Rich Harwood in Stanford Social Innovation Review about Collective Impact

Roundtable on Community Engagement and Collective Impact
By Melody Barnes, Paul Born, Richard Harwood, Steve Savner, Stacey Stewart, & Martin Zanghi
August 17, 2014


Collective impact efforts are often discussed in terms of organizations or sectors, such as business, nonprofit, government, and philanthropy. What is often left out of the discussion is the community itself, even though it is a critical factor in the long-term success of collective impact initiatives. The community includes the individuals, families, networks, and organizations who will be affected by the initiative and who participate in it, but who are not usually considered to have active leadership roles in creating community solutions. It includes, for example, people directly affected by the problem, as well as social service organizations that may not be initially represented on steering committees or working groups.

To advance the conversation about how to engage the community in collective impact, the Aspen Institute Forum for Community Solutions gathered scholars and practitioners for an honest discussion. In this roundtable, the participants discuss why it is important to involve the community actively, how it can be done within a collective impact initiative, and the challenges and pitfalls of engaging the community.

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