Nonprofits working in the same area often are inefficient because they duplicate efforts and lack sufficient individual resources to make a significant community impact. Even when they come together in an informal or formal association to tackle issues jointly, their efforts may not be effective because agency budgetary and time constraints work against strengthening the collaborative effort. Lodestar has provided funds to a number of nonprofit associations and collaborations for collaboration coordinators, for consultants to help develop strategic plans for collaborations, and for various collaboration projects. For example, Lodestar provided funds to the Coalition Against Domestic Violence to develop standardized software for the participating nonprofits ($29,700); over a period of four years, Lodestar funds helped build a collaboration among numerous nonprofits, government agencies and individuals dealing with osteoporosis prevention, education and treatment. ($44,500); three planning grants from Lodestar enabled a coalition of breast cancer groups decide to develop a common community website. ($11,500)
The Nonprofit Centers Network (NCN) supports the development and operation of multi-tenant nonprofit centers and shared-service arrangements. Lodestar has provided substantial support over the years to increase the capacity of NCN to advise and inform the sector about shared-space and shared-service projects. The NCN 2011 Impact Assessment Study, underwritten by the Lodestar Foundation in partnership with the Kresge Foundation, demonstrated that shared nonprofit spaces and services yield significant efficiencies and impact and that shared spaces often become homes for new and important collaborations. In 2012, the Lodestar Foundation, again in partnership with the Kresge Foundation, provided a three-year grant to NCN to expand marketing, training and new product development. Additional grants have helped NCN expand both resources and programming.
The Lodestar Foundation created and funded the development, implementation and enhancement of the Foundation Center's Nonprofit Collaboration Database, housed at the Foundation Center’s Collaboration Hub, a portal that contains case studies, podcasts, videos, and resources on collaborations, mergers, and joint programming. The Nonprofit Collaboration Database is a fully-searchable database that provides information on more than 650 collaborations, most of which were applicants for the Collaboration Prize contests. The database serves as the primary sector resource for models of nonprofit collaboration.