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.

Creating Consensus with Targeted Universalism

Posted Friday, February 15, 2019 at 6:17 pm

A collaborative effort, driven by a diverse group of stakeholders united behind a common goal, can serve as a catalyst for addressing inequities at a systems level. But beneath the unity of purpose, initial disagreement can arise when stakeholders have to decide how to invest in those with the greatest need without sacrificing community-level goals or appearing to favor one group over another.

When we recently faced this challenge within one community-based initiative, we turned to “targeted universalism,” an approach to change management that simultaneously aims for a universal goal while also addressing disparities in opportunities among sub-groups.

Originally developed by professor and critical race scholar john a. powell, targeted universalism (TU) is an inclusive approach for implementing population-level interventions. It focuses on elevating the disparate experiences of marginalized populations as an essential step in the development of contextually relevant strategies for achieving universal goals. As such, it’s a middle ground between a targeted and a universalist approach.

Targeted approaches ensure that groups that have been systemically excluded from opportunity receive appropriate resources to account for inequities. Examples include the Americans with Disabilities Act and inclusive college admission policies. However, targeted approaches are sometimes critiqued for favoring specific population segments and can reduce buy-in or deepen stereotypes.

At the same time, we have seen that universal approaches can sometimes deepen inequities—the political adage “a rising tide lifts all boats” only applies when all are equipped with adequate boats to begin with. For instance, the post-World War II GI Bill was ostensibly created to benefit the general population. However, as banks generally wouldn’t make loans for mortgages in black neighborhoods, it ultimately exacerbated inequality by exclusively offering mortgage assistance to a specific group of Americans.

TU offers a blended method. Through this approach, universal goals (e.g., 100% math proficiency among all eighth-grade students; improve employment outcomes for young adults) can be achieved by deploying targeted approaches that address the varying needs and circumstances of each group (e.g., provide ESL specific math tutoring; identify opportunity youth facing structural barriers and pair them with local mentors to help them access available employment options).

Through our work, we’ve identified 3 practices that can help a group of diverse stakeholders understand and embrace the power of TU:

  • Help everyone understand local disparities by disaggregating data.
  • Clarify options, including an overview of how targeted universalism can be used in practice.
  • Make space and time for difficult conversations, and allow representative voices from the community to discuss concerns, opportunities, and tradeoffs associated with population-level outcomes.

Learn more about these insights in Getting to Yes: How to Generate Consensus for Targeted Universalism

This blog was first posted on FSG.org on October 23, 2018.


Getting to Yes: How to Generate Consensus for Targeted Universalism

Originally developed by professor and critical race scholar john a. powell, targeted universalism is an approach to change management that simultaneously aims for a universal goal while also addressing disparities in opportunities among sub-groups.

This issue brief describes how FSG used a set of specific methods to clarify the essential elements of targeted universalism with the community stakeholders of a collective impact initiative focused on education outcomes in Staten Island.

Download this issue brief at the link on the left of this page. (Logging into your CIF account will be necessary to download this resource.)

Top Takeaways

Our engagement led to several insights for generating consensus:

  • Help everyone understand local disparities by disaggregating data.
  • Clarify options, including an overview of how targeted universalism can be used in practice.
  • Make space and time for difficult conversations, and allow representative voices from the community to discuss concerns, opportunities, and trade-offs associated with population-level outcomes.


Case Study

ACT Anaheim: A Case Study of Collective Impact

The Orange County Community Foundation partnered with FSG, a mission-driven consulting firm for leaders in search of social change, to produce ACT Anaheim: A Case Study of Collective Impact. Through interviews with funders and nonprofit grantees, the report provides in-depth insight into the background and impact of ACT Anaheim, including initiative creation and execution, lessons learned, current progress and sustainable growth for the future.

While no two initiatives or communities are the same, this report is meant to capture the path taken by ACT Anaheim and its partners in the hope that it may also provide lessons and serve as a potential roadmap for future place-based programs involving a variety of stakeholders.

Download the case study with the link on the left of this page, or visit ACT Anaheim to learn more.

How the Orange County Community Foundation is Increasing Youth Resilience

Posted Friday, January 12, 2018 at 2:42 pm

This interview was first published in FSG's blog.

ACT Anaheim, an initiative designed to address the needs of at-risk youth and families with a focus on 13-18 year-olds, was formed in 2013 by The Disneyland Resort, Angels Baseball, and the Anaheim Ducks National Hockey team, with the Orange County Community Foundation (OCCF) serving as managing partner. It is a collaborative response to the needs of youth in the area, including poverty, academic challenges, and limited opportunities for meaningful work and constructive engagement in their community.

As the initiative enters its 4th year, FSG contributed to the evaluation of the initiative by facilitating conversations both with grantees and funders of the initiative about its impact to date and next steps.

FSG’s Philippe Sion connected with Orange County Community Foundation President Shelley Hoss to reflect on the initiative’s outcomes and future plans.

Tell us about the Orange County community in 2014. What were the challenges that you faced?

There were increasing social tensions and conflict building up in Anaheim in 2012. As Orange County’s most populous city and the 10th largest city in California, Anaheim is central to the health and vitality of the entire county. Yet it was hard to respond accurately to the increasing challenges facing Anaheim because there had not been a thorough needs assessment of the Anaheim community for more than a decade.

Pressed by the mayor of Anaheim for leadership from the corporate sector, Disneyland Resort decided to fund a study on the challenges faced by Anaheim’s youth. It highlighted a significantly higher risk for poverty, gang involvement, and school dropout for the youth of West Anaheim. The study revealed such a compelling case for investment that Disneyland committed $1 million in funding over 3 years, and invited the Angels and Ducks to join them. With these founding partners in place, OCCF was approached to take the helm as managing partner of the Accelerate Change Together (ACT) Anaheim initiative, and we brought an even wider circle of philanthropic support to the table.

Did you know you wanted to use a collective impact approach?

We were familiar with the model and built the initiative loosely in the spirit of collective impact, with common goals, shared measurement systems, and the Foundation effectively acting as the backbone leader.

We intentionally invited a targeted group of nonprofit partners through our initial RFP process, including several organizations that were providing stellar youth services but were not present in Anaheim at the time, with the intention to offer a small number of larger grants. We started convening grantees from the very beginning share information and build relationships. Importantly, OCCF had the opportunity to provide evaluation support through a partnership with the Children and Families Commission of Orange County, so we worked with the grantees to articulate a set of measurable goals and objectives from the beginning.

We started by conducting a consensus building process with the inaugural 10 grantees to formalize our goals, objectives, and logic model. We didn’t want to tell the grantees what the objectives or goals were. We went through an exercise of mapping the different programs, services, and objectives, and then consolidated this into overarching goals for ACT.

It was an iterative process for the first year to articulate the grantees’ goals and translate them into a logic model. It was through this process that we came to understand the scope of the work ahead of us, and the need to recast our work in the more rigorous frame of collective impact.

The initiative had a lot of committed champions from the private sector, including Disneyland Resort, the Anaheim Ducks, and Angels Baseball. How did you engage these groups?

These partners joined together in a unique corporate philanthropy partnership to invest in Anaheim and help bridge the gap in services for youth in response to the assessment findings. They approached OCCF to serve as the managing partner for this initiative and this relationship provided the opportunity for the corporate funders to set the initial direction, while OCCF provided the infrastructure and reporting and evaluation functions, as well as content knowledge to help shape the initiative as it developed.

OCCF also provided the added value of being able to bring other funding partners to the table. With the significant investment of these corporate funders—$1M each year over 3 years—we were able to engage 15 additional funders (including ourselves) to provide $5M in funding over this period. As OCCF’s president, I devoted a significant portion of my time on the ACT Initiative during the first year, which sent strong signals to our funders and grantees and helped to build confidence among all our partners.

For both our funders and grantees, our approach was to engage our partners in a new mode of operation. For our funding partners, it meant shared resources and joint decision-making. From the beginning, we brought the funders together twice a year to review grant awards, keep them informed of our progress, and engage actively with them, including connecting them with grantees. As a result, we have had a highly-functioning cohort of grantees which meet bi-monthly to share information and build relationships, as well as a fully engaged funder group.

What are the outcomes for the youth of Anaheim that you are most proud of?

To date, ACT Anaheim has served almost 12,000 youth plus an additional 3,200 parents and caregivers, and 1,000 other adults who serve as mentors. The majority of youth targeted by our programs follows the needs assessment—56 percent of youth served are 13-19 year olds and are being provided with the most intensive services. At the same time, 44 percent of youth served are 12 years and younger, as these students are often engaged in middle-school programs and other prevention programs.

Three years since the launch of the Initiative is too early to see population-level data changes. We did however incorporate the use of the Youth Resilience Questionnaire, a validated and reliable survey tool that is implemented at the county level. Youth resilience, which is defined as youths’ ability to overcome any issues they face by leveraging internal and external assets, is measured by assessing areas of strength and areas for change in 5 areas: goal orientation, personal competence, use of resources, friends, and family. There was a significant increase in Youth Resiliency scores across all ACT Anaheim programs, from the beginning of ACT services to 3 years later. We are proud to say that we have increased the resilience of youth, which is a key indicator of their future success. 

In addition to the results, we have also built the evaluation, professional development, and capacity of each organization we work with. We have strengthened the ties between organizations serving youth in Anaheim, developed partnerships between program delivery organizations, and attracted more organizations (and funding) to serve Anaheim’s youth.

What are ACT’s upcoming priorities?

Number one is sustainability. For any of this work to have future sustainability and impact, it has to continue to be anchored in Anaheim and it has to be more integrated between the public and private sectors. We are looking at models to embed the leadership of ACT in the Anaheim community and empower the ACT nonprofit partners to have a greater role in leadership of the initiative, including identifying and building a sustainable community-based backbone organization. It will require the group to develop an even more collaborative approach, even closer to the tenets of collective impact.

We also want to expand the group of stakeholders to include representatives from the city, police department, libraries, school districts, and others to bring a greater diversity of voices in decision-making for the direction of the initiative.

Last but not least, we want to continue our work serving youth, and seeing even greater resilience and transformation along the mission and programmatic goals we have set for ourselves. This includes college and career readiness, positive engagement in the community, safe and healthy lifestyles, and positive relationships with parents and other adults. At the structural level, we want to see that the community and its institutions are positively engaged with youth, and establishing a continuum of youth services in Anaheim from school age to adulthood.

We also want this effort to be helpful to others who are conducting similar efforts or are looking for ways to positively affect the lives of youth in their community. As much as we focus on the broad definition of growth of our youth, we also want this to help other funders and grantee collaboratives, so I encourage readers to connect with us to learn more.

Read ACT Anaheim: A Case Study of Collective Impact

New Report: Opportunity Lost? Maximizing Large Federal Funds to Support Opportunity Youth

Posted Wednesday, December 20, 2017 at 6:30 pm

This blog was first published on the Aspen Forum for Community Solutions on December 4, 2017.

There are nearly 5 million 16- to 24-year-olds in the US who are neither in work or in school. While there are some federal resources available to meet the needs of these young people, community organizations report that the rules surrounding use of these funds can hinder, rather than help, young people.

Our new report, Opportunity Lost? Maximizing Large Federal Funds to Support Opportunity Youth, investigates the ways in which the existing federal funding streams of WIOA, TANF, SNAP (Food Stamps) Education and Training, and Pell Grants are challenging to use and hard to combine – even when it would be in the best interest of the young person and the community to do so.

The report looks at three compelling case studies of young adults who are trying to succeed in school and work, and notes where the complexity of their needs (for childcare, for housing, for working and going to school at the same time, etc.) run afoul of the detailed rules for eligibility and use of these federal funds. The report highlights where their hard work to succeed is obstructed, rather than helped, by the very funding streams that are supposed to support them.

Insights from the report include:

  • These four federal resources, while totaling billions annually, are not large enough to meet even a fraction of the needs of the five million opportunity youth in our country.
  • One of the major challenges of these funding streams is that they are constructed to operate independently of one another, yet many opportunity youth experience problems simultaneously and therefore require several supports at the same time.
  • Due to the complexity of accessing these funds, some communities may not be fully using TANF to support opportunity youth, or are even aware that SNAP Education and Training funds could also be used to support this population.
  • Many of the changes that can make these funds more useful and usable for providers of services do not necessarily need legislative action; many times it is a matter of local rules or historical practices that can create challenges in use of funds.

The report concludes with recommendations from the practitioners who are working hard to use these funds and serve young people well.

Click here to read the Executive Summary.

Click here to read the full report.

Systems Change Strategies: From Theory to Practice

Posted Wednesday, November 22, 2017 at 5:36 pm

“Systems change approaches” have become a mantra of the social sector. Communities feel the frustration with being “resource-rich and coordination-poor.” But what does taking a systems approach look like in action? How can communities move beyond programs to influence attitudes and beliefs, improve coordination, and change policy?

The work of Operation Youth Success (OYS) to reduce school-based arrests as one area of focus in a larger juvenile justice effort offers a tangible example and concrete results.  None of the activities taken on by OYS required large amounts of funding or new programs. Rather, continuous communication drove alignment, shifted mindsets, and changed policies that contributed to school-based arrests declining by 50% from 2015-2016 (1).

Operation Youth Success is a collective impact initiative aimed at bringing people together to decide what aspects of juvenile justice in Douglas County, Nebraska need to change and how that change will happen. OYS was started by an urgency to reduce the number of youth involved in Douglas County’s juvenile justice system and improve the outcomes for those youth that were system-involved. In 2011, Douglas County’s juvenile arrest rate was 50% greater than the national rate (2)  – and nearly 95% of arrests were for non-violent crimes (3).

In the summer of 2014, a group of leaders representing juvenile probation, the county attorney’s office, the public defender’s office, juvenile court judges, juvenile justice service providers, education, nonprofits, social welfare agencies, and others were convened and agreed to an ambitious vision and goal statement. Engagement of other practitioners, families, and youth verified this vision and highlighted the school to prison pipeline as a high priority area of focus. Truancy represented nearly half of the juvenile cases reviewed by the county attorney (4) and hundreds of arrests were happening on school campuses (5). African-American students were disproportionately arrested at school. But the question remained: how could Douglas County address a problem that was influenced by so many complex factors, actors, policies, practices, and processes? The answer: convene a working group as a part of OYS’ larger effort that represented both the juvenile justice and school systems in one room. Lessons from this “schools” working group helped to make systems change tangible and concrete.

Lesson 1: Get the entire “system” in the room to problem-solve together

Convening the “schools” working group to represent the diversity of perspectives across these two systems was not easy. Perspectives included: superintendents, administrators, teachers, social workers, education nonprofit service providers, probation officers, attorneys, school resource officers (SROs), Omaha Police Department (OPD) leadership, detention center staff, juvenile court judges, and others. By getting the entire system in the room, the working group was able to pay attention to the connections and interdependence of each other’s work and how it impacted youth. They dug into the issues, had difficult conversations, and learned from others’ perspectives.

Lesson 2: Ground conversations in data, but then add experience and perception to understand one another’s realities and build authentic relationships.

A subgroup of these stakeholders focused on addressing the issue of school-based arrests. They looked at the data and discussed disconnects across the school and juvenile justice systems, which surfaced differences in discipline philosophy and practices. Rather than making assumptions about the day-to-day realities of each other’s jobs, the working group participants listened to one another to learn what is working and where each other face (oftentimes shared) challenges. 

Lesson 3: Build on a foundation of trust and pre-determined rules of interaction to allow new systems-changing strategies to emerge that aim to change attitudes, behaviors, and norms of those that make up the system.

By having these difficult conversations with new rules of interaction that did not place blame but rather focused on generating solutions together, the schools group was able to identify two strategies to improve alignment of the various systems that surround youth. These included:

  • OYS sent ten working group members to Georgetown’s Center for Juvenile Justice Reform to design a pilot project aimed at reducing the incidences of youth placed out of their home school as a consequence for behavior. The “School Justice Partnership” pilot facilitated a team of SROs, administrators, school guidance staff, and probation officers that met weekly to discuss high-risk system-involved youth. The OYS backbone program manager facilitated the meetings to focus on the youth’s status and how to keep them on a positive trajectory with wrap-around services if needed. The pilot launched in January 2016 and served 94 youth in its first semester.
  • To complement this pilot, the working group launched community-wide law enforcement training during the summer of 2016. The trainings included:

    - “Policing the Teen Brain in Schools” provided by Strategies for Youth for all Omaha Police Department and Douglas County Sherriff’s Department School Resource Officers.

    - Basic SRO certification training on the legal consequences of juvenile justice involvement and other teen trend topics was provided to all SROs in Douglas County by the National Association of SROs (NASRO), which increased certified SROs from 5 to 36.

These two strategies are systems-changing because they aim to change the attitudes, mindsets, and behaviors of the practitioners that make up the system as well as the cultural norms of the system itself.

Initial positive outcomes have been observed in the two pilot schools in the School Justice Partnership, including:

  • Increase in connecting youth to school-based and community-based services
  • Reduction in out-of-school suspensions
  • Reduction in school-based arrests by 50% from 2015-2016
  • Increase in supportive mentoring relationships between staff and students
  • Increase in emphasis placed on seeking to understand the underlying issues of behavior

In addition, the trainings were well-received by SROs. Participants shared that they felt better equipped to serve as an SRO by having a better understanding of expectations of the job and how SROs can provide support to school administration.

By coming together in the schools working group, the relationships and perceptions among the stakeholders involved in different public systems shifted and improved. For example, police officers historically felt that the community viewed them as the “bad guys” in juvenile justice. This process helped change this perception and bring other police officers along with proposed changes. In particular, the Deputy Chief of police has become an active advocate for his SROs to use more discretion when dealing with youth. As a result, schools have seen a shift in their relationship with police officers that has resulted in better support for youth. The police department no longer feels scrutinized for protecting public safety but feels that OYS and the stakeholders involved with the effort are solutions-oriented and will work in partnership with them to protect safety while improving outcomes for youth.

Additional policy changes have stemmed from stakeholders’ deeper understanding of one another. There are clearer lines between “school consequences” and “legal consequences”. Additional trainings have taken place, including for all middle and high school administrators. More broadly, the Omaha Police Department has recognized the importance of understanding how policing teens is different not only in schools but also in the community. OPD and juvenile probation will participate in a train-the-trainer program to bring the “Policing the Teen Brain” to all officers as part of the training academy curriculum.

The schools group continues to be a priority – actors continue to dedicate time and resources to improve how behavior is addressed in school. Discussions in an honest, yet safe, environment continue to foster trust and deepen relationships. These small changes will make a big difference for the youth that do not become system involved and have a chance at better long term outcomes.


(1) Data compared August – December 2015 to August – December 2016

(2) Office Of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, US DOJ

(3) Office Of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, US DOJ

(4) Truancy represented 2,900 of the 6,000 cases reviewed by the Douglas County Attorney in 2013.

(5) In 2013, there were 565 citations at school per Omaha Police Department data.

Free Online Course around Collective Impact and STEM Education

Posted 4 years ago at 10:44 am

Hello! For those interested, The Geneva Learning Foundation and the Georgia Department of Education (GaDOE) are hosting a free online course that focuses on collective impact in the STEM education setting.

The course is free, but one needs to apply. Applicants are encouraged to apply by January 15. The online course will run from January 23 - February 17, 2017.

Visit their website to learn more abou the course and apply to join.

Conversations with Experienced Backbone Leaders: Road Map Project

Posted Tuesday, July 19, 2016 at 7:36 pm

Hello CI enthusiasts! This is our sixth in a series of interviews with experienced backbone leaders. In this chat, we’ll hear from Lynda Petersen, Associate Director at the Community Center for Education Results (CCER).

Founded in 2010, CCER is the backbone for the Road Map Project (RMP), a large collective impact initiative in South King County and South Seattle (Washington) aimed at improving education to drive dramatic improvement in student achievement from cradle to college and career. In 2013 FSG wrote this short case study on the RMP’s origins, structure, and results. Additionally, CCER’s Executive Director, Mary Jean Ryan, wrote an excellent piece in the Stanford Social Innovation Review on Power Dynamics in Collective Impact. We at FSG have long-admired the RMP for the way in which they use data to highlight not only what works, but also where opportunity gaps exist. 

I recently spoke with Lynda to check in on the RMP’s progress. If you have questions for Lynda, please pose them in the comment box below, and she will do her best to respond. Thanks, and enjoy!

Highlights from my conversation with Lynda

  • Like many other collective impact leaders we speak with, Lynda celebrates successes, but always reminds us that there is much more to do. Collective impact leaders are always balancing wins with a drive to improve.
  • The Road Map Project is remarkably transparent with their data. For example, they publish side-by-side data comparing each of the seven school districts in their region. They also publish data disaggregated by race. This keeps the focus on reducing opportunity gaps. See the Road Map Project’s annual reports for how they display data.
  • CCER faces challenges when supporting working group members and partners during the implementation phase, including the voices of parents and youth, and using data to change practice.
  • Like many other collective impact initiatives, the Road Map Project strives to translate data into concrete actions that close gaps. According to Lynda, “If all we're doing is ‘problem gazing’ at the data, what impact are we having?”
  • To respect parents’ time, Lynda believes they should be compensated for participation in meetings. As Lynda notes, “Some people get paid to go to meetings all day, but parents don’t, and we need that perspective at the table.”
  • Four years into the work, RMP has seen many system-level changes, such as policy changes (some of which Lynda believes can have a big and rapid impact), signups for a statewide scholarship program, and stronger relationships as a result of people working together.

Robert: What are you most excited about regarding the Road Map Project’s work?

Lynda: Many things! Four years into this work, in many cases relationships are strong, which has been a result of people working together on very challenging work.

Additionally, our data team is breaking ground all the time and uncovering new insights. We're gaining access to new sources of data and thinking innovatively about what we measure and track. CCER plays a role in analyzing data and helping others to use the data meaningfully in their work.

Across our country there's a real focus on racial equity, and this year we've had so many conversations about what that looks like in the RMP, how CCER plays a role. We're far from figuring it out, but I've appreciated the courageous conversations that we and many in our communities are having. The challenge is then “what do we do differently to see the change we want to see?”

What are some of the main systems-level changes you’ve seen, and what’s been driving those changes?

We’ve seen many system-level changes, and I’ll speak to a few.

First, there have been policy changes that can then have a really big and rapid impact. For example, we track percentage of students attending full-day Kindergarten. Full-day Kindergarten is a critical access point, and an equity issue. Even before the state of Washington adopted this priority, our districts were already prioritizing funding for this. I can say the same thing about student discipline policies. As a result of increasing public pressure to reassess those policies, we’ve seen districts change policies, which has led to rapidly-improving outcomes. Yet, there is so much more to do!

9th Graders with a Suspension or Expulsion (Source: Road Map Project 2014 Results Report)

Kindergarten Students Attending Full-Day Kindergarten (Source: Road Map Project 2014 Results Report)

As a region, we’ve also made progress in the signup rate for College Bound scholarships, which significantly helps Washington students cover the costs of college. When the policy establishing the scholarship  was passed, there was no system to sign eligible students up for the scholarship, and only about half of them did. So, we worked together on a signup campaign, and have also made some progress in improving the college-going culture in our high schools. There’s certainly a lot more to do, but we are seeing progress in improving college access for low-income students.

Lastly, we’ve been pushing for increases in rigorous course taking and FAFSA filings, which are really important. It has involved a lot of people working from different angles.

What are the main evolutions the Road Map Project has gone through?

Leadership turnover is a big issue. We work across 7 school districts, and none of the superintendents who were there in 2011 (when we started) are still there. In some cases, we’ve been through 3 superintendents in a district. In addition, we’ve seen turnover in the postsecondary space. While in some cases the turnover is a challenge, it can also be an opportunity.

What challenges do you face?

Supporting working group members and partners in implementation is challenging. CCER supports work groups to convene and create an action plan – that’s hard work in and of itself. But, supporting and tracking progress during implementation continues to be a huge challenge.  We are working to improve student-level outcomes, but we know that we must be tracking the system-level indicators and adult behavior change that is required to better support all children.  For example, to improve 3rd grade reading for ELL children, one system-level indicator that should improve is the number of early elementary teachers certified to teach ELL children.

Can you tell me more about how you embed equity into your activities?

This is a journey for individuals, individual organizations, and the collective. We've always had a big focus on closing the opportunity gap for children of color, and we have targets that show us if we’re on or off-track to closing the gaps (see the Road Map Project’s annual reports for how they track progress). But, if all we're doing is “problem gazing” at the data, what impact are we having? So, we try to tailor strategies to impact those students and families who need it most. For example, we include racial equity in any template when planning strategies or implementation plans.

We are always thinking about the best ways to include the voices of those we most want to support. How do we include the parents and caregivers and youth in a way that's respectful of them and their time? Some people get paid to go to meetings all day, but low-income parents don’t, and we need that perspective at the table. We will continue to work on this and we have a lot of great organizations that work with parents, and we work with those organizations. We're all figuring it out together.

Do you have any reflections on challenges and successes with community engagement?

We've tried many different things. We have a group of small, grassroots CBOs playing a leadership role on equity, specifically racial equity. But, there's so much more we could do. We've done community results roundtables with different groups where we bring data and work with organizers to have those conversations. That's been successful to some extent, but in a region as large and diverse as this, we always need to do more.

What tips do you have for other communities for how to make collective impact effective?

I think data remains the way to bring people to common ground in a meeting – it can be very powerful.  But who you’re bringing to the table and how the data is framed is very important. And we must all hold the tension of addressing the short-term improvements for children and youth today and the long-term cultural shifts and system-change we need to achieve our goal.

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

View more in this interview series

StrivePartnership Seeking Executive Director

Posted 4 years ago at 10:44 am

StrivePartnership is seeking an Executive Director. For more information, follow this link to this description or download the attachment on this post.

About the Position

StrivePartnership seeks an Executive Director to lead the organization towards its goals of sustainably improving outcomes for all children, cradle to career, using a systems change approach and related Theory of Action. The Executive Director will be charged with building on StrivePartnership's ten years of success, leveraging the strength and credibility of its partners, the StriveTogether National Network, and KnowlegeWorks Foundation to execute with urgency on the region's powerful shared vision.

Managing a team of roughly 7-10, the Executive Director will formally report to the President and CEO of parent company KnowledgeWorks and will also be accountable to the StrivePartnership Executive Committee, an advisory Board comprised of community leaders and experts in their respective fields.

This is an ideal opportunity for a thoughtful and strategic leader who is passionate about ensuring a high quality education for all students and families in the Greater Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky community, working with a team that is focused on changing the world by changing how education is delivered.

Read more about this position