“Large-scale social change requires broad cross-sector coordination, yet the social sector remains focused on the isolated intervention of individual organizations.”
Collective Impact, by John Kania and Mark Kramer, Stanford Social Innovation Review, Winter 2011
A Cluster is Born!
On June 27, 2014, twelve organizations came together at the Alice Ferguson Foundation’s Potomac Watershed Study Center in Accokeek, Maryland for a 3-day intensive retreat on Growing Livable Communities facilitated by Livability Project.
All twelve groups are generally aligned around the common missions of accelerating sustainable solutions, building local economies and creating more community resilience.
Information about each organization and how they might work together were mapped out at the workshop. This included commonalities, patterns, strengths, challenge areas and programs.
What became clear was that while each organization’s work at the local level is critical for community engagement and action, the real power and potential to scale our collective work lies in the opportunity to work both locally and regionally using the Collective Impact model.
Heavy Lifting Alone
A pattern identified at the workshop, common to all the organizations, was that each was doing all the "heavy lifting" alone -- organizational development, capacity building, fundraising, program development and marketing.
We quickly saw the potential time and money savings if the groups both contributed and received skills and experience from each other.
The result of the Collective Impact approach -- impact alignment, backbone support, sharing of knowledge and experience -- will be to save time and money. Additionally, we have started to build a cohesive ecosystem to support local leaders and move the sustainability needle.
In the end, the goal of using the Collective Impact model to build the Mid-Atlantic Sustainability Cluster is to efficiently:
May the force be with us!
Our whole hearted gratitude goes out to the sponsors and partners who housed us, fed us and gave us support to do this important work for our communities.
Please support them as businesses and organizations. Remember, we are a system of mutual support.