Driving Impact through Values-Based Partnerships

As contemporary philanthropic ideals prioritize transformation of systems over treatment of symptoms, it is no longer tenable for a single organization to tackle an issue from just one direction. Fighting increasingly complex challenges with limited resources requires intentional and effective collaboration.

What is needed for a truly actionable and impactful partnership? How can organizations take collective action based on common values? How can partners form a common agenda when individual values diverge? What are some of the opportunities for impact, and some of the recurring challenges, in cross-sector collaboration? In this session, we will hear from leaders in the philanthropic and nonprofit space who are pursuing partnerships and forging new alliances in innovative and impactful ways—and reflect on how these lessons can be replicated for the field at large.


Frances G. Padilla: President, Universal Health Care Foundation of Connecticut

Steve Mott: Chief of Staff, HELP USA

David Muhammad: Executive Director, National Institute for Criminal Justice Reform


Peter Crumlish: Executive Director, Dwight Hall at Yale

Panelist Bios:

Frances G. Padilla was appointed President of Universal Health Care Foundation of Connecticut in September 2012. She has held various leadership positions in the organization since joining the Foundation in 2004, in addition to spearheading the Foundation's research and policy initiatives, which led to the design of the landmark SustiNet law in 2009, and building block health care reform legislation passed in 2011. Her career in philanthropy, which began as a program officer at the Hartford Foundation for Public Giving, spans over 30 years. She later held positions at the Community Foundation for Greater New Haven before running her own business, New Paradigms Consulting.

Frances serves on the Connecticut Health Care Cabinet as well as on the Steering Committee of the State Innovation Model (SIM) Initiative, advising on implementation of a $45 million federal grant to the state of Connecticut. SIM is designed to improve community health and eliminate inequities, ensure superior access and quality to care; empower individuals to actively participate in their care; and improve affordability of health care costs.  In addition, Frances is a founding member and past co-chair of the Leadership Council of the Connecticut Choosing Wisely Collaborative. She currently serves on the boards of Connecticut Council for Philanthropy, and Planned Parenthood of Southern New England.  Until recently she served on the board of Qualidigm. A New Haven resident and native of New York City, Frances is a graduate of Wesleyan University and holds a Master's Degree in Public Administration from the Harvard Kennedy School.

Steve Mott is the Chief of Staff of HELP USA, a national homeless service and low-income housing non-profit headquartered in New York. Steve is in charge of strategy and long-term planning at HELP and under his leadership the organization has nearly doubled in size and expanded into three new states. Steve is also responsible for HELP’s inter-departmental organizational modernization and transformation projects, community relations, and government affairs. Prior to joining HELP in 2012, Steve worked at an anti-poverty non-profit in East Harlem. Before moving to New York, Steve was a policy advisor to U.S. Senator Sheldon Whitehouse, where he focused on commerce and technology. Steve has a BA from Harvard University, and an MBA from the Yale School of Management. He lives in Larchmont, NY with his wife, two children, and two dogs.

David Muhammad is a leader in the fields of criminal justice, violence prevention, and youth development. Mr. Muhammad is the Executive Director of the National Institute for Criminal Justice Reform (NICJR). Through NICJR, David serves as a lead consultant and technical assistant provider to the Sierra Health Foundation’s Positive Youth Justice Initiative, supporting probation departments throughout the State of California to transform their juvenile justice practice. David also provides leadership and technical assistance to the CeaseFire Violence Reduction Strategy in the cities of Oakland and Stockton, California. Mr. Muhammad is also a consultant and technical assistant provider to Cities United, a national initiative to drastically reduce the Black male homicide rates in American cities.

As a graduate of Howard University’s School of Communications, David also has an extensive journalism career. Since 1997, Muhammad was a contributing editor and television show host for Pacific News Service in San Francisco. His columns continue to be published in publications around the country. David was the editor of the “Seeking Solutions to Black on Black Crime” series in the Globe Newspapers from 2007-2009. In honor of his work with youth, Muhammad received the 2000 Community Leadership Award and Fellowship from The California Wellness Foundation, honoring community leaders who are involved in violence prevention. In 2002, he was awarded the prestigious Next Generation Leadership Award from The Rockefeller Foundation. Muhammad's proudest accomplishment is being a father to his three children.

Peter Crumlish serves as the Executive Director and General Secretary of Dwight Hall, Yale’s student-led center for public service and social justice. After graduating from Cornell with an A.B. in History, Peter lived abroad in Thailand and Japan, teaching English and writing. He served in the Peace Corps in the Philippines from 1996-98 as a teacher trainer, where he met his wife, Sara, a fellow PCV. After Peace Corps, Peter worked as a community organizer in the Bronx and ran a nonprofit public/private partnership with the New York City Parks Department, building community engagement around parks and public spaces in the five boroughs of the city. Peter later taught Western Philosophy and World Religions at a boarding school in Maine, where he also served as the Director of College Counseling and as the Housemaster of the freshman and sophomore boys’ dorm. He received a Master of Arts in Religion summa cum laude from Yale Divinity School in 2009 and afterward returned to nonprofit work in New Haven, serving as the director of resource development for Neighborhood Housing Services of New Haven. In 2013, Peter became the head of Dwight Hall at Yale, a 130-year-old institution founded by undergraduates whose mission is to nurture and inspire students as leaders of social change and advance justice and service in New Haven and abroad. He lives in the Edgewood neighborhood of New Haven with his wife, Sara, his three sons, and his dog, Bridie.