How We Work
Click on a step to read more about our process:
With people – it is through connection with individuals, groups, and communities that we can affect positive change in our own backyard and around the world.
Meaningful connection is at the heart of our work. We will meet local community members and leaders, nonprofit organizations, academic experts, and other social change stakeholders in our communities – listening to their experiences, exchanging ideas, and learning from one another’s expertise.
These connections take many forms! As our foundation grows, more and more agents of change are reaching out to us. We welcome new relationships, and encourage people to contact us. As we learn more about our communities, we also reach out directly to people and programs we feel align with our mission and are well positioned for growth. This can come from our own research, or from recommendations given to us by colleagues and friends.
About communities and best practices – we strive to more deeply understand the evolving contexts in which communities live and grow, and are committed to the ongoing learning of community driven practice and emerging research.
About Communities: We will continually strive to more deeply understand the various cultural, political, economic, social, and environmental factors that affect the communities and their experience of the social problem.
What does this look like?
o First and foremost, learning starts with listening to the community. By hearing the needs and strengths as identified by the community itself, we can begin our learning from a place grounded in the priorities of those being directly impacted by services or programs. Our team will conduct an Assets and Needs Assessment, consisting of interviews, focus groups, community meetings, and reviews of existing data and research. The assessment will be catered to each individual project. Many programs and communities already have these assessments in place – in which case we will review the existing documents and use the findings to guide our work.
o Researching contextual factors. Understanding the history of a community, the political influences, socioeconomic factors, and environmental situation is crucial to informing programs and projects on any level. To best understand these ever-evolving contexts, will use research through relevant literature, consult academic experts, and support with our data gathered through community assessments.
About Best Practices: It is important that our work is grounded in research and best practice. This includes both in service delivery, and in frameworks of collaboration – how to engage various stakeholders and community members in affecting social change around particular causes. Through our learning process we will learn about the current theories and best practices used to address each social problem within our scope of work. We seek to answer many questions – what practices are most widely used? What innovative practices are being implemented? What new research is emerging on the subject? We want to hear from current programs – what have they done? What have they learned in the process? What would they change?
Our role in the process. How do we fit in to the network of stakeholders seeking to address the social issue? In what ways can we bring the most value, and have the deepest impact?
We function as a piece of a larger puzzle – there are many programs and communities that are collaborating to address social needs all around the world. It is our job to first listen and learn, and then determine how best we fit into the picture. During this step, we will determine how our expertise, resources, and connections can facilitate further impact.
Our support can come in many forms:
1. Financial donation
a. Once we determine that the program is aligned with the goals and values of our foundation, we can explore a financial donation. We will work closely with program leaders to determine how the funds will be used, and will remain in close contact through the implementation stage.
2. Consultation, lending expertise
a. Our team is hands on – we want to be involved on various levels program planning, implementation, and evaluation. Our team can be available to lend expertise in the form of consultation or ongoing partnership.
3. Networking and promoting
a. Our foundation will not be a fit for every program. However, that does not mean we cannot help – and we always want to hear about programs doing impactful work in the world. Once we learn about a program, we can make connections with others that may be better suited to provide financial support or expertise, and will be glad to share your work with our network!
As agents of change, as a foundation, and as a collaborative network.
With a clear set of goals and strong relationships with our partners, we will be positioned for deeper and more expansive impact - locally, nationally, and worldwide. We will grow alongside communities – making new connections, strengthening relationships, and learning together. As we fine tune our focus, projects, and expertise, we will continue to deepen the impact of our work, and expand to more communities, affecting positive change on a larger scale.