Pittsburgh Nonprofits Create Human Resources Collaborative

Unable to tackle mounting personnel issues on their own, three Pittsburgh nonprofits have come together to share a human resources staffer who will handle those functions for the groups, the Pittsburgh Business Times reports.

Forming the unique collaborative are the Pennsylvania Organization for Women in Early Recovery, a drug and alcohol addiction program for women, Bethlehem Haven, which provides emergency shelter and other services to homeless women, and the Center for Victims of Violent Crime. Together, the three groups employ about 150 staff members and serve more than forty thousand people a year.

Realizing that her organization's expansion had created personnel issues beyond its expertise and mindful of foundation prodding to share back-office functions, Bethlehem Haven executive director Marilyn Sullivan proposed the partnership to the directors of the two other groups. "Foundations are happy to see three nonprofits coming together to reduce administrative overhead," P.O.W.E.R. executive director Rosa Davis told the Business Times. "Foundations are screaming for nonprofits to collaborate."

"We've been trying to promote that concept for years," agreed Ann Marie Helms, program officer at the Pittsburgh-based Richard King Mellon Foundation, which contributed $165,000 toward the $325,000 initiative. Other funding came from the Pittsburgh Foundation and the Federation of Independent School Alumni Foundation, while the William J. Copeland Fund sponsored the initial feasibility study. "Hopefully, a lot of learning will come out of this," said Helms. Indeed, other nonprofits may follow suit as funding becomes scarcer, and the three partners in the collaborative are already discussing sharing information systems expertise and establishing joint buying programs.

Lynn Glover. "Nonprofits Form HR Collaborative." Pittsburgh Business Times 07/14/2003.