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COLLECTIVE IMPACT (Part 2)

Businesses, nonprofits, government agencies, foundations, and social enterprises. While different in structure, these institutions and the leaders behind them share an essential belief — society needs truly effective high impact change that moves the needle on critical issues like health equity, poverty reduction, and educational justice.

For more than a decade, dedicated people from many different such types of institutions have been creating localized eco-systems of change. These ecosystems are known as ‘collective impact models.’ Originating in North Carolina and popularized by the work of authors in the Stanford Social Innovation Review, collective impact has rightfully gained traction as the most viable model for genuinely effective change that makes real differences in communities.

In this article we’ll take a look at some of the best measured examples of collective impact and get insight into the power of the Collective Impact model to bring about shifts in community wide outcomes.

The StrivePartnership educational initiative in Cincinnati is an example that portrays the influence collective impact can have on a community. This initiative, established in 2006, aimed to address and improve the educational system in Cincinnati, Ohio and Northern Kentucky by helping students accel in their academic journey at every stage of their life – “from cradle to career”.

They utilized the model successfully by bringing together over 300 local community leaders and organizations from different sectors who believed in the importance of education to better understand the needs of the community they lived in. All participants agreed to collaborate with each other through a well-structured process to measure and ensure student progress, while also learning and supporting each other. They understood that an individual leader or organization, however successful, cannot accomplish this goal by oneself. This partnership directly lead to major improvements in the educational system of that region.  The region saw a significant increase in graduate rates, students GPA, and even child readiness leading into kindergarten.

As of today, StrivePartnership still shows an ongoing improvement of student success based on the shared key performance indicators. They continually aspire to enhance the well-being of the community through education. In their mission to strengthen the educational system in Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky, they are now focusing on ensuring racial and economic equity. Due to the success of StrivePartnership and their use of the collective impact model, a few leaders from StriveParnership established StriveTogether Cradle-to-Career Network in hopes of replicating this initiative in other communities nationwide. Their journey of improving the education system in America has a strong foundation with the use of this model laying at its core.

Collective Impact has also been successfully used in initiatives aimed to alleviate poverty. Tamarack Institute partnered with J. W. McConnell Family Foundation and Caledon Institute of Social Policy to establish Vibrant Communities in 2002. They worked with 13 trail builders cities and community leaders for ten years with the common goal to reduce poverty in Canada. The first year was dedicated to learn about the community’s needs related to poverty and engage the population to think about ways to eradicate poverty. Specific strategies for each community were built based on the knowledge gained that first year. These strategies primarily involved a multi-sector network of local leaders, non-profits, and businesses who work together with a well-structured methodology to improve different areas of poverty that affects  education, employment, and overall health among many others.

The co-founder of Tamarack Institute, Paul Born, felt that one of the most pivotal successes of this initiative came from empowering individuals to believe in their own ability to truly make an impact in alleviating poverty. During a 10 year span, Vibrant Communities led to a poverty reduction of 10% in several communities that impacted over 200,000 low income Canadians.

This success can be explained by an understanding from all partners to address poverty through better systems that can have a lasting impact on a population level. Due to the success of Vibrant Cities, Cities Reducing Poverty was created in 2012 as a movement to replicate the collective impact model used by Vibrant Communities in other cities and communities. Over the years, Cities Reducing Poverty has developed poverty alleviation strategies that over 175 cities are now successfully using to collectively work towards reducing poverty in their communities. Tamarack Institute shares case studies and helpful resources on collective impact on their website if you are interested to know more or to use a collective impact model in your community.

These initiatives share the five core conditions of Collective Impact: common agenda, a continuous communication, a shared measurement system, mutually reinforcing activities, and a backbone function. Although Collective Impact might not be the only way to resolve social issues, these five core conditions has proved to be powerful in addressing complex social problems to bring about social change on a large scale.

To learn more about collective impact, check out these wonderful resources:
Foundation Strategy Group (FSG)
Collective Impact (Stanford Social Innovation Review – SSIR)
Does Collective Impact really make an impact? (SSIR)
StriveTogether
StrivePartnership
Tamarack Institute

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COLLECTIVE IMPACT (Part 1)

Oftentimes, multiple organizations work in isolation to address problems. Collective impact brings people together, typically from different sectors, and applies a structured approach to solving complex social problems. It is more than just collaboration. It is a unified plan and vision with shared accountability across all the participants. There are five core conditions of Collective Impact.

Common Agenda
All participants have a shared vision, common understanding of the problem, aligned strategies for addressing the problem, and mutually-agreed-upon objectives and goals.

Shared Measurement System
Progress is measured with agreed-upon indicators that are shared among the partners

Continuous Communication
Transparent and continual communication exists among all the groups. This is essential to remain focused on the problem and build trust between the partners

Mutually-Reinforcing Activities
While each partner may be focused on a different aspect of the problem, efforts are coordinated to avoid duplication and encourage efficiency and collaboration.

Backbone Function
A dedicated team focuses on coordinating the partners and managing the Collective Impact components.

In a Collective Impact model, high priority is placed on equity, continual learning, and a culture that promotes relationship, trust, and respect.

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Eatonville, Florida – Culture of Health Prize Winner 2018

The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation collaborates with the University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute to award the Culture of Health Prize to select communities. This prize focuses on marginalized populations who show commitment to working together to better their residents’ lifestyles and the places they live in. These commitments are evident in different fields such as health, education, and business.

Eatonville, Florida was one of four communities selected this year as a recipient of Culture of Health Prize out of nearly 200 applicants from across the country. Other communities that received this prize were: Cicero, Illinois; Klamath County, Oregon; and San Antonio, Texas.

The Polis Institute contributed to this success by deploying our community engagement model and developing resident leadership. This program is called Leadership Eatonville which prepares participants to utilize a growth mindset, project management, and asset-based community development to help the community achieve meaningful goals. Leadership Eatonville was first piloted in 2016 and has graduated thirty-two residents thus far. Financial support for our efforts was provided by Winter Park Health Foundation which has had a long-standing relationship with the town and, along with Florida Hospital, established Healthy Eatonville Place – an initiative that contributed significantly to the town’s Culture of Health Prize win.

The heroes of the story, however, are without a doubt the residents of Eatonville – the oldest predominant black community in America. These residents, 2,200 strong, were determined to make their community flourish by improving quality of life while maintaining the historical character of the city. Along with the help of churches, government leaders, organizations, nonprofits, associations leading various programs, projects, and trainings, Eatonville has realized great improvements over the past few years in terms of health, resident leadership and engagement, housing, education, local economy, and community development.

After the discovery of high rates of diabetes, the town of Eatonville decided to take actions to be a healthier place. Town hall, nine local churches, Winter Park Health Foundation, Florida Hospital, and the Orlando Chapter of the American Diabetes Association all held an important role in addressing diabetes in the city. This was achieved through several initiatives surrounding wellness services such as, health classes, and studies on how to prevent or fight diabetes.

The existing nine churches in Eatonville took part in this effort to make Eatonville flourish through high school sports games, diabetes prevention programs, food pantries, fitness classes, and after school programs. Additionally, a brand new school opened in August with the support of the mayor, the churches, and local businesses. They sought to fulfill the students’ needs during the school year. STEM was also incorporated throughout the curriculum. With a great desire to empower the next generation of leaders, Eatonville prepares youth for success with the help of local leaders, non-profits, after school programs, and churches.

Read more about Eatonville’s award on the RWJF site by clicking here.

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September West Lakes MVP Families Meeting

Through the combined efforts of Florida Citrus Sports in partnership with Lift Orlando, Florida Blue, and the Polis Institute, the West Lakes MVP Families program is seeking to engage families in the West Lakes Community. Program objectives include assisting students with college acceptance and scholarships, developing community leaders, strengthening the bonds between parents and children, connecting families with other families, and setting and achieving family goals.

Once a month, leading up to the MVP summer camp next summer, a dinner will be prepared for and  West Lakes MVP Families program participants. Child care will be provided, allowing space and opportunity for meaningful discussion among the adults in a holistic approach to community transformation. Meetings take place the second Monday of the month at the Frontline Outreach Youth and Family Community Center (3000 C.R Smith St. Orlando, FL 32805) from 6:30-8:30pm.

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Diverse Word at the Dandelion Cafe

We must learn to express ourselves and respect others voices if we hope to live in healthy and vibrant places. Diverse Word, the longest running open-mic night in Orlando, houses everything from performance poetry to stand-up and improv comedy. This night is and always will be FREE (though donations are accepted and appreciated to help fund our quarterly slam competitions and features).

 

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Diverse Word at the Dandelion Cafe

We must learn to express ourselves and respect others voices if we hope to live in healthy and vibrant places. Diverse Word, the longest running open-mic night in Orlando, houses everything from performance poetry to stand-up and improv comedy. This night is and always will be FREE (though donations are accepted and appreciated to help fund our quarterly slam competitions and features).

 

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May MVP Families Meeting

Through the combined efforts of Florida Citrus Sports in partnership with Lift Orlando, Florida Blue, and the Polis Institute, the newly established MVP Families program is seeking to engage families in the 32805 neighborhood. Program objectives include assisting students with college acceptance and scholarships, developing community leaders, strengthening the bonds between parents and children, connecting families with other families, and setting and achieving family goals.

Once a the month, leading up to the MVP summer camp next summer, a dinner will be prepared for and by MVP Families program participants. Child care will be provided, allowing space and opportunity for meaningful discussion among the adults in a holistic approach to community transformation. This month’s meeting will be on Monday, May 7th, 2018 at the Frontline Outreach Youth and Family Community Center (3000 C.R Smith St. Orlando, FL 32805) from 6:30-8:30pm.

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Polis Stakeholder Accountability Model

Polis Institute designs solutions to social problems by valuing the perspectives of everyone with a stake in addressing the problem. We serve our three stakeholder groups (Residents, Investors, and Service Providers) in a parallel process —as facilitator— in order to achieve goals that bring the greatest benefit to those directly impacted by the issue, often the local residents.

Residents - People who live in neighborhood, Investors - Those investing capital to help residents, Service Providers - professionals who provide support that work for smaller nonprofits

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Why Place Based?

In 2015, Dr. Risa Lavizzo-Mourey, president of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, issued a statement that “a child’s life expectancy is predicted more by his ZIP code than his genetic code.” In the United States, the 12th richest country in the world, there are neighboring  ZIP codes that have a 20-year difference in life expectancy. That should give everyone pause. It should make us all ask why this is the case … and then move to do something to change it.

The most common factor in neighborhoods with relatively lower life expectancy is lower than average income levels. Low-income neighborhoods tend to have less healthy amenities (e.g. bike paths, sidewalks, access to fresh produce, parks, and exercise facilities), while also having more conditions that are antagonistic to health (e.g. factories, traffic, brownfields, and crime). Add to that mix the fact that opportunities for advancement are often stymied through chronic stress, overly restrictive housing and employment policies, and underperforming schools for the next generation.

“In the United States, there are neighboring ZIP codes that have a 20-year difference in life expectancy.
That should give everyone pause.”

And yet, these very neighborhoods are filled with people fully aware of their dignity and worth; people with talent and passion whose gifts are far too often neglected or ignored. This costs all of us something. This is precisely why place-based philanthropy is so vital — we need the people who live in these neighborhoods to be a part of strengthening our cities and making the world a better place.

This is an excerpt from our 2017 Annual Report.

 

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April MVP Families Meeting

Through the combined efforts of Florida Citrus Sports in partnership with Lift Orlando, Florida Blue, and the Polis Institute, the newly established MVP Families program is seeking to engage families in the 32805 neighborhood. Program objectives include assisting students with college acceptance and scholarships, developing community leaders, strengthening the bonds between parents and children, connecting families with other families, and setting and achieving family goals.

Once a the month, leading up to the MVP summer camp next summer, a dinner will be prepared for and by MVP Families program participants. Child care will be provided, allowing space and opportunity for meaningful discussion among the adults in a holistic approach to community transformation. This month’s meeting will be on Monday, April 2nd, 2018 at the Frontline Outreach Youth and Family Community Center (3000 C.R Smith St. Orlando, FL 32805) from 6:30-8:30pm.