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Help Businesses and Community Organizations Individually Develop Strategies and Action Plans For Increasing Their Internal Capabilities To Partner Across Sectors

We start with observations of their partnership experience and interviews to identify needs. We then engage personnel in developing strategies and action plans they can implement to address their needs.

Service 1
Example of our products (1)



Our research over 15 years indicates that the same needs identified by businesses and community organizations more than a decade ago persist today in all sectors (business, nonprofit, and public) and in locations as diverse as Vietnam and Maine, USA. Most common are building trust, increasing knowledge on how to partner, and building the skills most important for partnering. Cross-sector practitioners identify the same needs. In 2016, cross-sector professionals in India, South Africa, Brazil, and the US indicated that skills to build trust and communicate across sectors are top priorities for individuals helping organizations partner across sectors to improve global health. We have tools to address these needs developed in collaboration with practitioners. See Resources.

We Help Individuals Build Business-Community Partnerships Based on Practitioner Experience

ACCESS Partnerships offers short courses for individuals to learn how to overcome the lack of trust, knowedge and skills that  businesses and community organizations most often identify as obstacles to cross-sector partnerships.

Service 2


We are now in our sixth year of teaching a popular skill institute for graduate students in social enterprise at American University. In 2018, we adapted the course to offer it online for students living offsite. During the  2½ day course, participants create their own partnerships that demonstrate their knowledge of how to network and build a reputation for collaboration, build relationships and trust, craft an MOU, and develop plans for implementation, communication, and measurement of partnership progress and outcomes.


Participants use tools including case studies and other materials based on practitioner experience to increase learning on how to partner. See Resources. Case studies describe partnerships involving businesses from a variety of industries and nonprofits/public agencies specializing in all aspects of community development.


Additional tools include summaries of brainstorming sessions among businesses and community organizations about how to address key partnership challenges such as how to find a partner, communicate for successful partnerships, and differentiate partnerships from other relationships. 

Service2 Example

We Help Businesses and Communities In A Given Area Develop Their Own Solutions for Increasing Their Abilities to Partner

In fifteen years of learning from companies and community organizations what they need to increase their abilities to partner and how to help them address their needs, we have developed a proven model for partnership building. The needs most commonly identified are to increase trust, knowledge, and skills to partner. We collaborate with a local organization in each location to ensure that solutions can be sustainable.


The model uses design thinking/human-centered design to help organizations develop solutions that they will use to increase their abilities to partner. Our process begins with field research to assess, network, observe and consult with businesses and community organizations to determine the feasibility, viability, and desirability of adapting our model in a new location. This includes finding local examples of business-community partnerships, one-on-one interviews with organizations about their interests and needs to partner, ways to help them address their needs, and recommendations for a local organization they trust to help them. See Our Model.

Service 3
Partnership Building Approach
AP Partnership Building Model slide_8.19
Service3 Example

We Help Business and Community Organization Partners Tell Their Stories

Access Partnerships uses guidelines for content and length of case studies that are based on suggestions from business and community organization partners

Servie 4 Example


In 2008, based on the advice of businesses on how to help more businesses contribute to community well-being and sustainability, we began assisting business and nonprofit partners in Indonesia tell the stories of their existing partnerships. Partners were members of the Health and Business Roundtable Indonesia (HBRI). Members created the Roundtable, now known as the Partnership Forum, to overcome common obstacles to partnership building including a lack of trust, knowledge of how to partner, and skills to partner across sectors.

ACCESS Partnerships worked with Indonesian colleagues whom we later helped create the Indonesian nonprofit CCPHI. By the end of 2013 when our formal role in Indonesia ended, we had assisted 13 sets of partners to produce case studies in Bahasa Indonesia and English. That number has more than doubled since then. As of 2018, there are a total of 31 case studies. Partners include multinational and Indonesian companies and international and Indonesian nonprofits. Several also involve public agencies.

The set of case studies represents a unique resource for businesses and community organizations to learn how to partner for community well-being and sustainability. Case studies describe how partners initiate their partnerships including their motivations for partnering, how they implement their partnerships including challenges they encounter, their results, key success factors, and future plans. Topics address a variety of challenges communities face worldwide: clean water and sanitation; infectious diseases; access to health services, especially among women and children; education; the environment; HIV and AIDS and drug prevention, malaria control, nutrition, community empowerment and women’s empowerment; small and medium enterprise development; and disaster management.



  • Pertamina (the Indonesian state-owned oil and gas company) and the Indonesian Planned Parenthood Association (IPPA) on ensuring sustainable reproductive health services through community participation

  • Chevron and the Indonesian nonprofit YBUL on community-based environmental conservation and micro-finance development

  • Unilever Indonesia and Persada on clean and healthy environment through community participation


For More: See Case Studies.

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