You want a new way of seeing complex problems.
You want system-level improvements.
You want community-led transformation.
We have the tools to help.
Many communities need help as they seek to improve quality of life for all their residents. The Collective Impact approach, and its five conditions, is the most powerful process to come along in our generation for bringing about large-scale community change. We at CTS have taken this powerful approach and applied it to an entire city, the first application of its kind in the United States. We believe communities have the assets they need for change and that the future will be marked by communities learning how to leverage their assets to improve quality of life for all its citizens. This is the passion of every sector of a community. We’ve committed our careers to help make this happen.
About Collective Impact
Some concepts are so simple you wonder why they weren’t conceived previously. Such is the concept of Collective Impact. Coined by John Kania and Mark Kramer in an article in Stanford Innovation Review in 2011, this concept has seismically expanded throughout the world. From The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to United Ways across the US, philanthropy is looking to fund collective impact initiatives. As Kania and Kramer assert, substantially better progress could be made in alleviating many of our most serious and complex social problems regarding housing, jobs, education, hunger, family services, health, and the like when nonprofits, businesses, healthcare, philanthropy, governments, and the public put service to the community first and collaborate to create Collective Impact.
At CTS we have added a sixth condition—viewing the community as a system, where everything that happens affects everything else. We also recognize the power of the faith communities in a given community and have work deeply with them as key to success in city-wide collective impact.
A city-wide collective impact at its best is about rediscovering community.
The writers of the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution of the United States knew that the intentional creation of community is essential to a free, open, and “happy” society of individuals. “All (people) . . . are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”
In 1776, the definition of happiness carried a different meaning than it does today. The difference is critical. US Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy noted that in modern times there is an almost purely hedonistic component to the definition of happiness, while to the framers of the Declaration of Independence “happiness meant that feeling of self-worth and dignity you acquire by contributing to your community and to its civic life.” In the context of the Declaration of Independence, happiness is about an individual’s contribution to society rather than simple pursuits of self-gratification. Kennedy’s insight provides an essential truth about what makes our lives meaningful.
At its best a city-wide collective impact initiative is about rediscovering community. Underlying the desire to help those without a home or on the brink of losing their home is the goal of creating a city where all citizens contribute to making the city highly livable.