited and upgraded 48 nonprofits and 240 small businesses and municipal utility customers, for a total of 5.9 million kW reduced, providing an estimated savings of more than $1 million annually for utility customers in Napa County. Additionally, Sustainable Napa County is involved in the development of local climate change action and sustainability plans, and continues to move action items forward related to energy, water, waste reduction and transportation.
 
The Grand Prize for the most exemplary nonprofit with nonprofit partnership in the North Bay: Homeward Bound and Whistlestop
 
Description: Whistlestop and Homeward Bound of Marin joined forces to optimize their strengths for service to the community. Whistlestop provides support to seniors with active aging programs and is the home of Jackson Café, which offers a low-cost dining option for seniors in a social setting. Homeward Bound, the county’s largest provider of shelter and support services for homeless adults and families, was looking for hands-on workplace training for its students at its Fresh Starts Culinary Academy.
 
They formed a partnership whereby Homeward Bound would operate the Jackson Café, which freed Whistlestop to focus its resources on their active aging programs rather than on food service. This partnership added value to the training at Fresh Starts Culinary Academy, which became not only a commercial kitchen but also an enriching classroom. The Jackson Café menu was revamped to focus on fresh ingredients and updated recipes. The new menu, with fresher, made-to-order ingredients, improved the nutritional value. An additional benefit of the partnership is that the new menu and exceptional service attracted more seniors coming to the site to take advantage of Whistlestop’s other senior-oriented programs.
 
Prior to this partnership, the Jackson Café served approximately 10,000 meals per year. As a result of this partnership, Jackson Café improved the food quality and served 19,920 lunches for the year ending June 30, 2014, nearly doubling the previous year’s service. 
 
Through the Jackson Café, Homeward Bound has been able to add value to the training at Fresh Starts Culinary Academy. In the last year alone, Jackson Café has provided 6,300 hours of hands-on training for its students and has increased enrollment to 85 students per year.
 
 
 
Our heartiest congratulations not only to the winners of this year’s Partnership Prize but to everyone who participated in this opportunity to recognize truly exemplary partnerships in the North Bay.  It is our sincere hope that the exceptional efforts of these winners, and all of our nominations, will stimulate similar collaborations and partnerships in the future for the benefit of our North Bay community.