Q&A with Jessica R. Dreistadt, Founding Director
Why did you start The Fruition Coalition?
After completing my first master’s degree in nonprofit management in 2000, I felt like a container of knowledge. I wanted to open up the container and share its contents with others, particularly those who would otherwise not have access to such information. In the beginning, I primarily worked with grassroots nonprofit organizations in Philadelphia. I also organized and taught workshops at the A-Space, Nonprofit Technology Resources, and Community Education Center. Since that time, the Fruition Coalition has evolved to become an organization that provokes collaboration and dialogue rather than just transfer of knowledge.
What organizations have you served?
I have had the great honor of working with many organizations over the years. In the early days, these included Nonprofit Technology Resources, the Association of Child Daycare Providers, Pennsylvanians United for Mammal Advocacy, The Enterprise Center, Philly Reuses, Independent Arts Group, South Philadelphia Rainbow Committee, Momma Sandi Tales, Hosanna Ministries, Heavenly Hall, Entourage Community Development Corporation, Living Life Ministries, and Christian Entertainment Fellowship Network. More recently, I have worked with Helping Hands – Healing Hearts, the Fund for Southern Communities, and the Center for Humanistic Change. Many additional organizations have participated in Fruition Coalition workshops.
How is The Fruition Coalition different today than in 2001?
I now know that I can be of better service by developing and sharing and discussing exciting ideas rather than by regurgitating information. Ideas have unlimited generative potential whereas information is reductionist and stagnant. I no longer see myself as an expert that has access to special information; I know that every day my learning is just starting and I want to learn along with you. Basically, I have grown up.
Is The Fruition Coalition a nonprofit organization?
No. We are a social enterprise that has chosen to eschew the bureaucratic complexities of obtaining and maintaining a nonprofit status so that we can focus on programming and service delivery. Because we can be self-sufficient through program service fees, there is no need for us to seek grant funding or reduce our tax liability. We reserve those privileges for those who truly need them. Being a for-profit also offers us greater flexibility in being a voice for social change.
Who is in the “Coalition?”
You are a member of this metaphorical coalition (if you want), as are all people who are working toward progressive social change.
How can I get more involved?
Where are you located?
We are located in the beautiful Lehigh Valley, Pennsylvania, United States of America, Planet Earth.