Mission + Strategy Collaboration Conversations

Welcome to our Mission+Strategy Collaboration Conversations video series where we will be profiling nonprofit leaders who have led their organizations through deep collaborations.

In this episode of Collaboration Conversations we explore strategic partnerships from the perspective of two board members. Meet Christy Harris, President of the Board of Directors for Family Shelter Service, and Toyin Ogun, Board Member and Chair of the Joint Planning Committee for Family Shelter Service. Christy and Toyin were key leaders as their organization navigated a strategic merger with the goal of expanding programs to increase the ability of victims of domestic violence's to find safety. They share insights regarding how communication is key in building board buy-in and the cumulative effects of decision making.


In this edition of Collaboration Conversations, hear from four nonprofit leaders who came together to create a partnership with the goals of collectively developing a corporate giving program and elevating awareness about the excellent performing arts organizations in and around the Oak Park community. Along their partnership journey they discovered unexpected advantages such as the benefits of creating a community of support among one another as leading a nonprofit can be isolating. Additionally, these four leaders continue to learn from one another as the partnership deepens. One Voice for the Arts is the partnership and our guests include: Bill Chin, The Oriana Singers; Barbara Cimaglio, the Oak Park Festival Theatre; Cheryl Flinn, The Symphony of Oak Park and River Forest; and Karen Kitto, Pro Musica.

Congratulations to One Voice for the Arts on receiving their first grant! This innovative partnership was just funded through Arts Work Fund "Think-Explore-Share" grant program.


In our first conversation of our Collaboration Conversations video series, we meet Jean Butzen, Founder of Mission+Strategy Consulting (M+S) and Greg Petersen, CEO of Keystone Alliance (Keystone). These two nonprofit leaders have embarked on a collaboration that will offer other nonprofit organizations a single source for all of their collaboration and back-office needs, and at the same time, ensure that the distinguished M+S legacy of impact continues far into the future. Hosted by Chief Collaboration Officer for M+S and Keystone, Jean and Greg discuss the collaboration process from the initial idea to implementation, the key issues and stumbling blocks they encountered along the way, and their insights into the importance of collaboration for the broader nonprofit sector.


Chicago Nonprofit Merger Study & Toolkit

The study website

Merger Toolkit


Embracing Coming Together Webinar, May 28, 2020, presentation, PowerPoint file

Embracing Coming Together Webinar, May 28, 2020, presentation, video:


Video Podcasts

May 19th, 2020 webinar by Mission + Strategy's Jean Butzen on Nonprofit Mergers in association with the Association of Nonprofit Management: