Collective impact is a collaborative, place-based model based on the premise that meaningful collaboration requires the development of a comprehensive, multi-sector partnership that brings together organizations from key sectors within a community. Because collective impact work cannot be carried out effectively without the foundation of a strong multi-sector partnership, it is crucial to understand whether communities attempting to engage in collective impact are able to develop one, and what factors facilitate or hinder this type of partnership formation.
This brief examines how postsecondary institutions have attempted to develop multi-sector partnerships within a collective impact context using data from a study of the Ford Corridors of College Success initiative, which focuses on community colleges as a locus of engagement. Findings indicate that while the sample community colleges are engaged in multiple efforts with other organizations to promote student success, these efforts are mostly occurring through binary partnerships rather than true multi-sector partnerships. Empowering postsecondary institutions to transform binary partnerships into meaningful multi-sector partnerships will require greater attention to their capacity for building and nurturing relationships.