“If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.”

This November, we want to take a moment to acknowledge the value of partnership. We are particularly blessed in Rhode Island to work with hundreds of dedicated and compassionate people, all committed to making our communities places of opportunity. They work to achieve housing that’s affordable, health that’s equitable, employment that’s attainable — and so much more. Together we envision the possible — and then together we work to achieve it.

Effective community partnerships rarely emerge overnight. They are built at the speed of trust, earned through respect and cooperation, and the product of time and thoughtful deliberation. Partnerships leverage the strengths of each organization and apply those strengths strategically to the issue at hand. It might take a bit more work, but strong partnerships build shared understanding and a collective focus that can produce lasting progress.

LISC – during the past 29 years in Rhode Island – has developed relationships with many impressive, smart, savvy and dedicated partners. We’ve learned that by actively listening to community members and local non-profit groups, we can help identify the problems and leverage specific strengths to find strategic solutions.

When LISC was first started in 1979 by the Ford Foundation, it was envisioned as an “intermediary”—a smart and nimble non-profit that would connect hard-to-tap public and private resources with under invested communities. In Rhode Island, we have been successful in bringing corporate, federal and foundation funding to help support organizations here doing the hard work. At last count, we have invested nearly $400 million through local partners working in housing, health, early learning education, workforce development, safety, and economic development.

Our work wouldn’t be possible without partners — and Rhode Island is full of them – Great partners large and small from organizations like RI Housing, United Way of RI, Bank of America, and the State of Rhode Island to Citizens Bank, the Rhode Island Foundation, Santander Bank, and Blue Cross Blue Shield. There are so many, and when we all work together to achieve the same goal, great things happen.

The impact on our community is what the work is all about. We work to create opportunities for people to thrive and live their best lives. It may just take a little boost, or something more, or maybe just a voice of support to help get people where they want to be. Taylonda Vanover is a perfect example of what can happen with just a little encouragement. Taylonda graduated from the Amos House culinary program after Emir Roberson reached out for a third time and encouraged her to give it a try. She finally did, and is now enjoying some sweet success. It’s because partners like Amos House – and so many more – are there telling people to take a chance on themselves.

This is the reason we are grateful, because Taylonda – and so many others – are the people who remind us about resilience, teach us the meaning of hard work, and show us the power of hope.

One way to support this mission is through a tax-deductible gift that can be made online https://donatenow.networkforgood.org/lisc. Please designate your donation to go to LISC Rhode Island.