Case Study: Rethinking City Government and Nonprofit Relationships

Posted in News Story

Natalie Sandoval is a 2023-2024 Pablo Eisenberg Public Interest Fellow at the Center for Public and Nonprofit Leadership. 

In pursuit of better serving the public, governments have been rethinking traditional sector practices in favor of more innovative, inclusive, and efficient systems. Taking inspiration from existing models, the Office of Strategic Partnerships (OSP) in Jacksonville, Florida was created to align the public, private and philanthropic sectors around common goals to create better outcomes for all Duval County residents. 

The Office of Strategic Partnerships aimed to address the challenges that local partners face when attempting to coordinate and implement services for residents. The groundwork for this office required investment from community partners, tireless work from its director, and the continual support of the mayor. Through the leadership of Director Dawn Lockhart, the initial years of the OSP were entrenched in deep commitment to reach overlooked partners, develop clear, collective goals, and maintain consistent communication. Through trust-building, intensive cooperation, and the long-term commitment of OSP partners, the partners were able to increase their capacity as local leaders, and deliver increased access to services for Duval county citizens. The Mayor’s Downtown Homelessness Task Force and Census 2020 serve as two case studies further exploring the model and its impact on the community. As the Office of Strategic Partnerships has moved through different phases, its initial groundwork and services to citizens serve as a model for other local governments. 

Between 2002-2013, the Center for Nonprofit and Public Leadership developed customized programs for the Jessie Ball duPont Fund in Jacksonville, Florida. Through this connection, the Center learned of the significant work occurring in Jacksonville in recent years and was connected to OSP Director Dawn Lockhart. This case study highlights OSP’s commitment to cross-sector partnerships as a strategy to achieve greater impact for citizens in Jacksonville.

Read the entire case study here.