Ilwaco, Wash. - ShoreBank Enterprise Cascadia is in the running for a $250,000 prize from a national foundation that wants to reward collaborative efforts in the nonprofit world.

The recent economic shockwaves have made a primary goal of The Lodestar Foundation's - to encourage collaboration among nonprofits to eliminate duplication and create efficiency - more pressing than ever.

Earlier this year, in an effort to increase nonprofit efficiency, the foundation, in association with the Arizona-Indiana-Michigan Alliance, created the Collaboration Prize, a cash award of $250,000 presented to the most successful collaboration in the nonprofit world.

Lodestar has named the 30 semi-finalists, selected from a pool of more than 644 U.S. nominations, including ShoreBank Enterprise Cascadia.

The bank was selected for the merger of two community development financial institutions. ShoreBank Enterprise Pacific and Cascadia Revolving Fund merged to leverage the strengths of both organizations. Loans grew from $6.5 million to $16 million in the first year. As a merged organization, executives say that ShoreBank Enterprise Cascadia delivers greater impacts on the economic, social and environmental health of rural and urban communities in the Pacific Northwest and beyond.

"It is an honor to be a nominee and semifinalist for this prize," said John Berdes, president of ShoreBank Enterprise Cascadia. "As a result of the merger, we can deliver more capital and information to the region's distressed communities, and be a better partner to those who share our belief that a vibrant economy demands strategies that cross traditional boundaries between rural and urban landscapes."

The 30 semi-finalists represent organizations across the U.S. that address youth services, voting rights and election reform, homelessness, unemployment, health care and the environment.

"The collaborations that were evaluated are saving these nonprofits real dollars in administrative overhead, staffing and all kinds of other costs that are having an incredibly positive impact on, not just their bottom lines, but also their ability to focus their scarce resources on carrying out their important missions," said Lois Savage, president of the Lodestar Foundation.

Lodestar will announce the winner March 5 at a seminar on collaboration among nonprofits sponsored by the Association of Small Foundations.


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