Blog Post by Brittany Ramos DeBarros & Jeff Raderstrong, Jun 29, 2016 Collective Impact #ToolBox: Collective Impact Element Dashboard 

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. As the field and theory of collective impact has evolved, it has been perceived by many as either too esoteric and theoretical, or just a new name for what many felt they were already doing, or a strange mix of both! Collectiv...

Blog Post by Kseniya Benderskaya, Apr 29, 2016 Collective Impact #ToolBox: Hiring Initiative Directors 

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. Building a collaboration is much like raising a child - the process is exciting, complicated, messy and requires constant support and care. One of the key lessons we learned in implementation of the Working Cities Challenge, a...

Blog Post by Brittany Ramos DeBarros, Mar 30, 2016 Collective Impact #ToolBox: Partnership Leaders Explain Their Work 

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 i...

Blog Post by Brittany Ramos DeBarros, May 31, 2016 Collective Impact #Toolbox: Practitioner Toolkits 

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. Our partners are always looking for tools and resources that allow them to work better and faster. Learning from others, and not always reinventing the wheel, is a key element of a new urban practice after all. Yet, we constan...

Blog Post by Brittany Ramos DeBarros, Aug 31, 2016 Collective Impact #Toolbox: Data Inventory 

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. Using data to track progress toward your [[definition “shared result” “A collectively and clearly defined result or goal that all partners in a collective impact initiative agree to hold themselves accountabl...

Blog Post by Brittany Ramos DeBarros, Feb 26, 2016 Collective Impact #ToolBox: Icebreakers 

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. I came to Living Cities with a business and military background and let me tell you, I saw meeting icebreakers as silly and touchy-feely. In hindsight, I had a lot to learn about facilitation! Time is precious and limited, but...

Blog Post by Brittany Ramos DeBarros, Jul 29, 2016 Collective Impact #Toolbox: After Action Reviews 

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. Consistent reflection, whether by individuals or teams, is an important ingredient for growth and improvement. Individual reflection rarely requires a meeting or a process. Many of us are constantly reflecting on our intention...

Blog Post by Brittany Ramos DeBarros, Jan 28, 2016 Collective Impact #ToolBox: Free Collaboration Tools 

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. Managing a network of partners often comes with both technical and adaptive challenges to address. Cross-sector partnerships seeking to tackle complex problems must be willing to change the way they work together to get their ...

Blog Post by Juan Sebastian Arias & Jeff Raderstrong, Mar 24, 2015 Amplifying the Voice of Community in Collective Impact 

Like others, Living Cities believes that genuine collective impact requires [[definition “community members” “Community members is a general term referring to the individuals that an initiative seeks to help. The specific segments of the community will need to be defined given the local context of the initiative. For example, if your initiative is focused on improving student ...

Blog Post by Tynesia Boyea-Robinson & Jeff Raderstrong, Mar 21, 2016 What Does It Take To Achieve Collective Impact? (March Edition) 

The Collective Impact team at Living Cities is serious about learning in public. We set aside time intentionally every month–sometimes multiple times a month–to reflect on what’s happening in our collective impact portfolio and figure out how we can do our work better. We are starting a new series to share with you the insights, connections, and feedback that surface in these sessio...

Blog Post by Tynesia Boyea-Robinson & Jeff Raderstrong, May 26, 2016 What Does It Take To Achieve Collective Impact? (May Edition) 

The Collective Impact team at Living Cities is serious about learning in public. We set aside time intentionally every month–sometimes multiple times a month–to reflect on what’s happening in our collective impact portfolio and figure out how we can do our work better. This is the second blog in a periodic series to share with you the insights, connections, and feedback that surface in these se...

Blog Post by Tynesia Boyea-Robinson, Jun 1, 2016 Getting Back to the Purpose of Collective Impact 

This post originally appeared on the Collective Impact Forum on 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 rec...

Blog Post by Jeff Edmondson & Ben Hecht, Sep 9, 2014 Defining Quality Collective Impact 

This article originally appeared in the Stanford Social Innovation Review Introduction: Collective impact is at a strategic inflection point. After almost three years of extraordinary hype, investors are wondering what this concept really means when they receive proposals that simply replace the term “collaboration” with “collective impact.” Researchers are perplexed by so-called new ways of ...

Blog Post by Tynesia Boyea-Robinson, Dec 1, 2014 What Makes Collective Impact a Powerful tool for Systems Change? 

We can all acknowledge that there’s a lot of hype around collective impact right now. The social sector (Living Cities included) has swarmed toward this framework as the tool needed to finally solve the complex and seemingly intractable problems facing low-income communities and communities of color. Yet even with so many change agents corralling around the approach, many are still unclear as...

Blog Post by Juan Sebastian Arias & Carly Rospert, Dec 2, 2014 5 Ways Collective Impact Partnerships Can Advance Equity 

Earlier this year, we shared insights from an ongoing conversation among select cradle-to-career partnerships about how to leverage collective impact efforts to address disparities across different races, classes and cultures. Since then we’ve continued the conversation through monthly calls and in-person convenings with this group of partnerships. While we’re still learning about the many dif...

Blog Post by Dan Duncan, Sep 1, 2015 Effective Collective Impact Starts with a Clear, Common Purpose  

This is the fourth and final blog in my series on the four components of effective collective impact. The four components are: Community engagement and co-production Relationships and trust Results and accountability; and A clear, common purpose. The fourth component for effective collective impact is A Clear, Common Purpose. According to John Kania and Mark Kramer in their 2011 article...

Blog Post by Junious Williams & Sarah Marxer , Apr 23, 2015 From Theory to Practice: Three Lessons on Equity and Collective Impact 

This is the second of a two-part series on insights about equity in collective impact emerging from Urban Strategies Council’s work in Oakland, CA, exploring how the process of working together with an explicit equity agenda across communities and systems can strengthen very local, grassroots efforts in specific ethnic communities and, simultaneously, build system and community-wide capacity to...

Blog Post by Jeff Raderstrong, Jun 16, 2016 Using Data for Collective Impact Step Two: Find the Data 

We’ve launched our Data and Collective Impact series to help leaders better use data to achieve a shared result. The series outlines the five steps to using data for collective impact we’ve seen in our work. The first step was Agree on the Data and this post digs deeper on the second: Find the Data. In this and subsequent posts, you’ll find stories to illustrate lessons learned on using data, a...

Blog Post by Jeff Raderstrong, Mar 17, 2015 Why Involve Community in Collective Impact at all?  

The recent surge of interest and resources around collective impact principles has highlighted an important concern and challenge for many practitioners: given the often [[definition “grasstops” “Community members who are in formal positions of power or influence. These formal positions can include business leaders, government leaders or nonprofit leaders.”]], institutio...

Blog Post by Tynesia Boyea-Robinson, Mar 23, 2015 In a Pickle: How to Strengthen Your Capacity for Collective Impact 

If I told you that the key to building your capacity to apply the principles of collective impact is a pickle, you might think I’m being a little silly. But it’s true! To effectively advance collective impact efforts, you need support on multiple dimensions: The process for its effective implementation; The content related to the problem you’re trying to solve; And the leadership needed t...

Resource by Juan Sebastian Arias & Brittany Ramos DeBarros, May 1, 2015 Webinar: Racial Equity and Community Engagement in Collective Impact 

This webinar was part of Living Cities' Community Engagement in Collective Impact E-course, but was open to those not taking the full course as well. Overview How do you apply a racial equity lens to working with communities in collective impact? Tackling racial inequalities head on is critical to dramatically improving results for low-income people. As a starting point, equitable collabo...

Resource by Brittany Ramos DeBarros & Jeff Raderstrong, Apr 7, 2015 Week 4: Applying Business Concepts to Community Engagement 

Time: ~ 30 minutes of reading; ~2 hours of group time This is the fourth of five modules to help collective impact initiatives better understand why and how to work with community members. While the course can be taken as an individual, it is recommended that participants discuss the modules in a group, with other members of their collective impact initiative. We recommend setting aside a few ...

Resource by Elizabeth Vargas & Nadia Owusu, Aug 13, 2015 The City Accelerator Guide Report on Analytics, Impact and Learning 

Living Cities is committed to making our learning open and accessible to others in real-time, in order to deepen and accelerate promising solutions to social problems. We refer to this practice as “open-sourcing social change.” Learn More about Open-Sourcing Social Change. As part of that commitment, our knowledge and communications strategies focus on creating and disseminating ...

Person Living Cities Lauren Greenawalt 

Lauren teaches civics at local public schools, tutors at the county prison and helps run government simulation conferences for high school students with Harvard Model Congress. Prior to Harvard, Lauren served as an AmeriCorps member with City Year, Washington D.C. and a team leader with City Year, Los Angeles. She also interned at the National League of Cities.

Our Work Cross-Sector Partnerships 

Strong cross-sector partnerships are core to many of the initiatives we support to build a new urban practice that achieves dramatically better results for low-income people, faster. In fact, Living Cities supports over 70 different collective impact partnerships in cities across the country. While partnerships come in many shapes and sizes, we believe that collective impact presents one of t...

About Us Press  

Who We Are Founded in 1991, Living Cities harnesses the collective power of 22 of the world’s largest foundations and financial institutions to build a new type of urban practice. Together, we are working with cross-sector leaders in cities to develop and scale new approaches to dramatically improve the economic well-being of low-income people. Our investments, research, networks and conv...

About Us Our Members 

One of Living Cities’ unique strengths is the broad participation by our Board of Directors and staff from our member institutions in shaping and advancing our work. We innovate, invest and lead by blending and deploying the collective financial resources, knowledge, and experience of our members. Our member institutions are 18 of the world’s largest foundations and financial institutions: T...

Person Impact America Fund Kesha Cash 

In 2016, Stanford Graduate School of Business published a case study on IAF to teach students about the structure of an impact venture fund, and how to analyze the social and economic impact of high-growth technology investments. Kesha’s personal mission is to transform economic livelihoods of marginalized communities in America. A Columbia MBA and applied mathematics student from UC Berkeley,...

Person Design Impact Kate Hanisian 

Her work with Design Impact began in 2009 while living and working in a rural south Indian village. Since then she has grown the organization from a small idea to a full-fledged public interest design firm that uses innovative approaches to address pressing community needs. She has provided consultation and partnership to various organizations such as the Annie E. Casey Foundation, Aspen Inst...

Person Design Impact Kate Hanisian 

Her work with Design Impact began in 2009 while living and working in a rural south Indian village. Since then she has grown the organization from a small idea to a full-fledged public interest design firm that uses innovative approaches to address pressing community needs. She has provided consultation and partnership to various organizations such as the Annie E. Casey Foundation, Aspen Inst...

Resource by Brittany Ramos DeBarros, Nov 10, 2015 Wedding Seating Chart Exercise 

When building and maintaining cross-sector partnerships, it can be difficult to understand who should be at the table and how they should be involved. Building a structure that makes sense for you and your partners can be done, but it does take time, thought and planning. We’ve found a useful metaphor to think about this work that many people can relate to: a wedding. To learn more about the ...

About Us Annual Reports 

Founded in 1991, Living Cities harnesses the collective power of 22 of the world’s largest foundations and financial institutions to build a new type of urban practice. Together, we are working with cross-sector leaders in cities to develop and scale new approaches to dramatically improve the economic well-being of low-income people. Our investments, research, networks, and convenings catalyze ...

Our Work Our Grantmaking 

We innovate, invest and lead by blending and deploying the collective financial resources, knowledge, and experience of our members. Through a mix of grants and impact investments, we fund partners on the ground in cities. And, we think of these grantees as “innovation partners” in advancing our mission. This approach helps us learn what it takes to apply a new urban practice and im...

Our Work Prepare 

Ensuring that low-income people have access to quality education and training opportunities that allow them to access employment with family sustaining wages, benefits, and ladders of growth is an important starting point for this work. We support local efforts that bring together leaders from the education system, workforce training providers, and local employers. Most recently, we worked alo...

About Us Our Innovation Partners 

Our Innovation Partners[[definition “The Integration Initiative” “Supporting cities that are reshaping programs, policies, and resource allocation to achieve enduring change that benefits low-income people.”]] Baltimore: The Baltimore Integration Partnership Detroit: The Detroit Corridor Initiative Newark: The Strong Healthy Communities Initiative Minneapolis-St. Paul: ...

Resource Aug 21, 2015 Living Cities Catalyst Fund Annual Report July 2013-June 2014 

It is our pleasure to report to you on the sixth year of operations for the Living Cities Catalyst Fund. As of June 30, 2014, the Fund had commitments of $34.6 million from ten investors. Since inception, our total cumulative lending of $40.2 million has sparked initiatives with total funding of over $825 million. In recognition of our work and our engagement with the social impact field, we a...

Person Living Cities Ben Hecht 

Under Ben’s leadership, Living Cities has established a new data driven model of social justice that brings together local business, government, philanthropic and community leaders to disrupt long-obsolete systems and close the racial gaps in income and wealth that have been growing for more than forty years. The organization’s $40 million loan fund has been selected as one of the world’s top 5...

Our Work Pay for Success 

We know that there is simply not enough government or philanthropic money to address America’s growing social needs. We must use private capital to address today’s complex problems. But to attract that capital, there need to be financing vehicles that offer a rate of return commensurate with level of risk of the investment – or at least closer to market rate than the concessionary rates ...

Our Work Capital Innovation 

Grants and tax dollars alone have historically not been enough to address our most challenging problems. To achieve the scale of resources needed to drive meaningful change, we need to creatively blend private capital with public and philanthropic resources. To better meet the needs of cities and improve the lives of low-income people, we are harnessing capital as a powerful tool. Capital inno...

About Us Our History 

Living Cities (formerly the National Community Development Initiative) was founded in 1991 with an initial focus of providing capital to and building capacity of local community development corporations (CDCs). This support was intended to expand and accelerate the work of CDCs so that they could genuinely transform the trajectory of declining neighborhoods by expanding and accelerating the pro...