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Evaluating and Informing the Local Government–Nonprofit Relationship: Cross-Sector Partnerships in Loudoun County, Virginia

Mary Beth Dunkenberger, Elizabeth Allen, Liz Weaver, Shalom Black


Over the past few decades, Loudoun County, Virginia, has experienced dramatic economic and population growth and diversification. Though one of the wealthiest localities in the nation, the county has faced challenges in meeting the demands for increased human services associated with the county’s rapid development and growth. In 2016–2017 and within this dynamic and challenging context, the county partnered with the Virginia Tech Institute of Policy and Governance to conduct a needs assessment to identify service, resource, and funding gaps and to develop recommendations to improve the ability of Loudoun nonprofits and public agencies to meet existing and emerging resident needs. The academic, local government, and nonprofit engagement resulted in targeted strategies and served as a mechanism to move the cross-sector relationship toward increased sustained collaboration. This case study provides an overview of the academic research, the assessment process and results, and the marked achievements and challenges of the process. 

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nonprofit; human services; collaboration; funding; local government; cross-sector

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