Online Series: Collective Impact, 10 Years Later


The year 2021 marks 10 years since the publication of the article “Collective Impact” in Stanford Social Innovation Review. Over the last decade, organizations working around the globe have applied the practice of collective impact to solving a broad range of social and environmental challenges, and the approach has been incorporated into the structure of national and local public programs in the United States and abroad.

We can attribute much of the growth, success, and sustained interest in collective impact to the learning and sharing of practitioners, funders, and many partners who have cultivated and worked to adapt the practice over time. Their experiences and feedback, as well as decades of collaborative work predating 2011, have contributed to the evolution of the approach, particularly around themes of equity, community ownership, power, data, and sustainability.

This series, sponsored by the Collective Impact Forum, a program of FSG and the Aspen Institute Forum for Community Solutions, will reflect on this evolution through articles, case studies, practitioner interviews, and roundtable conversations that highlight the range of ways this approach has taken root—and importantly, the impact it has had on improving outcomes for marginalized and oppressed communities. It will also present an adapted collective impact framework that centers equity and look ahead to how those working in social change can continue to support and strengthen collective impact work.

Ultimately, this series is a call to action for practitioners, funders, and social change leaders to design and implement cross-sector collaborations that focus on equity, community engagement, and power-sharing in order to contribute to positive results and justice in their work. Indeed, during these times of ongoing crisis and intense polarization, it is critical that we work together to protect the most vulnerable in our communities, especially those most impacted by systemic racism, inequity, and poverty.

The Collective Impact Forum would like to thank the California Health Care Foundation for their direct support for this project. This project was also made possible in part by general support from The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation.

Series art featured here and illustrated by Hugo Herrera.

Collective Impact, 10 Years Later

Explore the full series:

1. Series overview

Find an introduction to the full online series.

2. Centering Equity in Collective Impact

by John Kania, Junious Williams, Paul Schmitz, Sheri Brady, Mark Kramer & Jennifer Splansky Juster.

A decade of applying the collective impact approach to address social problems has taught us that equity is central to the work.

Read the article, listen to a podcast with several of the authors for a “behind the writing” deep dive discussion, or watch a webinar that discusses the strategies further.

3. Bringing an Anti-Racist Approach to Collective Impact

A conversation between Miya Cain and Dr. Zea Malawa.

Two collective impact leaders, Dr. Zea Malawa of Expecting Justice, and Miya Cain of FSG, discuss using the framework to achieve social change and how to put anti-racism at the center of cross-sector collaborations.

Read an excerpt, a full transcript, or listen as a podcast.

4. Reflecting on Collective Impact for Place-Based Social Change

A roundtable discussion featuring Melody Barnes, Jennifer Blatz, Geoffrey Canada, Rosanne Haggerty, and Erik Stegman.

Four nonprofit leaders discuss their experiences using collective impact for collaborative, place-based change, including their views on the role of data and philanthropy, and what lies ahead for this field of work.

Read an excerpt, a full transcript, or listen as a podcast.

5. 10 Dangers to Collective Impact

by Paul Schmitz

A look at the worst practices in using the collective impact approach for social change and lessons on how to avoid them.

Read the article or listen to a podcast with the author.

6. Centering Racial Justice and Grassroots Ownership in Collective Impact

by Kat Allen, Rachel Stoler, Keyedrya Jacobs, Ilana Gerjuoy, Sage Shea & Leigh-Ellen Figueroa

How a top-down coalition focused on reducing youth substance use in a predominantly white, rural area of Western Massachusetts has prioritized equity and community engagement.

7. Using Data to Disrupt Systemic Inequity

by Jennifer Blatz

A look at how the collective impact initiative StriveTogether is enlisting data to resolve systemic barriers that limit opportunity for children and families of color in the United States.

8. Data in Collective Impact: Focusing on What Matters

by Justin Piff

Understanding data and using it effectively in collective impact can help achieve short- and long-term progress on shared goals.

Read the article or listen to a podcast with the author.

9. Power and Collective Impact in Australia

by Kerry Graham, Liz Skelton, and Mark Yettica Paulson

How Australia’s history and culture influence collective impact initiatives and create momentum for collaborative work that is more equitable and inclusive.

10. How Field Catalysts Accelerate Collective Impact

by Sylvia Cheuy, Mark Cabaj, and Liz Weaver

A look at how the Tamarack Institute united the efforts of local collective impact initiatives across Canada to accelerate systems change in support of a living wage.

11. How Funders of Collective Impact Initiatives Can Build Trust

by Victor Tavarez, John Harper, and Fay Hanleybrown.

Four ways funders of collective impact efforts can help foster trust to strengthen collaboration and achieve greater impact.

Read the article or listen to a podcast with the authors.

12. Embracing Collective Impact at United Way

A roundtable discussion with Bill Crim, Ayeola Fortune, Regina Greer, and Jill Pereira.

Four leaders of United Ways across the United States discuss shifting their roles from funders to true partners in collective impact efforts.

Read an excerpt, a full transcript, or listen as a podcast.

13. The Relational Work of Systems Change

by Katherine Milligan, Juanita Zerda, and John Kania

Collective impact efforts must prioritize working together in more relational ways to find systemic solutions to social problems.

14. Working in Partnership With Opportunity Youth

by Monique Miles and Lili Allen

Leaders of the Aspen Institute Forum for Community Solutions’ Opportunity Youth Forum share lessons from a decade of work achieving better outcomes for young people.

15. The Leading Edge of Collective Impact: Designing a Just and Fair Nation for All

by Michael McAfee

Corporate, government, and civil society leaders can use the collective impact approach to address structural racism, restore communities, and design a multiracial democracy.

16. A Learning Agenda for Collective Impact

by Jennifer Splansky Juster and Cindy Santos

Collective impact initiatives have contributed to systems changes and improved the lives of many living in our communities. In the next decade, they must focus on equity, shifting imbalances of power, sustainability, and greater collaboration across initiatives to achieve even more lasting social change.



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