Giving Compass’ Take:
• FSG profiles the Staten Island Foundation, which has created an early childhood initiative with equity as a focus and a goal of solving core issues through close community engagement.
• Among the tactics this foundation found useful is to make sure there’s room for all perspectives and to encourage a healthy dialogue for systems change. Are we doing enough of that in other sectors?
As those who have tried to do it before know, convening members of the community around a common issue can be difficult. But when you are able to successfully convene actors around a shared vision, there is a sense of hope that is contagious.
The Staten Island Foundation, which first began working with FSG on Tackling Youth Substance Abuse in 2011, partnered with FSG this year to create the Staten Island Alliance for North Shore Children and Families, an early childhood initiative to improve wellbeing for children from birth to 8 years old.
FSG supported The Staten Island Foundation in engaging a diverse group of cross-sector stakeholders to develop a common agenda for change, including a guiding vision, equity principles, and preliminary indicators and outcomes (e.g., family engagement, academic success, school readiness, and child health). The initiative’s steering committee worked to ensure that equity stood at the core of this initiative: members developed strategies to intentionally confront systemic barriers to opportunity. As a first step, this included disaggregating data by race, ethnicity, and geography, and inquiring as a group about the disparities that existed.
Impact Philanthropy is a complex topic, and others found these selections from the Impact Giving archive from Giving Compass to be good resources.
To facilitate conversations to bring people together around a shared vision, we recommend:
- Go beyond the “usual suspects” to include a diverse range of perspectives
- Facilitate thoughtfully crafted conversations to help participants build to collective understanding of the systemic issues that are at play
- Create space for deeper dialogue and personal stories, which can build a shared emotional connection toward a common goal; be sure to seek out trusted community partners to help create those conditions
Read the full article about The Staten Island Foundation by David Garfunkel at FSG.
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