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Partnerships for Recovery Revisited

The post below this new entry was written in early April 2020. Little did we know at that time the challenges that lie ahead. Remember those innocent and disorienting days? We had no idea how long we’d be out of our offices, away from meetings, unable to attend events and having to deal with inept national leadership that would dig us into an even deeper hole.

Now here we are, two and a half years later and we are still dealing with the after effects of the pandemic. The San Francisco Bay Area, where I’m based, is still dealing with many challenges that emerged from what was probably an overly-cautious approach. The city of San Francisco is slowly coming back on line but it has taken time to return to some sense of normalcy – but we are persevering and getting our mojo back, slowly but surely.

We continue to contribute to the recovery of civic activity in and around San Francisco. It remains our beloved home region, having provided so much opportunity and prosperity over the past three decades, and we are committed to being part of the city’s return to greatness. It is, after all, the City that (Still) Knows How.

Our work here involves development of a much-needed urban park in the part of downtown known as the East Cut, the area adjacent to the Salesforce Transit Terminal, which includes several major corporate offices. While we seek the corporate partners needed to complete the funding for the East Cut Sports & Dog Park, we’re advising other groups working to reinvigorate the city’s cultural and economic ecosystem and we’re helping companies enhance their community and employee engagement efforts.

Of course, as much as we can sometimes think about how the world revolves around the 49 square miles that occupy the most beautiful location in the world, the world’s challenges go far beyond San Francisco.

Climate change is the greatest existential threat faced by humanity since the introduction of the atomic bomb. We are doing our part to help address this challenge, whether through global reforestation partnerships or by facilitating sponsorships that drive sustainability in sports and culture. We launched Sustainable Sponsorships in 2020, doubling down on our environmental commitment as we engage our network of corporate sustainability and social impact relationships in support of climate-focused clients.

Finally, we are helping our friends in Ukraine as we seek to generate donations to help its brave residents recover and rebuild from the horrible war that was thrust upon them with the Russian invasion. We stand in solidarity with the courageous people of Ukraine as we partner with a team of citizens based here and back in their home country to generate financial and product donations to be delivered to those in need.

We are collectively in the throes of the greatest challenge to our collective well-being since WWII. How we rise to adapt and overcome our array of social ills will be the one of the most important chapters written in human history, at least up until this current era. We’ll do our part and invite everyone reading this to do the same and to join our collective journey to social recovery.


Partnerships for Recovery

A few years ago, I changed my business name from Sponsorship Strategies to Bartram Partnerships. I did this out of an innate belief that, while sponsorship in its truest form was still vital and appropriate for certain sectors such as sports, entertainment and the arts, partnership is what the world truly needs. I saw a greater need for true partnerships that would go further to address the needs of all, including imminent challenges from climate change, social inequality, and access to education and health care.

And here we are with the biggest challenge of our lives, calling for the greatest degree of collaboration, innovation and collective will ever generated. Recovery will come about as a result of creativity, commitment and collaboration—the primary attributes of effective partnership. We are all inter-dependent—large corporations, trade associations, government agencies, nonprofit organizations, education and cultural institutions and media outlets—all depend on the success of one another for society as a whole to thrive and evolve.

Where to Begin

How do we work towards recovery as we experience a collective struggle to adapt to our current new reality? It will serve us to draw upon our innate sense of compassion for one another while considering what we each can do to contribute to the eventual recovery needed. Business will come back, along with the education, arts, sports, and so many other sectors—but first we must all realign our values with our actions.

We will all need to work together, to bridge political and cultural divides and agree to row in the same direction across these turbulent waters. To survive and thrive, we will also need to rely on certain time-tested principles, the fundamentals of what our society is supposed to be built upon: a sense of fairness and equality for generating mutual benefit; flexibility and creativity in devising solutions to otherwise intractable problems; and a bottom line interest in doing what is right and best for the greater good. This is how we can come together to return to a world of opportunity, prosperity and happiness.

Steps Forward

This foundational philosophy can serve as a platform to build upon for our collective recovery. As I have attempted to do throughout my long career in this business, I will remain committed to applying these principles to my work going forward. I am available to help organizations consider how to recover and to get ready to accelerate their vital work once the shutdown has ended and we can all begin our efforts to reconnect and re-engage as a real human community.

We have been through a lot of ups and downs over the past 25 years and, while this pandemic presents perhaps the greatest challenge yet, we can rise above it and come back stronger than ever—as a community, as a society and as partners in our collective well-being.

I look forward to doing what I can to help with our comeback and know so many of you will be right there with me working to create a better world for coming generations.

Kevin Bartram