Collective Impact models can make a difference


Blog by Kristin Jenkins, President, DFW Hospital Council Foundation

For years, communities have identified the pressing health needs of citizens through evaluation and assessment. In North Texas, common needs include behavioral health treatment, access to care, high diabetes prevalence and infant mortality.

All of these needs are addressed by many sponsored programs that can demonstrate improvement in the lives of participants. But are these programs enough? Alone, can they really move the needle on complex social and health issues? Is there a better way?

Research indicates one of the most effective ways to improve complex social issues is through “Collective Impact” models. These models require communities to adopt common agendas, shared measurements, reinforcing activities, communications and a backbone entity for coordination. Collective Impact increases alignment between members of the community. It can also inspire residents to reach a common goal.

The Collective Impact model creates a blueprint for everyone in the community. Such a discipline involves prioritizing community needs above the sole interest of individuals or singular organizations. It requires a commitment to support partner organizations with areas of expertise perhaps different from your own.

Effective Collective Impact activities require many inputs. The key factor is an influential “champion” who can keep the team together during the early stages of the initiative. These champions can encourage continued involvement and adjust course as necessary. Quite simply, they are the leaders, usually well known within the community, ensuring sustainability through the most difficult challenges.

The DFW Hospital Council Foundation supports the use of Collective Impact models to address complex health problems in North Texas. We also support the valiant efforts of individuals and singular organizations who directly improve the community through their missions and hard work. They are necessary to improve our quality of life.

If you are interested in learning more about Collective Impact, please contact us at the Foundation and we will be glad to discuss the topic in a venue of your choosing.