The Collective Impact #ToolBox is a series of blogs featuring simple, practical tools that members of cross-sector partnerships can use to support their day to day work.
We have heard from our sites, partners, and the collective impact field at large that the most useful resources are practical insights into real collective impact work happening on the ground in places. We see an opportunity in our role as an intermediary and strategic partner to accelerate results by “open sourcing social change,” or lifting up the examples we see across the country that can accelerate learning.
We are constantly looking to our partners and grantees for lessons and practices to share with the collective impact field more broadly. One such partner is the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston. Their Working Cities Challenge is an initiative to improve the lives of low-income people in smaller post-industrial cities across Massachusetts by fostering collaborative leadership, community engagement, and data-informed decision making, all through the lens of changing systems. At a recent Working Cities Challenge Funders’ Plenary, four of the Working Cities Challenge teams succinctly shared examples of their work in four areas: long-term visions and goals for their cities; the outcomes their partnerships have prioritized in an effort to achieve those goals; the strategies they selected to move the needle on those outcomes; and the data and early results behind those strategies. They also shared challenges and opportunities they have encountered in their work thus far.
Below you can find links to the resource pages containing the 10-15 minute video and slide presentations from leaders of each partnership, as well as short descriptions of their work to help you choose which are most relevant to your work!
Lawrence received a $700,000 three-year implementation award for the Lawrence Working Families Initiative, which is creating a Family Resource Center designed to increase parent income by 15 percent in the Lawrence Public School System over a 10 year period. The Center is also providing families with access to resources and opportunities that facilitate economic security and progress over the next ten years. Additional services will include specialized adult education and certificate training, scholarships, employer internships, financial coaching, and expanded access to child care and healthcare. The initiative will also dramatically increase parent engagement in the schools.
Fitchburg received a $400,000 three-year implementation award for its eCarenomics Initiative, now referred to as “Re-Imagine North of Main,” an effort that is developing a “report card” analyzing six key indicators: health, education, public safety, economic development and entrepreneurship, housing, and community engagement. The initiative seeks to transform the North of Main neighborhood in Fitchburg into a place where residents choose to live, work, and invest over the next ten years by identifying and supporting efforts that will aid in overall neighborhood improvement.
Holyoke received a $250,000 three-year implementation award for its SPARK (Stimulating Potential, Accessing Resource Knowledge) Initiative. The SPARK Initiative will develop a system that supports immigrant entrepreneurs by coordinating a pipeline for entrepreneurs and streamlining an existing “grab bag” of economic development services. The initiative seeks to raise the percentage of Latino-owned businesses from its current 9 percent share to at least 25 percent in 10 years.
Chelsea received a $225,000 three-year implementation award for its initiative, which seeks to reduce poverty and mobility rates by 30 percent in the Shurtleff-Bellingham neighborhood. The goal of the initiative is to transform from a struggling high-crime community to a place where residents feel safe. Specifically they are aiming for a 30% improvement in resident safety perception, and 30% drop in crime rates. Among other activities, Chelsea is focusing on addressing substance abuse and trauma, increasing the social and civic capital of disengaged populations, improving the physical environment, and connecting youth to opportunity.