As our 25th anniversary approaches, Living Cities' has had an opportunity to reflect on the fact that our work in cities across the country has always been made possible by passionate, disruptive leaders. These bold leaders represent a diversity of sectors, roles and experiences. What they share is their unrestrained imagination and courage, as well as a deep-seated impatience with the status quo.
If we truly want to achieve dramatically better results for low-income people, especially people of color, faster, then the changes we need to see in cities won’t happen by luck or chance. Lasting change requires actively breaking down barriers that perpetuate racial disparities, fighting for greater economic opportunity for marginalized groups, and taking risks to transform communities. It’s leaders at the local and national level who are on the front-lines of this work, and they are mobilizing underrepresented voices to push for a more equitable future.
Wherever you are, whatever your role, the mantle of leadership extends to you.
But we need more. We realize that not only is identifying, cultivating and supporting impactful leaders pivotal for achieving our own ambitious goals, it is essential for the social change field as a whole. And the complexity and urgency of today’s challenges means that, more than ever, leaders must be capable of effectively inspiring, engaging and collaborating with others to get to better outcomes.
That’s why we’re excited to announce our first update to our #HereAndNow Toolbox since its initial debut back in March. In response to the need we’ve seen in the field, this re-launch includes a suite of resources and strategies that support collaborative leadership skills. In the hands of community leaders, heads of foundations and everyone in between, we’ve seen that these tools can empower individuals to assume formal and informal authority to achieve greater equity in their cities.
Wherever you are, whatever your role, the mantle of leadership extends to you. We encourage you to explore the toolkit and discover resources that can help you develop your own leadership capacity.
Determine what works and why.
This workbook was designed to be used throughout the course of a social impact program. It offers a comprehensive way for leaders from foundations, nonprofits, or social enterprises to ensure that their efforts are having maximum impact.
Build a learning culture.
Making mistakes is inevitable, but acknowledging and learning from those mistakes can produce greater innovation and better outcomes in the future. This tool offers simple, practicable strategies for building an organizational learning culture.
Create pathways for developing leadership.
Many nonprofits lack formal systems for fostering and cultivating future leaders. This brief survey prompts users to critically assess how their organization currently approaches leadership development and succession planning, and helps to jump-start a conversation about where gaps exist. Upon completion, participants also receive a report showing where they stand in relation to other organizations.
Become a leader in your own neighborhood.
Ioby promotes meaningful change one block at a time by empowering citizen leaders to bring great ideas to life in their neighborhoods. Ioby connects individuals with the money, technical assistance, training, and one-on-one support that they need to see their projects thrive.
Users can submit ideas, or browse nearby projects for opportunities to support causes that they care about.
Lead through collaboration.
Driving social change is too big a task for any one individual to accomplish alone. This tool introduces the principles of facilitative leadership, an emerging framework that emphasizes collaboration in pursuit of shared goals. It calls for leaders who can engage and inspire others, and take full advantage of everyone’s unique skills and perspectives.
For those interested in learning more and honing these leadership skills, the Interaction Institute for Social Change offers a two-day workshop for practitioners.