How Does AiSP Work?

Partners’ process for helping you build valuable partnerships starts with our own partnership with you and your community. Our team works very closely with you and your potential partners throughout the process of discovery and relationship development. We offer valuable tools, training, insight, facilitation, and a healthy dose of project management and task mastering. The process has four basic steps, outlined below.

Naturally, we cannot guarantee our ability to find or facilitate a partnership for every participant. Remember, it’s not about finding the right partner, it’s about finding the right partner for you. And it’s important to realize that the time it takes to find and build new partnerships can vary widely from a matter of a few months, to a few years, since so much of the process is true “match making,” not a science.

Regardless of whether an immediate partnership arises from your participation in the Making Homes for the Arts in Sacred Places training program, we can assure that you and your stakeholders will develop valuable knowledge, skills, and experience in evaluating partner opportunities and developing successful partnerships. We are confident that these skills will greatly enhance your ability to serve your community.

Step 1: Initial Co-investment

To ensure that every participant starts with a baseline commitment to the process, we begin with an application and an initial co-investment that consists of the time it takes to complete the information-gathering process, as well as a financial commitment of $500* per participating organization or individual.

Partners matches this investment 1:1 through our involvement in information gathering and subsidies that we raise to support the program. The basic information we need to start is collected through an initial leadership interview and site visit, information forms, and a space assessment. Here is some of the information we will be gathering:

  • financial information on your current and recently past operations
  • the quality of leadership and degree of planning and assessment that you engage
  • the size and level of involvement of your stakeholders
  • space and other current and future resources needs
  • current assets that you have to offer a partnership
  • the size and key attributes of the facilities that you operate

*This pays for training only. Matchmaking and Partnership Development come at additional costs. Please note, too, that steps 1 and 2 must be completed to be eligible for Matchmaking and Partnership Development.

Step 2: In-depth Training

All participants are required to attend a two-day, non-consecutive, highly participatory training session, which covers a wide range of partnership best practices and issues to consider and includes a copy of our Making Homes for the Arts in Sacred Places Training Manual. Training sessions are currently held once a year in Philadelphia and Chicago.

Skill and knowledge building topics covered in the training sessions include, among others:

  • hot to determine mission, vision, and values alignment with potential partners
  • approaches to asset mapping and inventorying
  • how to manage conversations about taboo or difficult subjects
  • how to ensure a fairly balanced and mutually beneficial partnership
  • assessing the lease value of your space
  • legal, regulatory, and capitalization issues
  • process planning – how to go about negotiating a partnership

Step 3: MatchMaking

The first two steps are about fact-finding and skill-building. With these complete, we can begin exploring and facilitating real partnership conversations and arrangements.

Sometimes prospective partnerships arise out of our training sessions. Other times, after step 2 is complete, we simply use the information we gather through Step 1 to bring potential partners together. And we have had arts organizations and potential partner congregations who have already started conversations, come to us for assistance.

Step 4: Partnership Development

Finally, once one (or more) potential partners are identified, we help facilitate and support the process of developing the partnership.

As with many kinds of negotiation and relationship building, having a neutral “third party” involved can be tremendously valuable and in some cases, critical to a successful outcome. Some things are very difficult to work out without some mediation and outside opinion.

While we don’t offer legal**, accounting, or other such advice, we can provide expert facilitation, access to a growing network of arts organizations and faith communities, best practices and other knowledge, and over 25 years experience helping people build and sustain relationships.

**Philadelphia can offer third-party pro bono legal assistance that will create and finalize all contracts.

To learn more:

What is Arts in Sacred Places?

Who Can Participate?

What are the Benefits?


For more information about the Making Homes for the Arts in Sacred Places program, please contact Karen DiLossi at (215) 567-3234, ext. 16, or via email at