Working Together to Tackle Community Issues

Continuing on the theme of thanksgiving and collaboration from my last blog, I want to share an update about our Community Collaborative Initiative, which is driven by more than 500 agency, government, business, and community leaders and volunteers and is the foundation of the work we do here at Community Partnership.

Yesterday we held a press conference to announce the Child Abuse and Neglect (CAN) Collaborative and it’s six priorities to the community. This is extremely important and timely as our child abuse and neglect rates have risen dramatically over time and we’ve come together to say that this is simply unacceptable.  You can read more about this in our holiday e-newsletter dated 12/20/2013 or on our website.  CAN is one of two new Collaboratives developed this year to address significant issues identified by our community.  In addition, the Impacting Poverty Collaborative, which began meeting just a few months ago, was developed to bring people and organizations together to establish a long term plan to reduce poverty.  An exciting new concept we are integrating into the Impacting Poverty Collaborative is called Collective Impact.  While it is new to our community, it has been used successfully in other communities across the country and the world for the past few years.  Collective Impact requires setting aside individual agendas to create and agree to a common agenda for solving complex social problems.  This is exactly what the Collaboratives are all about so we are thrilled to introduce this model and see where it takes us!  For more information and case studies about collective impact, visit at this link  Or if you have questions or want to be involved, contact our resident expert Trent Sims at 888-2020 or via email at  Trent is passionate about the Collaboratives and the collective impact model and would welcome a great conversation about either!

Along with the CAN and Impacting Poverty Collaboratives, we have five others that have been working hard to make positive change for years.  Leading the Community Collaborative Initiative is the Council of Collaboratives, which provides oversight and networking opportunities as well as acts as the liaison between the Collaboratives and the Community Partnership Board of Directors.  Other Collaboratives include Environmental, Early Care and Education, Healthy Community, and Housing.   All work together to decrease barriers, reduce duplication and develop partnerships that meet the needs of residents in the communities we serve. Together they achieve outcomes that wouldn’t be possible through just one organization or group and a shining example of this is the Springfield Affordable Housing Center.  The idea of a one stop housing center was identified more than 20 years ago and that vision finally became a reality this year  through the efforts of the Housing Collaborative and others committed to affordable housing and homeless prevention efforts.

As we head into this holiday season,  I am thankful for all of the community leaders and volunteers who have shared their time and expertise through the Collaboratives this year. You are truly making a difference and your efforts are key to improving quality of life for ALL residents—young children, teens and young adults, parents, seniors, veterans and families in our community!