The Gekieres had a clear vision for the community they wanted to impact — low-income working families — and a goal for finding the right nonprofits. They approached CFT with a new idea. What if, together, we could support nonprofit collaboration...

A unique partnership was kicked off when Wende Burton, senior community philanthropy director, who oversees CFT’s community impact focus on economic security, identified organizations doing effective work in the areas the Gekieres were interested in. She and the Gekieres proposed a one-of-a-kind, collaborative program between The Senior Source and Society of St. Vincent de Paul. The joint initiative allowed the two nonprofits to share resources and learnings, and work together to create a plan that was more impactful than something either organization could have done individually.


Wende and Gekieres

"This is a partnership we never could have assembled on our own," said Larry. "Because these nonprofits both trust CFT, they were open to trying something new." CFT also played a key role in the follow-up process, allowing for the tracking of results and fine-tuning of the program, which have been critical to its success and a great reassurance to the Gekieres that their vision would be stewarded well.

"There is a limit to what any one donor can achieve,” said Suzy. “Our hope is that by promoting collaboration between nonprofits, we can create an opportunity for sustained impact on a greater level.”


The Side by Side initiative was founded by Larry and Suzy Gekiere in partnership with CFT, The Senior Source and The Society of St. Vincent de Paul. Support this work with a donation below. 

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