Groups publish tips for ‘shared spaces’

As the dismal economy forces nonprofits and funders alike to search for cost savings that don’t threaten their missions, two groups have published a guide for foundations on sharing nonprofit workspaces.

The free guide from the NonprofitCenters Network and Tides Shared Spaces lists benefits of sharing space and services, and provides tips for foundations looking to fund such “mission-focused facilities.”

The publication is designed as a tool for funders that want to convert their headquarters into areas that can be shared with nonprofits, or that are considering investing in building efforts that incorporate shared space.

In addition to creating long-term savings, such shared spaces create jobs for local residents and provide support for area businesses, the guide says.

Shared space, which can house community conference centers or serve as incubate social ventures, often is based in green spaces and aims to be energy-efficient.

The guide also includes profiles of projects across the U.S. that are considered best-practice efforts in sharing nonprofit space.

The Knight Nonprofit Center, for example, was built in the wake of Hurricane Katrina and when completed in 2009 will house 22 groups that are working to rebuild the area.

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