The power of partnerships - it's more than a theme for the chamber of commerce or a catchy slogan matching up businesses and schools. It's a necessary ingredient today.

Small towns and communities have long operated on the principle "you scratch my back and I'll scratch yours." At times, that phrase has been turned into a negative, synonymous with cronyism. Yet that approach has produced a lot of benefits over the years.

Local businesses doing business with other local businesses and residents shopping at home are the obvious approaches. Home may be defined in further distances these days but the reciprocity of a relationship still pays dividends.

With today's economic crunch at state and national levels, it makes even more sense to seek out new partnerships.

The economic crisis grips schools, businesses, government, civic and philanthropic endeavors and communities. Everyone is feeling the pinch.

In response, more effort is being paid to working together, as it should be. We shouldn't wait for the latest financial calamity to examine and cultivate new approaches through cooperation and joint effort.

Across the country, businesses have adopted schools, providing in some cases teaching expertise, equipment and financial support in return for benefits, both direct and future from a better-trained workforce to productive citizens.

Those of like interests have come together to raise funds for needy projects, provide volunteers for strapped entities and offered a variety of support.

Some institutions, unable or unwilling to embrace such a philosophy in the past, find themselves turning to these endeavors out of necessity.

It's about time.

Working together for the greater good is nothing new. It's how our society has grown and evolved. It's certainly time to embrace the concept at even higher levels.

It just makes good sense to help each other.

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