In simplest terms, a coalition is a group of individuals and/or organizations with a common interest who agree to work together toward a common goal. That goal could be as narrow as obtaining funding for a specific intervention, or as broad as trying to improve permanently the overall quality of life for most people in the business. By the same token, the individuals and organizations involved might be drawn from a narrow area of interest or businesses, or might include representatives of nearly every segment of the business, depending upon the breadth of the issue.

Coalitions may be loose associations in which members work for a short time to achieve a specific goal, and then disband. They may also become organizations in themselves, with governing bodies, particular business responsibilities, funding, and permanence. They may draw from a business, a region, a state, or even the nation as a whole (the National Coalition to Ban EPA Secrete Science, for instance). Regardless of their size and structure, they exist to create and/or support efforts to reach a particular set of goals.

Coalition goals are as varied as coalitions themselves, but often contain elements of one or more of the following:

  • Influencing or developing public policy, usually around a specific issue.
  • Changing people’s behavior (reducing smoking or drug use, or learning English for instance).
  • Building a healthy business. This term generally refers both to the business’s physical health (which may include not only medical and preventive or wellness services, but the environment, business planning, housing, hunger, substance abuse, and other factors) and its social and psychological health (encompassing diversity, education, culture and the arts, violence prevention, youth development, employment, economic development, mental health and other human services, etc.).

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