On our blog, Collective Impact Forum staff, partners, and guest contributors share the latest learning, innovations, and stories from the field.


  • Why Communities of Color are Getting Frustrated with Collective Impact

    Vu Le

    December 1, 2015

    A while ago I wrote “Collective Impact: Resistance is Futile,” detailing the frustrations of CI and comparing it to The Borg on Star Trek. “Controlled by a hive mind that neutralizes any sort of individualism, and comprising billions of annexed individuals, [The Borg is] strong and terrifying, like an army of zombie robots, each with one eye that has a laser beam.” That was my first impression of collective impact, at least the way it’s being playing out in Seattle.
  • Four Ways To Use Our New Cross-Sector Partnership Assessment as a Tool to Strengthen Your Work

    Jeff Raderstrong

    November 11, 2015

    Today, we are excited to release our Cross-sector Partnership Assessment. In our work supporting over 70 collective impact initiatives in cities around the country, we’ve found that initiatives often struggle to build and maintain their cross-sector partnerships. So, Living Cities developed the Assessment to help cross-sector partnerships, particularly collective impact partnerships, understand how to best work with stakeholders to achieve dramatically better results for low-income people in cities.
  • Pitfalls to Avoid When Pursuing Equity

    Sandra Witt

    October 25, 2015

    The Collaborating to See All Constituents Reach Their Full Potential memo by GEO and the CI Forum, observes that developing and applying an explicit focus on equity to community collaborative work and the work of philanthropy is not easy. Incorporating an explicit focus on equity requires a consistent and intentional effort to create the time and mechanisms that help us to examine whether we are actually changing our practices, processes, policies, and systems so that “equity” does not become just another buzz word.
  • If You Don’t Know Who You’re Impacting, How Do You Know You’re Making an Impact?

    Kelly Brown

    October 25, 2015

    When I’m not trying to get philanthropy to be more proactive around embracing diversity, equity, and inclusion, I’m working to get my Ph.D. at the University of Chicago. Though the emphasis of my dissertation is on philanthropy and social movement dynamics, there are moments when my day job comes up particularly with respect to how foundations facilitate change and the kind of data and analysis they use to support their strategies and approaches.
  • Exploring Equity in Collaborative Grantmaking

    Lori Bartczak

    October 25, 2015

    As conversations around race and equity gain prominence in the national dialogue, it seems the philanthropic sector is increasingly recognizing the ways in which a long history of segregation, systemic racism and inequality hinders our ability to build strong and equitable communities. In the words of Malala Yousavsai, “we cannot all succeed when half of us are held back.”
  • 3 Levels of Racial Equity Work within Collective Impact

    Juan Sebastian Arias

    October 25, 2015

    It’s become increasingly clear that large scale social change efforts need to directly tackle structural racial inequality in order to be truly impactful and effective. For this reason, racial equity has become a central focus of the work at Living Cities, especially within its collective impact portfolio which focuses on changing the systems in cities that consistently produce poor outcomes for many city residents.
  • Building the Capacity for Collective Action

    Emily Wexler

    September 29, 2015

    No organization (or issue) is an island, and central to collective impact is the recognition that achieving real impact means changing complex and dynamic systems. Yet, too much work happens in isolation. While funders might like to see more collaboration among their grantees, the reality is that too many nonprofits lack the opportunity and resources to engage in collective work. In the process of securing sufficient funding, mapping out sustainability plans, cultivating a “brand” and seeking recognition, the necessary work of collaboration often goes to the wayside.
  • Applying An Equity Mirror to Collective Impact

    Paul Schmitz

    September 2, 2015

    There has been increasing buzz about “equity” and “racial equity” in the nonprofit and philanthropic sectors and among cross-sector collective impact efforts. This is a good thing and our nation’s persistent and rising racial and economic disparities demand it. Many groups are applying an “equity lens” to look outward at social problems and solutions, disaggregating data and seeking to differentiate opportunities and services to reduce disparities. But our organizations and collective efforts must begin by looking inward, using an “equity mirror” to examine our own composition, culture, and policies that reinforce and perpetuate societal disparities. To do equity, we must also be equity.