The Benefits of Collaboration

August 1, 2023 Published by Twenty Twenty Public Affairs. Access the article here.

Some issues are so complex and multi-faceted, they require a collaborative approach.  Listening and learning from multiple and diverse partners will lead to better outcomes for everyone.

One example of this is our work with Lead-Free NJ.  While there are many amazing organizations and individuals working on lead contamination issues in New Jersey, work was often being done separately.

In other words, it wasn’t holistic, and the lack of comprehensive legislation and funding to address lead poisoning reflected this.  There was a lot of opportunity for success because of the critical nature of the work and new lines of funding, especially at the federal level, but only if multiple groups and individuals came together under a common agenda – to ensure that New Jersey’s children are free from lead poisoning and that our environment is lead-safe.

What have we been able to accomplish together through Lead-Free NJ?  A lot – support for a comprehensive legislative package to improve notifications to renters and protection from lead service lines in rental units and childcare centers, accountability under new state laws, millions of dollars of state and federal funding for lead paint remediation and lead service line replacement, and new education and outreach materials, in multiple languages, based on community input.

In addition to the traditional outcomes we think about like legislation passing and securing funding, other benefits of collaboration include:

  • Becoming a smarter and better advocate by hearing and learning from people with different experiences and perspectives.

  • Gaining supporters and opportunities to push your issue forward through raising it to a larger platform.

  • Opening up funding opportunities and expanding your power of influence by leveraging new relationships and partnerships.

  • Shining the spotlight on your organization and its work through the efforts of the collaboration in the press, social media, and public engagement.

Collaborations take a lot of work and cooperation from their members, but we like to think that it is worth it!