There is no one way of establishing governance structures and many different models exist. For example, Community A’s board serves as the subcommittee of a community Behavioral Health Leadership Team (BHLT), focused on behavioral health issues impacting children, youth, and families. The board has 12 members who meet on a monthly basis. The board is composed of two young people, two family members, directors of local child-serving agencies, a philanthropic organization, and a pastor of a local church. The board has a chair and vice chair, filled by a family representative, and both serve as representatives to the community’s BHLT. The subcommittee invites all interested stakeholders to the monthly meetings, with most meetings having 20 to 25 participants.
Community B has a long-standing governance board, developed from a task force started by a local mayor. The community has formed a non-profit organization to serve as the “backbone” of the collaborative, with two part-time staff. All participating organizations contribute an annual membership fee, based on the size of the organization, and individuals can join with an individual membership fee. A leadership board, made up of nine agency leaders and two family members, provides oversight and direction, but most strategies are undertaken by the six current committees, which meet at least monthly. The structure allows the participating organizations to leverage resources, share training opportunities, foster collaboration rather than competition, and enhance communication among service providers.