Exploring how cross-sector collaboration can solve seemingly intractable societal problems
Many people tend to think of the public, non-profit and private sectors as being distinctive components of the economy and broader society—each with its own missions and problems to address. This book describes how the three sectors can work together toward common purposes, accomplishing much more than if they work alone.
With the nation reeling from multiple challenges, more than ever the United States needs these sectors to collaborate to address what might seem to be intractable problems. Cross-sector collaborations and partnerships are more crucial than in the past as the country tries to recover from the economic, health, and broad social dislocations caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. At a time when trust in institutions, both public and private, is at an all-time low, cooperation among the sectors can be a confidence-inspiring approach to addressing public problems.
This book reviews the state of cross-sector collaborations, identifies emerging practices, and offers a range of perspectives from experts in the field. Practitioners show how cooperation among sectors is relevant to their core missions. Scholars from a wide range of disciplines discuss both the broad and specific concepts that advance understanding of cross-sector collaboration.
At a time when the United States must recover from and address new challenges, the book shows how cross-sector collaborations can help ensure a brighter future. Its core conclusions should be of particular interest to leaders in each of the broad sectors, as well as educators and students at both the undergraduate and graduate level.
“The public sector may no longer be capable of solving big problems by itself. The nonprofit sector may want for authority and resources alike. And the private sector may be primarily motivated by profits. But in the end, their interests are intertwined, because the success of each, indeed, of the great American experiment itself, depends on finding new ways to address the many challenges before us.”
—Frank A. Weil, Founding Chair, The Intersector Project at the Aspen Institute’s Program on Philanthropy and Social Innovation (TIP @ PSI)
Praise for The Intersector
“As the contributors to this volume make clear, by working together and establishing the mutual respect needed to trust each other, public, private, and nonprofit sector leaders can solve many of the nation’s problems. The possibilities for public good emerging from such collaborations are almost limitless.”
—Erskine Bowles, former White House chief of staff (1996–1998) and president of the University of North Carolina System (2006–2011)
“To facilitate an intersectoral approach as a method for addressing public problems, we need new forms of expertise, accountability, and information. . . . This book will give a new generation of leaders the knowledge and tools to make a difference in and for our public life through cross-sector collaboration.”
—Bill Haslam, former governor of Tennessee (2011–2019) and chair of the board of trustees of the Wilson Center
“Our country faces daunting problems that cannot be solved by one sector alone. The pandemic, the economic contraction, climate change, and the disproportionate impacts of each on communities of color are among the challenges that require an all-of-society response. By offering a vision of ‘intersector’ solutions, this volume shows how to build trust among actors in the public, private, and nonprofit sectors, and forge alliances that allow us to manage shared dangers, steward shared resources, and show that our democracy can work if we work it.”
—Jane Wales, vice president and executive director of the Program on Philanthropy and Social Innovation, Aspen Institute
“There are many Americans who look first to government to solve problems, others whose faith resides in nonprofit organizations, and still others who revere the private sector. The Intersector makes the wise case that we’re best served when those three forces intermingle.”
—Frank Bruni, New York Times columnist
Daniel P. Gitterman is Duncan MacRae ’09 and Rebecca Kyle MacRae Professor and Chair of Public Policy at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He is a Senior Advisor to The Intersector Project at the Aspen Institute’s Program on Philanthropy and Social Innovation.
Neil Britto was Executive Director and Co-Founder of The Intersector Project, now an initiative of the Aspen Institute’s Program on Philanthropy and Social Innovation where he serves as Project Lead. He is an Adjunct Professor at New York University’s Wagner School of Public Service and has advised foundations, companies, and governments on cross-sector collaboration.