Innovative nonprofit partnership brought Frog and Toad to life
By Lauren Jeong, program associate, Community Foundation for Greater Atlanta
Partnerships are critical to our nonprofit ecosystem because they challenge our thinking, expand our audience size and help us more fully meet need through complementary services. However, finding the time, resources and alignment to foster new partnerships is not an easy feat, particularly across issue areas and sub-sectors. That’s why the Community Foundation was excited to see a new partnership effort formed by two of our recent Managing for Excellence Awardees.
Synchronicity Theatre, a 2018 Managing for Excellence awardee, and Literacy Action, a 2017 awardee, recently partnered to provide a robust arts and literary experience that brought Literacy Action’s family literacy program and Synchronicity’s production of A Year with Frog and Toad together. Synchronicity offers diverse programs from mainstage performances to theatrical workshops that challenge the mind, build empathy and expand culture through the creation and support of new theatrical work that empowers females. Recognizing that approximately 22% of people in the Atlanta region are ‘low literate’ (U.S. Census), Literacy Action offers instruction for adult learners in six levels of reading and writing, four levels of math, computer and work skills, grammar and oral expression, and preparation for the GED (high school equivalency) examination. Literacy Action’s programming also includes a family literacy initiative that fosters reading for the entire family.
While on the surface these organizations may not have many similarities, they were able to find overlap and co-create a meaningful experience. Synchronicity brought two actors from A Year with Frog and Toad to a family literacy class at Literacy Action, gave each of the students a collection of the Frog and Toad books, and then read expressively from the text while the Literacy Action teacher went over techniques for helping young readers. All of the adults who attended the class were invited to Synchronicity Theatre to see a performance of A Year with Frog and Toad. Each child who attended with them also received a plush frog or toad. After the show, there was a short reception with the cast to further bring the books to life. This effort was funded by Junior League of Atlanta.
With the success of this initial partnership effort, Literacy Action and Synchronicity are discussing possible ways to work together in the future. This is an excellent example of unique organizations coming together to expand audiences and amplify the experience for their constituents.