Leveraging Philanthropy and Collaboration

The Lodestar Foundation seeks to expand the overall capacity of the social sector by promoting philanthropy, volunteering, public service, nonprofit collaboration and other business practices.

Special Projects

"THE MERGERS THAT MADE A DIFFERENCE" PROJECT: The Lodestar Foundation partnered with the Catalyst Fund for Nonprofits, La Piana Consulting and the Bridgespan Group to create a knowledge-building project entitled The Mergers that Made a Difference. The project, which brings together funders, social sector leaders, and intermediaries in a discussion on the factors that can make nonprofit mergers and collaborations a success, grew out of a Stanford Social Innovation Review article and an accompanying webinar focused on building momentum around nonprofit collaboration. Through blogs, case studies, and webinars, the project’s web portal explores effective nonprofit mergers, looking specifically at their rationales, catalysts and results as well as the challenges of due diligence and integration.

THE COLLABORATION PRIZE: The Lodestar Foundation established the Collaboration Prize to showcase nonprofit organizations that have collaborated effectively for greater impact. The competition was held in 2009 and again in 2011. Combined, more than 1,400 applications were submitted and the Lodestar Foundation provided a total of $500,000 in grants to winners and finalists. Hundreds of the submitted collaboration applications were used to create the Nonprofit Collaboration Database, a broad-based database, searchable by a wide variety of categories and characteristics, that is available on the Collaboration Hub, which includes valuable publications, questions and answers, links to videos and podcasts, blog posts, and a comprehensive, searchable collection of 650+ profiles of vetted collaborations submitted for the Collaboration Prize in 2009 and 2011.  In addition to the grants that were awarded to the winners and finalists, The Lodestar Foundation funded more than $2 million for the creation and administration of the Collaboration Prize and the Nonprofit Collaboration Database.

THE LODESTAR DISPUTE RESOLUTION PROGRAM: Believing that the widespread and ever-growing use of litigation has fostered a breakdown of civility in our business and personal lives, Jerry Hirsch began investing in mediation as an alternate way of resolving disputes long before formation of The Lodestar Foundation. We have continued and expanded that investment, which started with support of a mediation clinic at the Sandra Day O'Connor College of Law at Arizona State University (ASU). The clinic, which has grown into the Lodestar Dispute Resolution Program, encompasses training both lawyers and non-lawyers in various forms of dispute resolution, performing scholarly research in the field, and providing mediation services in various forums.

Some of the innovative projects initiated by the program include developing a handbook for use by dormitory advisors to resolve disputes among dorm students, instructing junior high school students on alternative dispute resolution techniques, and having dispute resolution students serve as mediators in actual small claims complaints filed in the City of Tempe Justice Court, where an average of more than 60 percent of such disputes are being settled by these student mediators. Recently, the program entered into a relationship with the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for Arizona, conducting mediations that so far have resulted in a 62.5% settlement rate.

Our dispute resolution partnership with ASU has been in place for more than fifteen years. In 2005, the law school received the inaugural Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals Alternative Dispute Resolution Education Award for its development of innovative curriculum, research and service in the area of alternative dispute resolution. Program students have won the ABA National Representation in Mediation Competition twice (in 2006 and in 2012), the first time that a school has done so--and the first time that the winning coach was a former national champion competitor.