Jul 22 2013

Politics often gets a bad rap. Many Canadians see politics as something that other people do and not really relevant to our day-to-day lives. Samara’s latest Democracy Report, “Political Participation Beyond the Ballot Box,” confirms that fewer Canadians are now participating in formal politics, including joining or donating to political parties, and even voting.

samara_key_messageBut when we have 60 people coming out to a weekend session at a School4Civics workshop, there is clearly interest in becoming more actively involved.

Consider this:

  • While 55% of us volunteer our time, only 10% volunteer in an election.
  • While 84% donate money to a charity or nonprofit, only 10% donate to political candidates or parties.
  • While 58% are active in a group or association, only 10% are members of political parties.

Being politically active matters

People who are involved in politics also tend to be involved and active in their communities – be it volunteering or organizing a community event, among others.

But, for many, participating in politics automatically means joining a party which can be seen as a very partisan decision. This makes it difficult for people who are community-involved to make that transition. There needs to be a more thoughtful way to sell participation than “wear the team colours.” Parties need to figure out a new pitch and new means to get more of those people, who are already active and engaged in other ways, involved in formal politics.

Community-involved people shouldn’t fear being seen as partisan

Many people often have trouble choosing a particular party because they share a set of values that are associated with more than one party. They don’t want to risk being perceived as a partisan that can no longer be trusted. But, the more they are exposed to politics, the more they’ll see that a lot of effective community leaders are actually active in elections and can see this as a legitimate way to make change.

Party members in Canadian democracy have a huge amount of political power. They vote on the nomination of candidates, who may or may not become a representative in government. Party members are the ones filtering their neighbours’ choice for who’s going to run and represent everyone in a riding. They have the political power of shaping party leadership, party platforms and policies, etc.

That’s a significant reason to become a member of a political party. It can be a difficult choice, especially for community-involved people, but it ultimately results in a great deal more influence and power in the formal political process.

Formal engagement isn’t your only option

There are many ways that people can be politically active outside of formal engagement. Samara identified 20 activities across five broad categories: Online Discussion, Off-line Discussion, Activism, Civic Engagement and Formal Engagement.

samara-political-participation-activities

Over the next few weeks, I will explore Samara’s report and what it means for our work and audience. Through School4Civics, we’re working directly with diverse leaders interested in becoming part of the formal part of political engagement. We will also explore other forms of political engagement, and how anyone, from youth to newcomers who aren’t yet Canadian citizens, can, should and need to get involved.

Related:

Jun 20 2013

Recently, we had to say goodbye to Tony Coombes and Betsy Martin. Their passing leaves a great hole in Canada’s innovative and committed nation building communities. We remember them for who they were, the work they did, the inspiration they provided and the legacy they leave us.

tony-coombesTony Coombes

Tony Coombes died June 10. An architect and planner, Tony was the founding executive director of The Neptis Foundation. Neptis was founded by Martha Shuttleworth, Tony’s former wife, with the objective to combat sprawl and support sustainable growth in urban regions.

Tony realized that no effective planning was possible without a comprehensive understanding of the natural and built inventory. He knew that in the Toronto region particularly, there was insufficient mapping of that inventory, and one of the great projects of Neptis was to produce it. With his long experience, Tony knew what was needed, and Neptis made it happen.

Without this fundamental platform, Ontario would not have been able to produce Places to Grow, The Greenbelt legislation, and Metrolinx, the regional transportation plan. Together, they form a triumvirate that exists in few other regions of the world, and which will create benefits for generations to come.

Neptis stands as one of the great pieces of Canadian philanthropy, and Tony was a principal architect of that.

Tony was a friend of Maytree, and its sister organization The Institute on Municipal Finance and Governance.

Betsy Martin photoBetsy Martin

Betsy Martin died June 4. She had long professional associations with Community Foundations of Canada and various individual community foundations in Canada. In that capacity, she was instrumental in developing many key programs and activities as the community foundation movement grew and matured.

One such program was Vital Signs, now a signature for community foundations in Canada and elsewhere. Vital Signs was developed jointly by the Laidlaw Foundation along with Maytree and its sister organization Ideas That Matter (ITM). It is an indicators project that charts the health of communities on a range of issues. Laidlaw, Maytree and ITM knew they were not likely the ideal long-term home for Vital Signs, but that community foundations were.

Betsy clearly saw it as well, and because of her excellent relationships and skills was able to usher Vital Signs into the Toronto Community Foundation and into the wider community foundation network. As those reports come out annually in communities across Canada, we can pause for a moment and thank Betsy for being the vital link.

Mar 22 2013

by Paul Born, Tamarack – An Institute for Community Engagement

Over the past 10 years Tamarack has grown to become a mature and active force for community change in Canada and beyond. We have built the nation’s largest learning community for collaborative leaders (more than 10,000 learners) and also the largest network of cities (39) who are working together to reduce poverty. More than 203,000 Canadians are less poor because of the impact of this network.

Building upon this solid foundation, in 2012 Tamarack took a dramatic turn. Going forward we will focus all of our attention on building Learning Communities for social change. We want to be deliberate about creating large scale change. We believe that when leaders learn together – building a common agenda and then sharing their insights, experiences and resources for social change with one another – we can accelerate the impact of this work. Tamarack’s role is to facilitate this co-generative process of learning and change. We will primarily do this through online and face-to-face learning activities.

This month’s issue of Engage! is our 2012 Annual Report Edition. In it we offer you an overview of our three distinct but inter-related Learning Communities. Each article includes a series of links that will enable you to go directly to specific places on our four Online Learning web sites to find more detailed information and enable you to further explore topics of particular interest. We also welcome your feedback and encourage you to share your own ideas and stories about the work of this Institute.

We are proud of Tamarack’s solid foundation and excited about what the future holds. We welcome you to join us in building a connected force for social change.

Learn More:

Feb 15 2013

by Paul Born, Tamarack – An Institute for Community Engagement

Collective Impact – defined as “the commitment of a group of actors from different sectors to a common agenda for solving a complex social problem” – is an approach that’s gaining considerable momentum. This is due in no small part to the excellent work of John Kania and his colleagues at FSG Social Impact Consultants who have written a series of articles about it – including Collective Impact (PDF) and Channeling Change: Making Collective Impact Work (PDF) - published in the Stanford Social Innovation Review.

The underlying premise of Collective Impact is that no single organization can create large-scale, lasting change on complex social issues when they work alone. Strong organizations are necessary but not sufficient for achieving impact. Instead, large-scale social change requires a collaborative approach that involves those in government, civil society, and the business sector coordinating their efforts and working together around clearly defined goals.

This premise was central to the approach that Tamarack embraced more than a decade ago when we partnered with The J.W. McConnell Family Foundation and the Caledon Institute for Social Policy to champion Vibrant Communities (VC), a pan-Canadian action-learning initiative which supported and explored promising local solutions for poverty-reduction. VC’s first phase – from 2002 to 2012 – provided concrete evidence and a rich body of learning that affirms that significant progress can be made to alleviate the complex issue of poverty using a place-based, multi-sector, collective impact approach.

One of the unexpected benefits of FSG’s recent focus on Collective Impact is that it has served as a rallying point for a host of different organizations doing work in this way to find, learn from and collaborate with one another to accelerate the effectiveness of collective impact work. This was noted in a recent blog on the FSG website which observed, “People around the world, who were doing Collective Impact independently, have discovered that they are part of a community. Until now, they had no consistent way to describe their approach, no examples of success to substantiate their belief that this was a better way to work, no ability to learn from the thousands of others who were engaged in similar efforts without knowing it. All of a sudden, the experience that each person was slowly building up in isolation has become a field in which knowledge can grow exponentially. The name has helped foster a movement.”

I am excited to announce that FSG and Tamarack are now collaborating to accelerate capacity-build and knowledge dissemination in the emerging field of Collective Impact. On April 16-18 we will be co-hosting Champions for Change: Leading a Backbone Organization for Collective Impact in Toronto. This dynamic learning experience has been designed to provide leaders of Backbone Support Organizations with the knowledge, skills and resources they need to successfully fulfil their central role. With support from Maytree and The J.W. McConnell Family Foundation, this event will also highlight some inspiring Canadian examples of collective impact in action.

Providing effective “backbone support” is identified as one of the five critical conditions for collective impact. Backbone organizations play a complex, behind-the-scenes role in the success of these collective impact initiatives. In fact, the effectiveness with which a backbone organization fulfills its role often determines the success or failure of the collective impact initiative as a whole.

The role of the backbone organization spans six major activities:

  • guiding vision and strategy;
  • supporting aligned activities;
  • establishing shared measurements;
  • building public will;
  • advancing policy change; and
  • mobilizing funding.

The backbone organization essentially keeps the collaborative on track and moves it forward.  Fulfilling this role requires a diversity of skills and is essential to maintain alignment across the partners.

If you are a leader of a backbone support organization or collaborative roundtable within a collective impact initiative, your participation at this event will contribute to the richness of this unique learning opportunity as we work together to grow the capacity in this emerging – and promising – field of community innovation.

We hope you can join us!

Related Links:

Jan 17 2013

by Mark Cabaj, Tamarack – An Institute for Community Engagement

The idea of “policy change” pops up regularly nowadays in Pathways for Changeconversations where people are doing whatever they can to dramatically strengthen their communities. They share a sense that public policies – e.g. income security policy for seniors, policies designed to manage the pace of oil sands development, regulations that determine what drugs are covered (or not) by public health plans – can yield the deep, broad and durable results people desire.

Yet for all the increased focus on changing public policies, many advocates are unclear about precisely how to go about it. In her resource, Pathways for Change, Sharon Stochowiak helps de-mystify the policy change process by laying out six common theories or pathways for policy change. These include:

  • Large Leap Theory - Like seismic shifts, significant changes in policies occur when the right contextual conditions are in place (e.g., the battery of new policies and regulations to reduce the practice of drinking and driving that emerged in response to pressure for action by police services, politicians and the courts).
  • Coalition Theory - Policy change happens through the coordinated activity of a range of individuals with the same core policy brief (e.g. When a coalition of agencies encouraging a city to adopt an urban food policy).
  • Policy Windows - Policy changes occur when advocates are able to effectively define a problem, possible solutions, and/or shape or take advantage of the contextual factors that encourage “action” on the problem (e.g. the recent “window” to regulate gun ownership in the United States that emerged after the horrible incidents of gun violence).
  • Messaging & Frameworks - Policies change when advocates frame or present issues and policy options in a way that reflects the worldview and preferences of decision-makers (e.g. encouraging a Provincial Government concerned about a tight labour market to support the policies that strengthen early learning and care programs as way to encourage more parents to participate in the workforce).
  • Power Politics (Power Elites Theory) – Policy changes are more apt to occur when advocates develop relationships and work with those in positions of power and influence (e.g. working with oil and gas companies to develop policies that balance resource development and environmental sustainability).
  • Grassroots (Community Organizing Theory) – Policy change happens when those people directly affected by an issue work together to address that issue, including pressuring decision-makers to change specific policies (e.g. residents of an inner-city neighborhood organizing to pressure a municipality to change a policy that encourages suburban traffic to move quickly (and dangerously) through their streets).

For each theory, Stochowiak provides a short account of its underlying assumptions, a visual account of the typical activities and outcomes related to the theory, and some points on the practical applications of the theory by advocates.

The six theories laid out in this brief are not comprehensive (there are more ways to change policies than these six) nor are they mutually exclusive (they can be woven together). However, they are helpful to advocates of policy change in a variety of ways:

  • They sharpen a group’s thinking about which approach best suits their particular context and guides their planning once they settle on what they feel may work.
  • They can be used to help communicate their overall approach to others who would want to understand – and perhaps support – their work.
  • They offer a framework to monitor and evaluate their policy change activities and outcomes.

Changing policies is a tricky and unpredictable business. Stochowiak makes the compelling case that having a good theory of change can make the enterprise more robust, manageable and improve advocates’ probabilities of success. And in the high stakes game of community-building, where every little bit helps, the document Pathways for Change is a welcome resource for would-be change makers.

Related links:

Tagged with:
Dec 05 2012

The City of Toronto launched its 2013 budget process on November 29. In this post, you will find information about how to get involved, the key dates, and useful news articles and resources.

Want to make your voice heard?

  • Sign up to make a deputation to the Budget committee on December 10 and 11. You can sign up now by adding your name to the deputation list and/or submit a written deputation at buc@toronto.ca or by calling 416-338-5851.

Useful news articles

Useful resources

1. City of Toronto Budget documents

Latest information

Operating Budget

Capital Budget

 2. Additional information from the community

Social Planning Toronto (SPT)

Commitment 2 Community

Wellesley Institute

Canadian Centre for Policy Alternative

3. Key dates

  • November 29, 2012: Budget Committee Launch
  • December 3-6, 2012: Budget Committee Review – 2013 Capital and Operating Budgets
  • December 10 & 11, 2012: Budget Committee Public Hearings
  • December 12 & 17, 2012: Budget Committee Wrap-Up
  • January 8, 2013: Budget Committee Final Wrap-Up
  • January 10, 2013: Special Executive Committee considers 2013 Capital and Operating Budgets
  • January 15-17, 2013: City Council considers 2013 Capital and Operating Budgets

 

Aug 14 2012

by Sylvia Cheuy, Tamarack – An Institute for Community Engagement

When Barack Obama, a community developer by training, became the President of the United States, he created The White House Council on Community Solutions to advance collective impact in communities. Earlier this month, the Council released its final paper, Community Solutions for Opportunity Youth, a fascinating report with solid recommendations for how communities can be more effective at “putting every young person on a clear path to economic opportunity.”

A representative from the Council, Paul Schmitz, will join us as a key thought-leader at the Communities Collaborating Institute 2012: Innovating Together.

Today, 6.7 million American 16-to-24-year olds – roughly 1 in 6 in this age group – are disconnected from both school and jobs. Research shows that connecting young people to the labour market early is critical for shaping their skills, attitudes, and outlook on life. It also impacts far beyond youth themselves. Research by Columbia University/Queens College, CUNY found that in 2011 U.S. taxpayers shouldered more than $93 billion to compensate for lost taxes and the direct costs to support disconnected youth, and that amount will grow to more than $1.6 trillion over their lifetime.

The Council’s report reflects conversations with more than 350 youth and community leaders across the country and confirms that youth have energy and aspirations. They recognize their responsibility to develop solutions with local leaders that improve their lives, benefit their communities, and help youth nationwide. To acknowledge their untapped potential, the Council chose to refer to this population as Opportunity Youth.

Speaking about the White House Council and its focus on youth, Patty Stonesifer, Chair of the White House Council, said, “Across the country, citizens and local leaders are combining their resources to achieve needle-moving change on a range of complex issues – from reducing violence to increasing graduation rates – and changing what’s possible for their communities. By applying the same focus and discipline toward supporting opportunity youth, we can dramatically change the trajectory of their lives, as well as our economy and society.”

The Council identified some key principles and recommendations that Canadian youth and community leaders can also benefit from.

Three fundamental principles were identified as central to effectively address the needs of opportunity youth:

  1. Young people are key to the solution – Opportunity youth have informed views of what works for them and their peers.
  2. All sectors must unite to address the challenge - To see dramatic, measurable progress, families, communities, schools, employers, nonprofits, and the government must pull together in the same direction to provide the diverse range of services needed.
  3. Policies and funding must be data-driven – Policy and funding decisions need to be guided by accurate data about opportunity youth and effective interventions to ensure the most effective use of limited funding.

The Council’s recommendations focus on four key strategies to significantly reduce the number of opportunity youth and make even more substantial progress toward putting all young people on a path to prosperity. The four strategies are:

  1. Drive the development of cross-sector community collaboratives – These collaboratives use a common approach and embody a core set of characteristics to solve a range of social issues, including supporting opportunity youth.
  2. Create shared national responsibility and accountability for opportunity youth – Coordinate and share rigorous data to shine a national spotlight on who these young people are, what they need, and what they are capable of doing.
  3. Engage youth as leaders in the solution – This ensures that relevant, high quality, and increasingly effective programs and resources for opportunity youth are being created and supported.
  4. Build more robust on-ramps for employment for opportunity youth – These initiatives need to be designed to meet the needs of communities and young people by linking education and training to local jobs.

At a summit hosted by the Council to release this report, several national organizations announced new collaborative initiatives to support the report’s strategies. Two include:

  • The Spark Opportunity Challenge – a crowd-sourcing competition for young people to propose their own visionary, yet viable solutions to create jobs, build and enhance skills, and bring about real change for opportunity youth.
  • The Aspen Forum for Community Solutions & the Opportunity Youth Incentive Fund will spotlight communities that are successfully pulling together to move the needle on a community challenge, providing national and local leaders with the knowledge, tools and resources needed to launch a successful needle-moving collaborative, especially those focused on reconnecting opportunity youth to school and work.

With an emphasis on what’s possible through collaboration and the value of community-led solutions, the Council believes that implementing its recommendations will lower the number of opportunity youth by a minimum of ten percent. This, they acknowledge, “will lead to significant progress toward putting all of our young people on a path to prosperity.”

The Council’s participation on our recent Communities Collaborating Institute shows how ideas know no borders and sharing innovative, community-led initiatives benefits us all.

Related Links:

Tagged with:
Jul 17 2012

“Social innovation is both a destination – the resolution of complex social and environmental challenges – and a process – devising new approaches that engage all stakeholders, leveraging their competencies and creativity to design novel solutions.”

- Tim Brodhead, 2011

By Al Etmanski (writing for Tamarack – An Institute for Community Engagement)

Social innovation: What is it? Why is it currently garnering such interest? And what’s needed to enable it to flourish? These are among the many questions explored by the BC Social Innovation Council (originally known as the BC Advisory Council on Social Entrepreneurship). The Council’s final report, Action Plan Recommendations to Maximize Social Innovation in British Columbia (PDF), culminates a comprehensive province-wide process with a set of recommendations and suggested framework to enable social innovation to flourish in British Columbia. The Council and its work also inspire others in the growing field of social innovation.

What is Social Innovation?

The Council’s discussion paper, Together: Respecting Our Future (PDF), defined social innovations as “ideas, products, services, processes, statutes, resources, protocols, and technologies that solve a social problem while generating new social relationships, partnerships, collaborations, connections and financing.” It also acknowledges that, around the world, social innovation has emerged as a “frame of reference for action to address existing and emerging social, financial and environmental challenges.”

In an earlier discussion paper, Taking Care (PDF), the Council stated that social innovation is beyond the scope of a single idea, organization or program, and means being intentional about:

  • Cultivating and supporting new approaches that work;
  • Aligning existing expertise and experience in new ways;
  • Using the expertise and resources of all sectors (business, community and government);
  • Adopting an entrepreneurial, business oriented approach to achieving social impact; and
  • Linking innovations with structural, institutional and systemic change.

Social Innovation: Why Now?

Interest in social innovation has grown, in part, from the awareness that our society’s traditional approaches to addressing complex social issues, are neither sustainable nor responsible. Traditional social safety nets are reaching their limit, and yet the programs they support are not getting the results we want and need. At the same time, changes in the economy are challenging us to find new ways to pay for, deliver and transform the public services. It is clear that transformation is needed; but how that transformation should look is far from clear: there are no simple solutions.

The Council’s social innovation process included dialogue sessions with diverse stakeholders focused on what could be put in place to enhance and increase citizens’ capacity to take care of each other in the future. The key question for this work was: How can we use social innovation (and its corresponding tools of social enterprise, social media, open source, smart collaborative networks, and social finance) to enable a resilient British Columbia in 2020?

Supporting Social Innovation to Flourish

The Council’s unique composition of tri-sector co-chairs, elected official and public service blend, political leadership and a spirit of non-partisanship had never before been tried in BC. In a recent blog, I as one of the Council’s three co-chairs (from the business, government and community sectors) used an Emily Carr quote to describe the Council’s structure: “perfectly ordered disorder, designed with helter skelter magnificence.” 

From the outset the Council was committed to modelling the spirit and value of working collaboratively by bridging faulty assumptions, traditional boundaries, misunderstandings and past grievances. This has given us a common appreciation for our challenges. And I believe that this approach is one of the reasons the Council’s recommendations already have momentum behind them – with alliances, resources and commitments coalescing around most of the recommendations.

The job to shepherd the Council’s recommendation to implementation has been handed to a newly created successor, Partners for Social Impact. This group will welcome additional individuals, groups, institutions and companies to this work and will no longer be advisory to government. Instead the BC government is committed to join other members as an equal contributing partner.  British Columbia now has the opportunity to make something magnificent of the Council’s perfectly ordered disorder.

Related links:

Jun 14 2012

by Sylvia Cheuy, Tamarack – An Institute for Community Engagement

Paul Schmitz, CEO and founder of Public AlliesWe at Tamarack are thrilled that a representative from The White House Council on Community Solutions will be joining us as a key thought-leader at the Communities Collaborating Institute 2012: Innovating Together.

The White House Council for Community Solutions was established by President Obama in December 2010 to share creative ideas and collaborative approaches for building healthy communities across America. In developing its approach, “The White House Council decided to look beyond individual programs showing success with limited populations and instead look at where communities are solving problems together and moving the needle in a way that improves results for the whole community.” The Council’s decision to accept our invitation to the CCI 2012 reflects their desire to engage a global network of peers in sharing its work.

The Council’s delegate to the CCI 2012 is Paul Schmitz, CEO and founder of Public Allies, an organization whose mission is to advance new leadership to strengthen communities, nonprofits and civic participation and demonstrate the conviction that “everyone can lead, and that lasting social change results when citizens of all backgrounds step up, take responsibility, and work together.” He is also a faculty member of the Asset-Based Community Development Institute at Northwestern University, blogs on leadership for the Washington Post, and is the author of Everyone Leads: Building Leadership from the Community Up.

Paul’s work has garnered considerable recognition and praise. He was selected as a Next Generation Leadership Fellow by the Rockefeller Foundation, was recognized by the Nonprofit Times as one of the 50 most powerful and influential non-profit leaders in America, and is a recipient of Fast Company magazine’s Social Capitalist Award for innovation.

Recently Paul co-authored Needle-Moving Community Collaboratives: A Promising Approach to Addressing America’s Biggest Challenges, an article published by The Bridgespan Group. This paper begins by recognizing that, “In a climate of increasingly constrained resources, those solutions must help communities to achieve more with less. A new kind of community collaborative – an approach that aspires to significant, community-wide progress by enlisting all sectors to work together toward a common goal – offers enormous promise to bring about broader, more lasting change across the nation.”

It then reviews a number of successful cross-sector collaborative across the U.S., and synthesizes the core operating principles, key success factors, and supportive resources these collaboratives need to fulfil what the authors identify as the following primary roles: convening, facilitation, data collection, communications and administrative support.

We welcome Paul as the latest member of the 2012 CCI: Innovating Together Learning Community and look forward to learning more with him in the weeks and months to come.

Related links:

Tagged with:
May 22 2012

by Mark Cabaj, Tamarack – An Institute for Community Engagement

Tamarack has provided regular and comprehensive coverage to the Vibrant Communities initiative since it began in 2002. And why not? It was a grand experiment (2002-2011) by a group of urban collaboratives from across Canada and three national sponsors to significantly reduce poverty through comprehensive and multi-sectoral efforts that yielded significant results and lessons.

The results include concrete reductions in poverty. Over a dozen local poverty reduction roundtables contributed to 256 initiatives that have generated 439,435 benefits to 202,931 low income households. The same groups were involved in scores of systemic and policy changes and improved the local awareness and commitment to reduce poverty over the longer term.

The lessons included how to work in new ways: working across sector boundaries, engaging low income and business leaders, working comprehensively on poverty’s root causes and embracing a learning-by-doing approach that encourages risk and innovation. These insights – and many more – are captured and shared in a variety of reports, books and podcasts that are available on the Vibrant Communities Canada website.

key-numbers-chart-tamarackThe learning continues. The work of local Trail Builders – and the mining and distilling of their results and learning – was made possible thanks to a large and diverse array of national supports. This included generous multi-year grants; hands-on coaching from seasoned experts; an ambitious research and policy agenda; a pool of tools and techniques; a larger number of tele-learning calls exploring new practices and change stories; regular peer calls between communities; a variety of face-to-face learning events; a comprehensive website; and a constant series of electronic newsletters. Local communities and national sponsors invested a great deal of time, money and energy in developing and using a sophisticated “architecture” of supports rarely seen in other national efforts.

What difference – if any – did it all make? What are the lessons for supporting other local efforts to tackle complex issues? These are the questions that Jamie Gamble of Imprint Consulting Inc. explores in the soon-to-be released second (and last) installment of the Vibrant Communities evaluation: Inspired Learning: An Evaluation of Vibrant Communities National Supports.

Throughout 2011-2012, Jamie and his team reviewed program files and interviewed the local “users” of these supports to understand how they worked and how – if at all – they influenced the activities and outcomes of local groups. Their findings are captured in a fifty-page report that covers the following:

  • A description of each of the Vibrant Communities supports and how they worked
  • A summary of the ever-evolving “architecture” of how these supports worked together
  • Four case examples of how Trail Builder communities used different supports
  • A general assessment of the use and value of each support
  • An exploration of what supports worked for whom and when

Based on these findings, Gamble draws an important conclusion: it may not be necessary to provide such a robust, elaborate and expensive constellation of supports to all local efforts tackling complex issues (e.g. poverty, homelessness, high school graduate rates); however, it was critical in the case of the Vibrant Communities initiative which operated with the concurrent objectives of: (a) providing support to local groups so that they were able to generate concrete reductions in poverty; (b) mining and distilling their results and findings to share with others; and (c) encouraging other communities and the policy makers and funders that support them to adopt this approach to tackling poverty.

Gamble’s recommendations to national intermediaries, funders and communities are useful to communities and organizations involved in the next iteration of the Vibrant Communities – Cities Reducing Poverty – and for anyone else who dreams of “moving the needles” on the most complex issues of our time.

Related Links:

Tagged with:
preload preload preload