Collaboration Lab

A Healthy Places by Design marquis program

Invest in power-building collaborations in your community to create equitable, lasting change. 

For funders committed to reducing inequities

Do the members of your community truly work together to meet pressing community need? Is there widespread recognition that collaboration is a precondition for success? With the Healthy Places by Design’s Collaboration Lab™, you can activate the capacity of the leaders in your community – emergent and traditional, of all experiences and backgrounds – to be confident, effective collaborators in service to positive systems-level change.

“Collaboration Lab not only helps our residents gain the skills necessary to collaborate to solve complex problems, but it activates new leaders who never before knew they have an important, influential voice. We’ve found that it deeply engages residents, builds power, and lays the groundwork for real impact on tough issues.”

– Annie Martinie, Director of Collaboration, Danville Regional Foundation, which helped to develop and pilot Collaboration Lab

Why invest in power-building collaboration?

To address systemic inequities, a community’s leaders, traditional and emergent, and its subject-matter experts must collaborate in transformative ways. Effective solutions require deep engagement from members of the community who are most proximal to the issues at stake. Great community leaders must facilitate key stakeholders working together with the right mindsets, in the right structures, at the right times, and for the right reasons.

Leadership is an activity, not a title, and collaborative leadership is the go-to activity of effective change-makers. Maximize the impact of your equity-focused investments. Invest in unlocking the inner collaborative spirit, drive, wisdom, skills, and know-how among your community’s most influential members.


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About the Collaboration Lab

Collaboration Lab™ taps current and future leaders’ deepest capacity to be collaborative local change-makers, ones who understand when it’s important to collaborate, why, how, and in what structures.  It offers a way for your organization to build the collaborative muscles of the community change-makers, both traditional and emergent, who hold the keys to achieving your philanthropy’s most crucial goals.

The is 10-month curriculum delivered directly in your community for the benefit of equipping local leaders to collaborate in fresh new ways in service to lasting systems-change work.

The program was developed by Healthy Places by Design in partnership with the Danville Regional Foundation and the Tamarack Institute.


The “Collaborative Premise” on which the Collaboration Lab program is based:

“If you bring the appropriate people together as peers in constructive ways with good content and context information, they will create authentic visions and strategies for addressing the shared concerns of the organization and community.”

-David Chrislip and Carl Larson, authors of the book Collaborative Leadership


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The Collaboration Lab curriculum explores the nuances of collaboration and power building and provides participants with practical “how-to’s.” The underpinning framework is the “3P model.” The core tenets of building trust and sharing power weave throughout the three “Ps”: People, Process, and Planning. The framework, at its foundation, centers on achieving equitable outcomes.

What's the nature of your challenge?

Collaboration Lab is applicable across multiple philanthropic aims.

  • Does your organization invest in at-large community problem-solving that requires broad-scale work across sectors?
  • Is your work focused on issues, such as in health, housing, poverty, or economic development?
  • Are your investments geographically focused, such as in a specific neighborhood, community, or region?
  • Is your aim improvement in outcomes by population, such as faith groups, or youth?

No matter the specific focus of your funding, the principles and practical lessons of Collaboration Lab deliver tremendous value. If collaborative leadership in your community is required for your goals to be achieved – and it almost certainly is – then consider Collaboration Lab™.



Are you interested in learning if the Collaboration Lab might be right for your community?

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