Southern Nevada has a thriving nonprofit sector; however, all too often, connecting and collaborating for the greater good is challenging. In 2013, Gard Jameson developed the Jameson Fellowship to address the lack of cohesion. Selected individuals, the “Jameson Fellows,” work within teams to develop initiatives in one of five social sectors: jobs/economy, health/human services, education, natural/built environment, and arts and culture. In conjunction with the Las Vegas Healthy Communities Coalition and other key groups, the Jameson Fellows aim to boost collaboration and enhance the overall quality of life in Las Vegas.
As a new program, the first set of Jameson Fellows have focused on building their individual sectors. The teams, composed of the fellows and LVHCC representatives, started by creating asset maps to determine what each of them had to offer and how they could support one another. The monthly Jameson fellows meetings serve as a leadership lab, which focuses on skill building and successful networking with others excelling in the field.
The Jameson Fellows and Las Vegas Healthy Communities Coalition are working on their pilot project Las Vegas Downtown Achieves (LVDA). Its motto “academic success for every student through collective community action” reflects the collaborative nature of the Jameson Fellowship. LVDA relies heavily on partnerships to provide students with every resource they need to be successful; the 60 organizations and community leaders involved in LVDA believe that economic vitality starts and ends with education, and they hope to address the achievement gap by identifying needs and connecting resources from all sectors.
Julie Murray, CEO and President of Moonridge Group, is a Downtown Achieves Advisor, and the Moonridge team provides administrative support as well as consulting services for the project. In addition, numerous connections were created across sectors and among nonprofits in our community. A number of opportunities were identified that allow for greater coordination and less duplication of services. The Jameson Fellows found the program to be an incredible leadership development experience. Jameson Fellows will launch their 2015 class soon, which will be led and guided by past years’ alumni, with the guidance of the Moonridge Group.