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The Intersector

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The Intersector

How the Public, Nonprofit, and Private Sectors Can Address America’s Challenges

Brookings Institution Press,

15 min read
8 take-aways
Audio & text

What's inside?

Find solutions to shared global threats and interconnected problems with cross-sector collaboration. 

Editorial Rating



  • Visionary
  • Concrete Examples
  • For Experts


Public policy experts Neil Britto and Daniel Gitterman believe humanity requires fresh approaches to problem-solving. They offer a diverse, comprehensive range of perspectives – from those working in academia and philanthropy to practitioners with relevant experience – demonstrating how collaborating across sectors can fuel meaningful social change. The writers urge you to recognize that complex problems require interconnected solutions and compromise, and they challenge you to disrupt the status quo.


Overcoming shared global challenges requires cross-sector innovation.

Humanity is living amidst global uncertainty: The international community seeks to bounce back economically from the COVID-19 pandemic, while, at the same time, authoritarianism, data privacy, climate change and social unrest demand complex solutions. Recovery requires new modes of collaboration across the private, nonprofit and public sectors. Cross-collaboration is an innovative process deploying resources in new ways to solve problems in the public interest. Organizations across sectors must share or link capabilities, information and activities to accomplish something together they can’t achieve alone. For example, to reduce veteran homelessness, health organizations, housing groups and veterans’ groups must work together to create interconnected solutions.

The consultancy group GSG coined the phrase “collective impact” to refer to a cross-sector partnership model, in which groups agree to a shared agenda and goal measurement system. This collaborative governance requires connecting in collective forums to engage in deliberate, ...

About the Authors

Adjunct professor at New York University’s Wagner School of Public Service Neil Britto is a project lead at the Aspen Institute’s Program on Philanthropy and Social Innovation and co-founder of the Intersector Project. Chair of public policy for UNC’s Department of Public Policy Daniel Gitterman serves as director of its Public Policy and Global Affairs honors seminar.

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