From Information Sharing to Courageous Collaboration
“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it's the only thing that ever has.” Margaret Mead
When a group of St. Paul social service agencies started to gather informally in the mid-90s, their mission was simple—to share information. The group, all of whom had origins in the settlement house movement, quickly discovered the value of collaboration. By 1997, they reached out to their partners in Minneapolis to expand their collective knowledge. In 1999 they formally incorporated as the Metropolitan Alliance of Community Centers and focused their attention on peer learning, joint conferences and leadership trainings.
This all changed in the early 2000s, when the organization transformed from information sharing to action. Minnesota was facing a $4.5 billion shortfall and it was clear nonprofits needed to brace for cuts. It was in this moment of crisis that a group of courageous organizations within MACC decided to collaborate together not only to survive this new economic landscape, but also increase their collective impact on the communities they serve.
Thus began the MACC Alliance. The Alliance focused on information sharing and exploring bold initiatives such as managed benefits. It was unheard of at the time and lead to another courageous step forward when the organization decided that in addition to sharing ideas and purpose, they could also share staff.
In 2005, the MACC CommonWealth was formed. For 10-years, it leveraged the services of administrative experts in the areas of HR and IT, among others to provide a foundational strength in back-end administration so that individual non-profits could focus on what matters most—their mission.
For nearly a decade, this system works. But, as times and member needs evolved, it became apparent that the two organizations could better serve their members by combining forces. In 2016, the organizations and its members merged into the Metropolitan Alliance of Connected Communities (MACC).
Today, MACC members achieve greater equity for the individuals, families and communities they serve by tapping into our expertise and network capabilities. We’re more than 40 member organizations strong, employing more than 2,000 staff members, with a combined annual operating budget of $150 million. Collectively, we serve more than 350,000 individuals each year and are exploring bold activities to create real and sustaining change in our communities.
It is hard to believe that our founders ever anticipated the impact information sharing could have, but it was their bold vision of courageous collaboration that’s brought us to where we are today. As we enter this next chapter in our journey, we hope you consider joining us on this adventure bound by the principal that together we can and will achieve greater equity for those we serve.