Contact Us

University of Illinois Extension serving Cook County

Cook County
8751 S. Greenwood Avenue, Suites 112-122
Chicago, IL 60619
Phone: 773-768-7779
FAX: 773-768-4818
Hours: Monday - Friday 8:30 am to 4:30 pm

1114 N. Arlington Heights Road
Suite 201
Arlington Heights, IL 60004
Phone: 847-201-4176
FAX: 847-201-4175
Hours: Monday - Friday 8:30 am to 4:30 pm

Cook County
1140 N. Lamon
Floor 2
Chicago, IL 60651
Phone: 773-287-8333
FAX: 773-287-8335
Hours: Monday - Friday 8:30 am to 4:30 pm

Cook County
4747 Lincoln Mall Drive
Suite 601
Matteson, IL 60443
Phone: 708-679-6889
FAX: 708-679-6855
Hours: Monday - Friday 8 am to 4 pm

Cook County
Enterprise Center
2205 Enterprise Drive, Suite 501
Westchester, IL 60154
Phone: 708-449-4320
FAX: 708-492-1805
Hours: Monday - Friday 8 am to 4 pm

Cook County
9415 South Western Avenue, Suite 201
Chicago, IL 60643
Phone: 773-233-2900
FAX: 773-233-9183
Hours: Monday - Friday 8:30 am to 4:30 pm

Cook County
9415 South Western Avenue, Suite 200
Chicago, IL 60643
Phone: 773-651-4011
FAX: 773-651-4047
Hours: Monday - Friday 8:30 am to 4:30 pm

Community and Economic Development

Community and Economic Development


The Power of Partnerships

Today more than ever it is important that any project consider developing partnerships. By having active partnerships it tells much about the potential success of a project. With today's focus on sustainability and effective resource management, partnerships between organizations, businesses, institutions will serve as a catalyst to make things happen – especially where complex issues are being addressed. Also, a good partnership can serve as leverage to attract other resources and funding.

There are a number of elements which are associated with more successful collaborations:

Program Champions Successful program leaders, be they the director or a staff outreach person, have program champions. The program champion is a person who sees the big picture, who will push to make the collaboration happen, who is open-minded and willing to listen, and who is willing to adapt the approach in an overall plan. The program champion is deeply committed to addressing both issues, and inspires others to see the connections and the essential need for the collaboration.

Vision, Commitment, and Common Goal Successful collaborations are characterized by the ability of partners to recognize their common goals, which engenders a commitment to keep working at the collaboration when challenges arise. They have a sense of purpose about what they are doing, and a feeling of unity and teamwork. Some partnership projects may develop their own name, adding to their sense of cohesion. Out of the common purpose and common goals, trust develops among partners.

Openness to Flexibility, Learning, and Changing Model Collaboration transforms participants. No collaborative project looks the same at the end as it did at the beginning. Successful collaborations are characterized by a high level of flexibility and openness to solving problems as they arise. Each will have an initial program plan and vision of how the collaboration should work and each will evolve and change with experience. Successful collaborations all require patience, openness and time commitment to develop the program plan and to build relationships. Open and frequent communication is essential.

Resources Dedicated to the Project In an ever-changing climate of staff, clients, funding and organizations, sustainability of collaboration is key. As both a sign of each organization's investment in the project and as necessary concrete support, resources must be dedicated the project and sustained over time.

Joint Staff Awareness It is also important to have staff aware of the partnership agreement because often they are the people who actually carryout the day to day implementation of the partnership project. Include staff in some of the planning sessions from the beginning.
Monitoring Performance Monitoring of project implementation will guarantee the success of the collaborative effort. Checkpoints (time-based or task-based) should be included in the initial planning. Projects are usually quite comprehensive so require management and ongoing monitoring.

Challenges are Common Issues of conflicting philosophy, language, timing, changed structure of one or more of the partnerships and funding can be a barrier to the success of partnerships. Frequent and honest communication is to a successful partnership.


Community and Leadership University of Missouri Extension has a website dedicated to community and economic development with various modules such as: diversity and inclusion, economic viability, leadership development, organizational development, planning and public policy