Podcast

Together Through Crisis: A Case Study of Milwaukee’s COVID Civic Response

Milwaukee’s COVID-19 response has been a remarkable mobilization of resources and organizations to address needs for shelter, food, testing, internet connection, and more. In this interview with Forum senior advisor Paul Schmitz, we learn more about the partners, providers, and funders that came together to support their community during the pandemic and what they learned along the way.

Ways to Listen: Stream this episode below. You can also listen via Itunes, Spotify, Simplecast, Stitcher, iHeartRadio, Amazon, and other podcast apps.



Resources and Footnotes


Music

The Intro music, entitled “Running,” was composed by Rafael Krux, and can be found here and is licensed under CC: By 4.0. The outro music, entitled “Deliberate Thought,” was composed by Kevin Macleod. Licensed under CC: By.


More on Collective Impact approach to collaborate for social change:


Have a question related to collaborative work that you'd like to have discussed on the podcast? You can send it to our short podcast listener survey or at info@collectiveimpactforum.org.

Listen to Past Episodes: Listen to past episodes in the Forum resource library. You can also listen and subscribe via Itunes, Spotify, Simplecast, Sticher, iHeartRadio, Amazon, and other podcast apps.

Podcast

Partners in Conflict

In this roundtable discussion, we focus on questions around how to collaborate when there may be conflicts between partners, whether it’s conflicting schedules, motivations, or values, and what to consider when those conflicts come up. This discussion includes what to consider when partnering with law enforcement, how to sort through conflicting community meeting needs, and the challenges of finding common ground when everything seems polarized.

Featuring Sheri Brady, Paul Schmitz, Tracy Timmons-Gray, and Junious Williams.

Ways to Listen: Stream this episode below. You can also listen via Itunes, Spotify, Simplecast, Stitcher, iHeartRadio, Amazon, and other podcast apps.




Resources and Footnotes


Music

The Intro music, entitled “Running,” was composed by Rafael Krux, and can be found here and is licensed under CC: By 4.0. The outro music, entitled “Deliberate Thought,” was composed by Kevin Macleod. Licensed under CC: By.


More on Collective Impact approach to collaborate for social change:


Have a question related to collaborative work that you'd like to have discussed on the podcast? You can send it to our short podcast listener survey or at info@collectiveimpactforum.org.

Listen to Past Episodes: Listen to past episodes in the Forum resource library. You can also listen and subscribe via Itunes, Spotify, Simplecast, Sticher, iHeartRadio, Amazon, and other podcast apps.

Podcast

How do you form a Common Agenda?

How does one go about creating a “common agenda” with collaborative partners? In this deep dive episode, we explore the components of the common agenda, including what to think about when forming one, and what to consider when these current uncertain times might affect how your common agenda moves forward. Featuring Jennifer Splansky Juster, Rpbert Albright, and Tracy Timmons-Gray.

Ways to Listen: Stream this episode below. You can also listen via Itunes, Spotify, Simplecast, Stitcher, iHeartRadio, and other podcast apps.

Resources and Footnotes


Music

The Intro music, entitled “Running,” was composed by Rafael Krux, and can be found here and is licensed under CC: By 4.0. The outro music, entitled “Deliberate Thought,” was composed by Kevin Macleod. Licensed under CC: By.


More on Collective Impact approach to collaborate for social change:


Have a question related to collaborative work that you'd like to have discussed on the podcast? You can send it to our short podcast listener survey or at info@collectiveimpactforum.org.

Listen to Past Episodes: Listen to past episodes in the Forum resource library. You can also listen and subscribe via Itunes, Spotify, Simplecast, Sticher, iHeartRadio, and other podcast apps.

Webinar

Driving Systems Change Forward

Multisite, cross-sector initiatives bring together stakeholders to tackle difficult issues – housing, health, education, and more - facing communities across the United States.

In the new report Driving Systems Change Forward, authored by the Urban Institute and published by the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco, you’ll learn key lessons from initiatives from across the country about what it takes to advance systems change forward by shifting power and promoting racial equity.

Join us for this virtual coffee chat with one of the report authors—Corianne Scally—from the Urban Institute and contributing practitioner, Andrea Akita, who leads the Communities of Opportunity Initiative for King County, Washington. They discuss the report findings and how initiatives can build on this learning to change the structures, relationships and attitudes that keep racism rooted in place and communities struggling.

Download a copy of the presentation and audio transcript at the links on the left of this page. (Logging in to your CIF account will be needed to download.)
 

Session Speakers:

  • Andrea Akita, Communities of Opportunity Director, King County Public Health
  • Corianne Payton Scally, Principal Research Associate, Urban Institute


Referenced Resources:

Podcast

Building Trust among Partners and Sharing Credit

What does it mean to be a “good partner?” In this roundtable discussion, we discuss community questions around how to support and assess partnerships, and what does it really look like to share credit among multiple partners in a collaborative.

Featuring Sheri Brady, Jennifer Splansky Juster, Paul Schmitz, Tracy Timmons-Gray, and Junious Williams.

Ways to Listen: Stream this episode below. You can also listen via Itunes, Spotify, Simplecast, Stitcher, iHeartRadio, and other podcast apps.

Resources and Footnotes


Music

The Intro music, entitled “Running,” was composed by Rafael Krux, and can be found here and is licensed under CC: By 4.0. The outro music, entitled “Deliberate Thought,” was composed by Kevin Macleod. Licensed under CC: By.


More on Collective Impact approach to collaborate for social change:


Have a question related to collaborative work that you'd like to have discussed on the podcast? You can send it to our short podcast listener survey or at info@collectiveimpactforum.org.

Listen to Past Episodes: Listen to past episodes in the Forum resource library. You can also listen and subscribe via Itunes, Spotify, Simplecast, Sticher, iHeartRadio, and other podcast apps.

Podcast

Collaborating during COVID-19

In this roundtable discussion, we address some questions from Forum community members about how our collaborative work is affected by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, including supporting exhausted community partners, figuring out how to build engagement around a new initiative during the pandemic, and how to keep long-term goals while meeting immediate needs. Featuring Robert Albright, Sheri Brady, Jennifer Splansky Juster, Paul Schmitz, Tracy Timmons-Gray, and Junious Williams.

Ways to Listen: Stream this episode below. You can also listen via Itunes, Spotify, Simplecast, Sticher, iHeartRadio, and other podcast apps.
 


Resources and Footnotes

Music

The Intro music, entitled “Running,” was composed by Rafael Krux, and can be found here and is licensed under CC: By 4.0. The outro music, entitled “Deliberate Thought,” was composed by Kevin Macleod. Licensed under CC: By.

More on Collective Impact approach to collaborate for social change:


Have a question related to collaborative work that you'd like to have discussed on the podcast? You can send it to our short podcast listener survey or at info@collectiveimpactforum.org.

Listen to Past Episodes: Listen to past episodes in the Forum resource library. You can also listen and subscribe via Itunes, Spotify, Simplecast, Sticher, iHeartRadio, and other podcast apps.

Podcast

Key Factors to Support a Succesful Collaborative

What are the mental model shifts and other “intangible” (yet important) factors that can support the long-term health and sustainability of a collaborative? Jen, Robert, and Tracy discuss four mindset shifts that can help build stronger partnerships as well as go over some pitfalls to avoid when doing collaborative work.

Ways to Listen: Stream this episode below or download the MP3 at the link on the left to this page. You can also listen via Itunes, Spotify, Simplecast, Sticher, iHeartRadio, and other podcast apps.


Episode Notes

This episode continues the theme of “Getting Started” in collective impact by focusing on some underlying factors including building relationships and shifting mindsets that can support the long-term success of a collaborative effort.

Episode Contents

1:44: Before diving into these key factors for success, how did we come up with these factors in the first place?

3:44: Four mental model shifts that can be helpful to support a collaborative’s work and long-term sustainability.

17:00: Other “intangible” factors that can support a collaborative’s success, including building a culture of learning, including learning from failure, and supporting a broader understanding of leadership.

22:00: Pitfalls to avoid that can challenge a collaborative’s growth and ability to reach their goal.

Footnotes and Resources:

More on Collective Impact approach to collaborate for social change:

Have a question related to collaborative work that you'd like to have discussed on the podcast? You can send it to us at info@collectiveimpactforum.org.

Podcast

Liz Dozier - Moving from Charity to Justice in Collective Impact

When social change work is approached as “charity” -- giving help to those in need -- collaboratives can fall into a trap of doing work TO a community rather than WITH the community, upholding existing power dynamics, structural barriers, and inequities. Liz Dozier, founder and CEO of Chicago Beyond, discusses how to shift mindsets and actions from collective impact work as charity to collective impact work to achieve justice for all in our communities.

Ways to Listen: Stream this episode below or download the MP3 at the link on the left to this page. You can also listen via Itunes, Spotify, Simplecast, Sticher, iHeartRadio, and other podcast apps.


Episode Notes

In this episode, we’re sharing a keynote talk titled, “Moving from Charity to Justice in Collective Impact” by Liz Dozier, founder and CEO of Chicago Beyond, an impact investor that backs the fight for youth equity. Chicago Beyond exists so that all youth, especially the most vulnerable, will have the opportunity to achieve their fullest human potential.

This talk was held on May 16, 2019 at the 2019 Collective Impact Convening in Chicago.

Footnotes and Resources:

More on Collective Impact approach to collaborate for social change:

Have a question related to collaborative work that you'd like to have discussed on the podcast? You can send it to us at info@collectiveimpactforum.org.

Welcome to the Party! How to onboard new collaborative partners

Posted Tuesday, September 24, 2019 at 6:14 pm

If collective impact efforts have any certainties, one surely is the ever-revolving (one might hope ever-evolving) door of community partners coming to the table. Our efforts for inclusivity, the reality that multisector coalitions invite instability as people leave jobs and new people come in: it’s inevitable that we will be regularly onboarding new partners.

How do we invite in new faces without disrupting the focus and momentum of the team? I’m often asked this as I coach collective impact efforts. Here are a few strategies that seem to work.


Build Context

If you know someone is joining the collaboration before they attend their first meeting, make every attempt to grab a cup coffee – in person, through Zoom – to talk through the history, the current work and where you’re heading as an initiative. Visuals can really help. One of the best visuals I’ve found is a journey map, which is developed by the team and can be used to orient incoming partners. Talking through the journey map gives new players critical context for the work. Invite the new partner to add their story to the map to continue to evolve the collaboration’s shared understanding of the work. If you can, invite another team member join you over coffee to help tell the story, build relationships across organizations, and position the backbone less as a gatekeeper and more as a weaver.


Set the Stage

Sometimes the first time we meet a new partner is when they walk into a meeting. Take time at the beginning of every meeting to orient everyone to the work at hand. This is as helpful for longstanding partners as it is for newcomers. As a facilitator, I like to start meetings with a visual that reminds the group where we are our process. I often use a timeline that shows where we started, what we’re up to at this juncture, and where we’re heading. This helps everyone – new people and existing partners – get grounded in the work at hand. It is also very helpful to keep people focused on the present tasks.


Anticipate Change

As I mentioned, it’s inevitable that new players will come on the scene. As a group, have an intentional discussion about how you strive to welcome new partners to the table. I have often coached groups to develop a principle that speaks directly to this intent. For example, a group may explicitly state, “We recognize that new partners will come to the table throughout our initiative, and we strive to foster a sense of belonging for all.”

Belonging is deeper than merely being inclusive. As professor john a. powell stated at the Collective Impact Forum convening earlier this year, “Belonging suggests when you join something, you have the power and standing to participate in the cocreation of the thing you’re joining.” 

I recently facilitated a team that is preparing to double the size of their leadership table. We went through a simple process of defining what we should do at that first meeting in order to foster a sense of belonging. Examples include: co-create groups norms and expectations, review our current history and our theory of change, and create time for every organization to share what they bring to the table.


Build Your Foundation

The first phase of many collaboratives includes a series of meetings in which we develop our principles and norms, determine our decision making structure, define roles and articulate a theory of change. This deep, important group work can get lost in the din of meeting minutes and emails chains. I often coach groups to build a binder of materials that capture this important foundational work. The binder is a living collection of decisions and approaches to the work. Once such a binder exists, it is extraordinarily helpful when orienting new partners, as it can help simplify the complexity of our multi-sector collaborative approach.

These are some strategies that I use when coaching or leading collective impact efforts. Let me know what works for you.


What do you think? Share your comments and recommendations below.

Inside Funder-Intermediary-Evaluator Partnerships: Three Cases

Posted Friday, April 26, 2019 at 10:26 am

By Meg Long and Clare Nolan

Funders who have ambitious goals to change large systems often create partnerships with intermediaries and evaluators to help realize their visions. But what does it take to effectively weave these partners together and position them to achieve their goals? While these three-way partnerships are common in the social sector, our initial scan of the literature mostly revealed substantive resources on two-way relationships—how funders can partner with intermediaries, and how they can partner with evaluators. However, very few resources spoke to funder partnerships involving intermediaries and evaluators.

Exploring cases of varyingly-configured funder-intermediary-evaluator partnerships can illuminate issues that may arise, and can also help determine strategies for managing those tensions. Though the three case examples covered here differ in terms of content, geography, investment, time-span, and partner roles, all three partnerships encountered—and successfully navigated—relationship tensions.


Linked Learning Regional Hubs of Excellence

In 2015, The James Irvine Foundation engaged Jobs for the Future (JFF) as an intermediary to help design and manage a cross-sector systems change initiative which aimed to increase the quality and scale of Linked Learning, an evidence-based approach to college and career readiness in California. Because the foundation was testing a new strategy—translating an educational model into a broader regional systems approach—they saw value in commissioning a collaborative evaluation. Considering pre-existing relationships and the Foundation’s appreciation of their expertise in developmental evaluation and systems change initiatives, Irvine commissioned Equal Measure, Engage R+D, and Harder+Company Community Research for the evaluation.

Having identified and funded the intermediary and evaluation teams directly, Irvine played a major role in managing partner relationships and setting the tone for sharing learnings and insights across the Linked Learning initiative. As one JFF staff member noted, “The funder set just the right tone to create more space for this kind of honest trust-building… It accelerated things.” And according to Irvine, “Having an evaluation partner in charge of external observations and then curating and facilitating that reflection process has been so powerful,” because it built the capacity of the intermediary and the funder to engage in authentic assessments of the partnership structure in-person and digitally.

Some tensions between the partners took time to overcome. For example, JFF staff were initially somewhat unclear about the role of the evaluation, which prompted deeper conversations to clarify partner roles and norms. In addition, reflection sessions became critical for building knowledge, trust, and the capacity of the partners. This time enabled the triad of partners to leverage the knowledge and expertise of each organization to strengthen learning overall.


Consumer Voices for Coverage

In 2007, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation launched Consumer Voices for Coverage (CVC)—a state-level advocacy initiative for health reform—with Community Catalyst as the intermediary. Following the passage of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), the partnership’s reform efforts moved from state to federal action. RWJF gave Community Catalyst leeway in oversight and subcontracting—enabling them to serve  as both the initial touch point for grantees and determine when it was necessary to obtain guidance from the funder. In the second phase of the initiative, RWJF sought to build the evaluation capacity of grantees and the intermediary by engaging Spark Policy Institute to provide evaluation coaching services. These services included “Evaluation 101” webinars, offering evaluation coaching to CVC grantees, and gathering feedback about the technical assistance that Community Catalyst provided. The purpose of this work was to help Community Catalyst and its grantees harness evaluation as a driver of effective advocacy.

The greatest challenge the partnership faced was generating grantee buy-in for evaluation capacity building. A number of grantees opted not to participate in the process. While some grantees cited capacity issues, others noted negative past experiences that dissuaded them from participating. However, grantees that engaged with Spark came to see the benefit of capacity building. As Community Catalyst put it, “To do that work and to have grantees define their own evaluation questions was really important and different.”


Opportunity Youth Incentive Fund

The Opportunity Youth Incentive Fund (now known as the Opportunity Youth Forum) is a complex social change effort involving 34 regional and national funders designed to address unemployment and educational attainment for youth between 16 and 24 who are not currently in school or in the workforce. The partnership structure was derived from the multiple roles played by the Aspen Institute’s Forum for Community Solutions (AIFCS), which manages the funder collaborative. (The Aspen Forum for Community Solutions co-convenes the Collective Impact Forum with FSG.) These roles include implementation and providing national-scale voice for the work of the initiative. In managing the funders and partners AIFCS also serves as fiscal intermediary, developing a learning framework, monitoring collective impact, and building national momentum around the Opportunity Youth agenda. Jobs for the Future serves as implementation intermediary, while Equal Measure provides evaluation and design of thought leadership approaches for the partnership.

Though partners have varied perspectives and diverse experiences, and AIFCS coordinates their needs, roles, and communication, the initiative’s complex structure proves challenging at times. One challenge is that funders expect to see demonstrations of impact that may not always align with the pace of the initiative’s work and the scope of the evaluation. At the same time, a shared culture of learning unites the partners. Setting learning expectations and norms (such as being honest and learning from experience) upfront was critical. Particularly with grantees, promoting a culture of learning has encouraged risk-taking and learning from risks. Having many partners has accelerated AIFCS’ responsiveness to grantees’ learning and capacity building needs.

These case examples are but a small part of our recent report, Weaving Successful Partnerships: When Funders, Evaluators, and Intermediaries Work Together. In the report, we share five tensions that typically arise in funder-intermediary-evaluator partnerships, along with learning notes based on analysis of the various challenges that arise in these partnership triads.


Meg Long is president of Equal Measure; Clare Nolan is co-founder of Engage R+D

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