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

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  • Conversations with Experienced Backbone Leaders: Project U-Turn

    David Phillips

    June 22, 2016

    This is the second in our conversation series with experienced backbone leaders. (see this blog post describing the series.) In this conversation, we spoke with Chekemma Fulmore-Townsend, President and CEO of the Philadelphia Youth Network (PYN). PYN serves as the backbone organization for Project U-Turn, which aims to galvanize collective commitment and action to address Philadelphia’s dropout crisis.
  • New Blog Series: Conversations with Experienced Backbone Leaders

    David Phillips

    June 22, 2016

    Summer is upon us, and in the U.S. the weather is hot, and the days long. I spent my childhood in Alabama, where the often-unbearable summer heat made us appreciate cold drinks, shade, and air conditioning. The hot weather sapped our desire to run around outside, so in the evening we’d fire up the grill, gather fresh tomatoes from the garden, watch the lightning bugs flutter across the yard, and enjoy one another’s company. In this setting, stories were shared, wisdom was imparted, and we generally got to know one another a lot better.
  • Is Collective Impact Incompatible with Equity?

    Romilda Justilien

    May 31, 2016

    In the winter of 2015, two East Coast Millennials joined the FSG team in San Francisco (just in time to miss the cold tundra of the Northeast Corridor). As a two-generation, Haitian-American, I came from Jersey City with a background in public policy and philanthropy. My colleague Miya left Massachusetts with a range of experiences in community organizing, public policy and global health; her mother is originally from Harlem, her father from Miami. We both happened to share the experience of growing up in Miami, a city known for its beautiful beaches and vibrant culture. On the other hand, Miami is increasingly known for its deep poverty, high crime, and lack of access to opportunity for communities of color and low-income communities.
  • Getting Back to the Purpose of Collective Impact

    Tynesia Boyea-Robinson

    May 23, 2016

    My Aunt Janice’s biscuits are legendary. They are fluffy, buttery and light. Whenever we visit her in Alabama, we stop by to gorge ourselves on these delectable treats. I recently had a hankering for the biscuits so I asked for the recipe. While I’m not a huge fan of cooking, I don’t mind baking occasionally. The recipe only has four ingredients- flour, buttermilk, shortening, and butter. Simple, right?
  • Advancing the Practice of Collective Impact

    John Kania

    May 4, 2016

    We appreciate Tom Wolff’s critique of collective impact and the insights he shares in his recent essay. Wolff’s years of experience in the field, and the perspectives he offers, are a valuable contribution to the arena of collective, collaborative change. We’re grateful that he’s agreed to re-post his essay alongside our response in order to create what we hope will be a productive conversation. Since writing the original article on collective impact in 2011, we and others have written about many of the dimensions that Wolff articulates in his published editorial in the Global Journal of Community Psychology Practice, a peer-reviewed professional journal. In particular, we agree with Wolff’s aspirations for how collective impact can lead to better results, particularly for those whom collaborative efforts seek to serve. We share his eloquently expressed hope for "improved applications of Collective Impact” to emerge:"
  • Ten Places Where Collective Impact Gets It Wrong

    Tom Wolff

    May 4, 2016

    In 2011 Kania and Kramer published a five page article in the Stanford Social Innovation Review entitled “Collective Impact” (2011). The article was a well written summary of their views of large scale social change efforts in communities. They suggested five conditions of collective impact: 1. common agenda 2. shared measurement 3. mutually reinforcing activities 4. continuous communication 5. backbone support. In the original article, and those that followed, Kania and Kramer were explicitly and implicitly critical of much of what came before them. In one chart (Hanleybrown, Kania, & Kramer 2012), they compare Isolated Impact with Collective Impact as if those were the only two options, omitting the numerous examples of community-wide coalitions that moved beyond Isolated Impact but were not explicitly labeled Collective Impact (for one example see the exhaustive literature on Healthy Communities, Norris, 2013).
  • Collaboration and Collective Impact: How can Funders, NGOs, Governments and Citizens Achieve More Together?

    Geoff Mulgan

    April 27, 2016

    There is a long history of experiments to align the actions and thoughts of many different organisations trying to achieve some kind of social change – better early years education; less violence; improved public health or urban regeneration. These have usually involved some combination of shared plans, targets, and commitments. They have had many names. Many books have been written about them, and many universities have run courses to make people better collaborators. People on the sharp end of social problems want those with money and power to get their act together and not work at cross purposes. Responsible funders naturally want to find ways to make their money go further, and recognise that this is bound to involve collaboration - pooling resources of all kinds with others.

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