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Executive Summary

For the last year, the leadership of PathWays PA and of Women In Transition have worked together to form a partnership to ensure that vulnerable women living in the greater Philadelphia area have access to the services necessary to achieve self-sufficiency, well-being, safety and sobriety. The partnership between PathWays PA and Women In Transition comes at a time when all social service organizations face two daunting challenges: increased demand for services and reduced resources. The approach taken by PathWays PA and Women In Transition offers an innovative way to “do more with less,” creating operational efficiencies within two organizations with complementary missions and services, which creates opportunities for cross referrals and joint programming without duplication of services.

The United Way of Greater Philadelphia and Southern New Jersey and The Philadelphia Foundation played a critical role in helping to bring PathWays PA and Women In Transition together. Through the resources and support provided by the United Way and The Philadelphia Foundation, PathWays PA was able to engage external consultants who provided expertise that helped in analyzing the risks and benefits of the partnership and kept the process moving forward.

Need for Partnership

The partnership between PathWays PA (PathWays) and Women In Transition (WIT) was formed to ensure the survival and continuation of WIT as an agency and of its programs and to strengthen both organizations to better meet the needs of vulnerable women. In 2011, the executive director of WIT approached the president and CEO of PathWays PA to discuss forming a strategic partnership to serve vulnerable women. At that time, WIT was challenged by declining revenues, forcing the organization to make difficult decisions about its future. From this challenge came the opportunity to partner with PathWays PA and create new joint service offerings that would build WIT’s capacity in areas of need including fiscal management while benefiting the consumers served by both organizations.

WIT viewed PathWays as a natural partner because of PathWays’s long history of providing comprehensive services for vulnerable women, teen girls and families. PathWays PA viewed WIT as a potential partner because of its established history of serving vulnerable women who are victimized by domestic violence and substance abuse. Both directors concluded that the services provided by PathWays and WIT are natural complements: many of the women served by each organization are in need of the services offered by the other organization.

This partnership is an invaluable opportunity to strengthen and develop both organizations individually while providing opportunities to grow collectively. This partnership will aide two organizations with nearly 75 years of combined experience in continuing to serve vulnerable women and teens, a population that has increased over the past five years because of the country’s economic condition and the diminished investment in services for those who often go voiceless.