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The VisionLink Story

"We all work better by working together"


We are a group of humanitarians and nonprofit workers driven by the idea that we all work better by working together. Starting with small-scale nonprofits and school districts, we realized that many social services were compartmentalized by technical barriers, desperately in need of a platform for collaboration.

In the early 90s, VisionLink began to experiment with technical solutions connecting these organizations. We created PathFinder, a software platform for school-to-work partnerships between teachers, schools, students, and employers across the nation. Pathfinder quickly proved itself, managing the inter-departmental connections of students with work opportunities for over 50 school-to-work partnerships.

Seeing the success of this integrated software approach, change leaders came to us with visions of education reform, skill-building for the global economy, and interconnected networks of humanitarians, all supported and made possible by a software platform that would provide easy and effective collaboration between nonprofits.

We created CommunityOS®, the Community Operating System, as a platform for this integrated future. With CommunityOS, 2-1-1 centers are sharing important information with homeless shelters, state governments are coordinating with local nonprofits, and emergency disaster relief agencies are connecting those in need with nonprofit resources. Everyone gains--social services become available, humanitarians are able to easily partner across states and regions, and each organization efficiently manages its own clients, data, and resources. We all work better by working together.

Our work was then tested by crisis. The leading disaster relief organizations in the nation joined efforts to create the Coordinated Assistance Network (CAN), using VisionLink's CommunityOS as their technical platform for coordinating relief efforts. The next month, Hurricane Katrina made landfall, and CommunityOS was used by hundreds of agencies across our nation to find shelters and resources for the millions of displaced people across 40 states. Serving as the nation-wide platform on which federal and local organizations coordinated disaster relief for those affected by the hurricane, CommunityOS became known by disaster relief leaders as “the one system that did not fail.”

Building on our experience with nonprofit collaboration, we developed a Strategic Advantage team to help organizations make the most of their resources, identify key areas for partnership, and reach goals along with other agencies that share a common purpose. Strategic Advantage now works with organizations across the country, including the National Academy Foundation and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, to create efficient strategies and operational tools.

As we continue to share this vision of an integrated, community-driven future, CommunityOS is being used for nonprofit collaboration in more and more fields, supporting over 190,000 programs and 100,000 agencies. We’re proud to be the SaaS (Software as a Service) vendor for an ever-expanding network of humanitarians and change leaders. We constantly develop new tools to meet the needs of our customers, including social media analytics, situational awareness tools, and geospatial modules. By working with our customer-partners, we improve the ability of every organization in our network to manage resources, share the right information, and work together. Join us, and we'll see where the story goes from here.