A Collective impact Approach
We saw how Strive used a collective impact approach improve student achievement in Cincinnati despite the recession and budget cuts. We’re also watching Strive replicate the model in Portland, Oregon at All Hands Raised. But how can smaller communities use a collective impact approach to achieve similar results? Community partners in Lane County are proving that a collective impact approach works in the Promise Neighborhoods, two local areas that were identified as high needs.
With the support of Oregon Campus Compact and the local schools, University of Oregon’s Service-Learning Program and United Way of Lane County facilitate student volunteers in an after-school program. “The Fairfield After School Program is about more than just giving kids something to do after school. It is about developing positive relationships between UO and Fairfield students, supporting the students and staff of Fairfield, and giving the UO students the opportunity to be involved in the local community,” says AmeriCorps VISTA Member Julia Sherman.
On April 25, 2013, Deanna Chappell Belcher, University of Oregon Service-Learning Program Director, Holly Mar Conte, United Way of Lane County Associate Director for Education, and VISTA member Julia Sherman presented at the Continuums of Service Conference. Below is an outline of the collective impact approach at work in the Promise Neighborhoods.
The partners have focused on two Promise Neighborhoods in Lane County, with the option of scaling up efforts in the future. In the beginning, the partners established several outcomes for the beneficiaries of the program, the college student volunteers and elementary school students.
Shared Measurement Systems
Shared measurement systems are not only important for communication between partners, but also in order to accurately measure impact. The partners are working with University of Oregon PhD students to develop formative and summative evaluation methods.
Mutually Reinforcing Activities
Everyone involved in the program is working toward the common agenda and goals. The partners each have different roles; they are not unnecessarily duplicating work. For example, The United Way of Lane County focuses on support, while the University of Oregon focuses on outreach to college students.
Through a variety of methods, all partners know what is happening in the program. Julia Sherman, AmeriCorps VISTA Member, checks in regularly at the University of Oregon, United Way, and the school site. Additionally, the partners meet regularly with each other and, each term, they meet with the school’s principal.
Backbone Support Organizations
Julia Sherman, an AmeriCorps VISTA Member from Oregon Campus Compact, serves as the backbone support to the organizations. The program functions because of her continuous communication and meetings between partners. She organizes the logistics of the program, schedules meetings, and much more.
Five Elements of Collective Impact
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