Advancing Collaboration



Advancing Collaboration with the Good+Foundation

About the Organization

Good+Foundation is a leading national nonprofit that works to dismantle multi-generational poverty by pairing tangible goods with innovative services for low-income fathers, mothers and caregivers, creating an upward trajectory for the whole family.


Featured Guest
Katherine Snider
Executive Director


Approach to Collaboration

Collaboration has always been key to everything that we do because we operate as a foundation that offers in-kind grants. We’re constantly collaborating. In 2008, we re-examined the impact we could make with program partners by taking a close look at demographics. We realized incentives could be powerful; CUCS Single Stop in East Harlem was facing difficulties reaching single moms and undocumented parents. We began by testing the incentive model with diaper donations – if these moms came in for a single stop screening, they would get a pack of diapers. Within six months, we saw a 300% increase in enrollment within those two groups. Single Stop then came to us because they were having a hard time following up with these families, as they’re often transient and don’t enroll in WIC or EBT. We decided to start over – if the moms came in for a screening, they would get a pack of diapers. If they came back to demonstrate enrollment, they would get a case of diapers. Through this, we saw these clients receive over $1,500 in annualized benefits. In this scenario, we recognized Single Stop as a great social service program. They were screening families within 15 minutes, and we knew our donation could be an incentive or encouragement for parents to take the next steps. 

Application of the 9 Considerations for Collaboration

Build Trust

Transparency has always been part of our ethos. In 2008, we were poised for growth and had a big partnership with Target Corporation. We decided to scale up nationally but wanted to be cautious about growth and metrics to ensure operations were well-grounded before taking it to scale. We want to ensure we’re transparent and fiscally sound so our donors can trust us. We’re extremely proud of our Better Business Bureau Accreditation and we make sure all of our financials since 2001 are up on our website. The accreditation process has been a fantastic tool for management, which we use as a part of our onboarding process. It’s helpful for people who are making the transition from another sector into the nonprofit world and serves as a great guiding principle. 

Have a Vision

In 2008, as the organization was maturing from infancy into its teen years, we were focused on scaling up nationally, opened a Los Angeles office, and partnered with LA Diaper Drive. We built trust and ended up doing a nonprofit merger with them. A few years later, we wanted to focus on expanding our fatherhood work. Most of our programs like Nurse Family Partnership predominantly focused on the traditional mother and child dyad, but our portfolio lacked programs that spoke to engaging dads. We began collaborating with academics to examine everything from the social and emotional development impact of a father’s absence on children, to how father engagement can provide social and economic mobility. After about six months, we collaborated with the Aspen Institute and created The Father Factor, a convening to talk about father engagement. We brought together brilliant thought leaders, innovators, funders, and practitioners to take a look at this issue, and everyone was turning to us for the next steps. This moment became a defining one – we had to ensure we weren’t drifting from our mission. As a small team, we developed a plan and vision around father engagement that fit neatly into the work we were already doing. We couldn’t solely use our own resources, but we were able to make something happen through our collaborations and by pulling resources together. We’re now working on a toolkit to provide proactive examples throughout the country on ways that child support can be reformed to better engage dads and support children. 

Seek to Assure the Success of Your Collaborators

When we think about a partnership, we focus on their needs. What do they offer, and how do we make those things fit? When we enter a partnership, we talk through the MOU together, map out where the gaps are and how we can fill them, and discuss what we can bring to the table to enhance a symbiotic relationship. Our team has wonderfully high emotional intelligence and tremendous empathy; we’re always keeping in mind that a collaboration takes work, and we prioritize the needs of our partners. 

Take Stock

Our fatherhood work is a great example of taking stock and bringing different parties together. After our Father Factor convening, we realized we should be having more meetings with all of our grantee partners as a group. We have all this brilliance across the country, and we need to bring them together to share best practices and discuss what’s not working. We just started quarterly convenings of grantees, and now, with our familiarity and with Zoom, we’re able to bring together people from all over the country. Our first national convening is coming up at the end of this month. 

Start Small

We always try things on a small scale before we start thinking about a national scale. Our founder, Jessica Seinfeld, is a wonderful sounding board who pushes us to be a little more progressive when it comes to the fatherhood initiative. Whether it’s the board or team members, the push and pull of collaboration is essential. 

Fail Fast, and Build Rigorous Feedback Loops

We haven’t always been quick to recognize a problem because we tend to be more conservative. At one point, we had a portfolio of about 19 different fatherhood programs, and we lost around four or five of those within two years because they lost their contracts. We continued looking for and losing more fatherhood programs, and we were incredibly frustrated because great programs continued to disappear. After about three years, we took a step back and recognized the process wasn’t working. Then, we pivoted to the Father Factor convening, started bringing groups together, and brought attention to this issue as a great way to think about poverty alleviation. 

Take a Portfolio Approach

The child support toolkit is a new initiative for us. We brought together leaders who agreed that child support needed to be reformed. By creating this group, we were able to problem-solve and test ideas through great conversations and thought sharing mechanisms. 

Consider Non-traditional Partners

In recent months, amidst COVID-19, we’ve found that people are much more open to partnerships. We knew there was an overwhelming need for formula and food items. 85% to 95% of the families we serve have now lost income, have no savings and are living paycheck to paycheck. When we began hearing about the need for food, which we don’t typically provide, we had to respond. We started a conversation and offered a large donation to the food bank of New York City; they needed diapers and other essentials. This partnership wouldn’t have occurred to us under normal circumstances. Our circles don’t overlap, and their model is different from ours, but we came together due to necessity. 

Keep Your Donors Apprised of Your Collaborations

Years ago, we were called Baby Buggy. We rebranded our name to the Good+Foundation. When we started doing more work in fatherhood, we discovered that many of our female donors who are moms were tuning the information out. Interestingly, what prompted them to give was helping moms and kids, and the more we pushed this narrative of fatherhood, the more we realized we needed to ramp up our communications to engage our donors in a very different way. Our communications needed to extend beyond the simple message of giving nice things to kids and families in need. We had to be much more intentional and mindful about how we crafted our messages. Through in-person meetings, we were able to take our donors through the process and allow them to ask questions. The overhaul required a lot of work, but in the end, it paid off. 

Future Collaborations

During this crisis, we thought about a market and exchange for goods. We’ve learned the benefits of collaborating to fill in needed gaps. We learned that BBB Wise created a tool to encourage groups to collaborate, which reflects what we envisioned – a platform for nonprofits to bring people together. 

This article was composed by Rachel Romana Liu.

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