Doing Good Across Faith and Global Borders: Case Studies in International Nonprofit Partnerships




partnership, collaboration, nongovernmental organizations, faith-based organizations


Researchers who have examined the role of partnerships in addressing intractable social problems have concluded that collaborative approaches yield results superior to those of organizations acting alone. In this article, I examine the forms, strengths, and limitations of partnering across international borders through two collaborative programs operating in faith-based, nonprofit fields: Lutheran Church Missouri Synod World Missions operating in the Czech Republic and PROCOM Rwanda operating in the African nation of Rwanda. The purpose of this study was to examine the structural arrangements of these partnerships, elements that facilitate and impede partnering, and how partners define and measure success. I offer perspectives on development of full partnerships, as opposed to minimalist partnerships characterized by limited contractual obligation and mutual accountability, and significant differences in power wielded by organizational leaders. I conclude that whether or not such partnerships live up to their promise depends on factors including organizational structure, economic and political resources, philosophical and mission alignment, accountability, and communication. 

Author Biography

Julie Pietroburgo, Southern Illinois University Edwardsville

Dr. Pietroburgo is a Professor in the Masters of Public Administration Program at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville. For the past 14 years, she has taught classes in nonprofit management (board leadership, grantwriting, fundraising and management practice). She is the 2012 recipient of a Fulbright Award through which she taught nonprofit capacity building to 150 students in the Czech Republic. She has 15 years experience working in the private sector for AT&T where, as a District Manager, she was responsible for strategic planning, government relations and public relations functions. She serves on multiple nonprofit boards and has conducted extensive research and received multiple grants in the area of nonprofit mergers, alliances and collaborations.