We'll start this section with some definitions that will help ground the ideas we are trying to get across.
Next, we'll look at key partners in community efforts, and then, we will describe the model of change that is the focus of this section. People may also consider themselves part of a community with others who have had similar experiences. Collaborative partnerships are alliances that are used to improve the health of a community. Community capacity refers to the ability of community members to make a difference over time and across different issues.
For example, if a member of your community is killed by a drunk driver, people might be really angry. Or, if a community that develops a successful collaboration for substance abuse might decide later that rates of childhood immunization aren't high enough in their community, and also work effectively to improve those rates.
Our belief, woven through the next few pages, is that collaborative partnerships are a powerful way to improve our communities.
One reason for this is that issues that matter to local people, such as child health, academic success, or substance abuse, don't fit into neat categories. For example, take the case of a mother and father who both hold down several low-paying jobs. When developing these collaborative partnerships, who should be involved? It's important that the collaboration is as inclusive as possible. The most obvious member in a collaborative effort will be the community or state partnerships themselves -- the groups of people who are working directly to change their communities.
It's important to realize that while these organizations will be part of a larger collaboration with funders and support organizations, they are also collaborative arrangements in their own right.
People from each of these areas will be able to promote child health in important, unique ways.
The second partner in a broad collaborative partnership is support and intermediary organizations. Intermediary organizations can also help assess what the partnerships need and provide them with that support.
Finally, grantmakers and governmental agencies are also important members in these broad collaborative partnerships. However, this important contribution is only one way in which grantmakers and governmental agencies can contribute to a collaborative partnership.
Grantmakers can use requests for proposals (RFPs) as a way to bring groups together around a common purpose. Finally, grantmakers and governmental agencies can also help make outcomes matter by awarding additional funding if groups attain their objectives. With an understanding of all of these parts, let's look at how these partners can work together to improve their communities. With these ideas in mind, let's look at the individual parts of this logic model or theory of action. Within this context, people may come together to identify issues that matter to them, such as drug use, job opportunities, decent housing, or crime, to give just a few examples. Later in the life of the community group, these can serve as benchmarks for detecting whether or not they are getting closer to their goals. Similarly, efforts by a community partnership to take money from law enforcement and put it into substance abuse prevention will probably be opposed by the police and their allies. By community change, we mean developing a new program (or modifying an existing one), bringing about a change in policy, or adjusting a practice related to the group's mission. Our belief is that when these community and system changes occur, they should, taken together, change the environment in which a person behaves.
Improvements in more distant outcomes, such as reducing violence or increasing employment rates and family incomes, are the ultimate goals of collaborative partnerships.
As we discussed earlier in this section, data on community-level indicators can help you determine just how much progress you have made towards your ultimate goals.
It's probably a combination of things -- support at home, a good teacher, and good (or not so good) materials to use. In the last few paragraphs, you have seen what we believe to be a workable model for building healthier communities. For improving the health and development of a community, we have found seven features that seem to be very important in determining whether a community effort fails or succeeds. Having a clear focus -- that is, a targeted mission -- is one of the most factors in whether or not a community group is effective.
A mission statement is your organization's statement of purpose; it tells what the organization is going to do and why. Action planning, as we noted earlier in this section, means identifying specific changes in the community or broader system, and related action steps to bring them about.
When partnerships develop a plan of action, they are consistently more successful in changing their communities. Involving competent, inspired leaders with a clear vision for the organization helps change to occur more rapidly.
The downside of this, of course, is that when such leaders leave an organization, groups accomplishments often suffer.
One thing that is very clear is that there need to be people who act as catalysts--community mobilizers who will really get things going in the community. To know whether a community group's efforts are really making a difference, it is important that the group documents efforts and results. Documentation should occur for intermediate outcomes, such as the community and system changes we discussed earlier.
Good leaders work to attract competent people with skills that complement those of other people in the organization. Outside help, which may take the form of technical assistance, can be a breath of fresh air for your organization.
The goal of technical assistance should always be the same: to build the community's ability to take care of the things that matter to its members.
Finally, grantmakers and governmental agencies can help those they support by clearly stating and rewarding desired results. Throughout this section, we have talked about the three groups who are the important players in collaborative partnerships: local members of state and community partnerships, support organizations, and grantmakers and governmental agencies. The marketing plan should help convince community members that working together to solve public problems should become an important part of their daily lives.
The social marketing campaign should use different methods of communication to reach the greatest number of people.
Partnerships should involve both people who have power and those most affected by the issue. Grantmakers should try to invest in the same place and permit work across the normal boundaries.
Support organizations should develop a model of change (such as the one outlined in this section) to help guide community work. The focus of action planning should be on transforming the environment to make behaviors than promote health and development more likely to occur. By gathering pertinent information about risk and protective factors, partners in the collaborative effort can better focus their efforts on new programs, policies, or practices that will cause positive changes in the environment. Some of the community changes should try to reach the whole community; others should be targeted at people who are at a higher risk. Fund community partnerships long enough to make a difference (for example, for 5 to 10 years).
Offer many opportunities for people involved in community work to meet and learn from each other. Use distance education to give people the opportunity to learn with others doing similar work in different places. Use the Internet to distribute "how-to" information for developing the core competencies of community work. Link newer community partnerships with those more experienced, and connect established leaders with newer generations of leadership.
Leaders of initiatives should work with representatives from support organizations to develop meaningful ways to present and use data on community and system change. Honor organizations and individuals that bring about significant changes in their communities.
Researchers should examine trends in community and system change to identify the factors that might affect community change. Use an annual state-of-the-partnership report to encourage accountability of members of community partnerships. Establish and report on intermediate and more distant outcomes--such as high rates of important community and system changes for community-determined goals.
Make renewal of community investments (for example, the continuation of a grant) conditional on evidence of progress by the group. Develop broad collaborative partnerships among diverse organizations that truly represent the entire community.
Employers throughout our communities should modify their structures to support everyone's involvement in public problem solving. Community partnerships, intermediary and support organizations, and grantmakers and governmental agencies should all act as catalysts for change. Examine whether and how lessening poverty and improving education affect community-level indicators of health and development.


Examine the conditions under which community and system change are associated with improvements in long-term goals. Let people know what works--what are promising practices for building healthier communities. A healthy community is a form of living democracy: people working together to address what matters to them. Building healthier communities blends the local and the universal, the particular and broader contexts.
The work of building healthier communities takes time: our time, that of our children, and that of our children's children. Emerging Action Principles for Designing and Planning Community Change is from Community Science and shares what science and practice have taught us about strengthening community. Licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 United States License.
Page ContentThe Wallace Foundation's mission is to foster improvements in learning and enrichment for disadvantaged children and the vitality of the arts for everyone in the U.S. What this means in practice is that most of our work starts with trying to identify important unanswered questions in our fields of interest by working to understand the context in which our grantees operate. Understanding the Context Although we think of our theory of change as a continuous cycle, it is best understood as starting with the identification of a gap in knowledge significant enough that filling it could lead to promising and powerful change. To qualify as addressing a high-leverage knowledge gap, a Wallace initiative must tackle a problem where solutions are as yet unproven and insights could make a meaningful difference towards achieving the goals of the initiative. Generating Improvements and Insights Generating improvements and insights in areas with high-leverage knowledge gaps typically requires both financing innovative work in the field and evaluating it objectively to see what works, what does not, and why, often along with synthesizing what is already known so that we do not have to reinvent the wheel. Catalyzing Broad Impact Wallace has long worked to share the knowledge gathered from its efforts with policymakers and others who can effect beneficial change. McKinsey consultants Peters & Waterman were the most popular in the 80s and 90s because they co-authored the book In Search of Excellence. In 1958, Ron Lippitt, with his colleagues Jeanne Watson and Bruce Westley, wrote a book called The Dynamics of Planned Change.
The power of McKinsey was that they practiced social science according to professional discipline rather than an academic discipline. An evaluation roadmap is a graphical summary outlining how you plan to evaluate your TJC initiative.
A theory of change model, often referred to as a logic model, is one of the most common tools used to map out your specific communitya€™s approach. It will not only document your theory of change for the TJC initiative but articulate to your TJC partners the rationale for actions or strategies.
Your theory of change model will describe your TJC strategies and activities, and also help identify the data that should be collected by stating what measures will be used for its short- and long-term outcomes.
The flow of the theory of change model begins with identifying the target population and ends with long-term outcomes. Offers a written rationale or a theory for selecting various strategies, programs, or intervention activities to implement the TJC initiative.
Identifies the objective or change you hope will occur by implementing those various strategies, programs, or interventions to the population targeted.
States the strategies, programs, and activities to be implemented (Activities in figure 2).
Identifies the immediate, short-term outcome of the strategies, programs, or intervention activities (Outputs in figure 2).
Identifies the intermediate outcomes of the strategies, programs, or intervention activities (Outcomes in figure 2).
Identifies the final outcomes (long-term outcomes) of the strategies, programs, or intervention activities (Impact in figure 2). Developing a theory of change model is a group activity; it requires input from multiple stakeholders central to your communitya€™s TJC initiative. Enter your email address to subscribe to news updates and receive notifications of new posts by email. We want them to be safe from violence and illness; we want neighborhoods that are alive and that work well.
Our belief is that communities are built when people work together on things that matter to them. Then, we'll look at the advantages of collaborative efforts: why we believe it makes sense for people to work together to solve problems they share. We'll supplement that model with principles and values that we believe should influence how community efforts unfold. We often use this term for people who live in the same area: the same neighborhood, the same city or town, and even the same state or country. For example, we may talk about the business community, the labor community, or the child advocacy community.
Capacity isn't a one time thing; like learning to ride a bike, it's not something that disappears once you've experienced it.
For a few weeks -- or even a few months -- people might work together to stop people from drinking and driving. By translating what they learned while developing the substance abuse coalition (for example, ways to recruit members or to work with the media) they should be able to do a good job and effectively improve the immunization rates. The things that make one issue likely to become a problem usually affect other things as well. They don't have much time for their children, and they may smoke cigarettes to cope with all of their stress.
This means individuals from the different parts of the community for example, representatives from schools, business, and the government. That's because collaborative partnerships link organizations drawn from different parts of the community.
Some local, regional, and statewide organizations can provide technical assistance for community partnerships.
For example, state and county health departments can assist community groups by developing health data systems that provide county-level data (for example, the percentage of children without proper immunizations). That's because foundations and governmental agencies can help create the conditions for community partnerships to be successful.
For example, an understanding of the community context and planning should guide community action, which should affect community and system change, and so on. For example, improvement in more distant outcomes, such as reduced rates of violence, should lead to a renewed cycle of planning and action for these or other issues that matter to members of the community. By the context, we mean people's experiences, their dreams for a better life, and what makes them do what they do. They may then document the health or development of the community with community-level indicators, which are used to measure the extent of problems at the local level.
For example, they can look at the level of violence and see if it has decreased since the partnership has been in existence.
Bringing about these changes is an important step towards achieving your organizational goals. A business might implement its child-friendly practices throughout its operations nationally.
They are aspects of a person's environment or personal features that make it more likely (risk factors) or less likely (protective factors ) that she will develop a given problem.
Our belief is that by reducing the risk factors (and enhancing the protective factors) for the issue you are trying to address, you will affect the bottom line.
Information to see if efforts are working in different areas could even be organized together in an annual community "report card." This could let people throughout the community know how things are going, including information on community-level indicators, important community changes, and success stories.
Quite simply, within a framework that almost all students have, different events often mean the difference between success and failure.
In our research, each of the following "factors" has been related to the rate of community change. The mission describes your special task, and it tells what specific motivation binds together all those people who want to make a difference.
Such leaders see community partnerships as a way to mobilize the community, draw out everyone's strengths, and to celebrate members' accomplishments.
Finding a way to ease transitions and groom leadership within the group is an important factor in having groups that have long, successful lives. They are the ones who will start the ball rolling on the actions that the group decides to do.
Such information about the group's accomplishments -- for example, the amount or duration should be used to improve the group's ongoing efforts. Tracking these changes, as well as the "bottom line" of achieving groups' long term goals, can help the collaborative partnerships understand, celebrate, and improve their overall efforts. That's because the core competencies necessary for community organizations often transcend the variety of targeted missions and specialties people work in. However, all of these groups can work together and help create conditions under which it is more likely that community efforts will be successful. Working with community partnerships, grantmakers and governmental agencies should develop a social marketing plan to promote involvement in community work. For example, messages to teenagers should be delivered differently than messages to older adults. Success stories and profiles of people who have done fantastic work should be shared with the community. For example, it might use posters, notes on the Internet, and editorials in the local newspaper, to give just a few examples.


By having a broad partnership, the community will have a structure that is strong enough to make a real impact on different community problems.
For example, it's often the case that one group in the community will receive a grant to prevent substance abuse, another will receive a grant to improve education, and so on.
Provide information to help focus efforts on issues with the greatest effect on community health and development.
Annual action planning retreats can renew the group's efforts and be supplemented by regular adjustments. For example, a "bag it" program that allows young people to call in orders for contraceptives and have them discretely wrapped in a paper bag might increase contraceptive use dramatically among at-risk youth in a small community. Provide investments in collaborative partnerships that are large enough and last long enough to make a difference. Be sure to develop and celebrate "small wins" milestones that will regularly reward everyone's efforts. Groups that have proved their worth should be rewarded with continuing efforts by funding partners. For example, if a community has fewer teen pregnancies because of the efforts of a local coalition, give the coalition some of the money saved by the state by not having to pay for the teens' costs. Develop collaborative partnerships to increase the support for people working to improve their communities.
Members of the partnership should share the risks, resources, and responsibilities for community improvement. For example, corporations might have a flextime policy that allows employees to volunteer in their community. Future research should help understand and improve the factors that affect community health and development.
This can be done through a variety of different media (such as print and broadcast media, professional associations, and the Internet). As citizens, we have a duty to shape the basic conditions that affect our lives with others in transforming communities, we are guided by shared values and principles that bind us in common purpose. Such efforts are grounded locally: the family, the neighborhood, and other familiar communities.
Unpublished paper presented at the annual meeting of the American Society of Criminology, San Diego, November, 1997.
As stewards of limited resources, we seek to maximize the benefits derived from our grant dollars, so that they have an impact beyond the services we can fund directly. In order to generate improvements and insights, we then seek to identify promising ideas for possible solutions to some of the most difficult problems in our society and give grants to organizations to put those ideas to the test.
There are many ways to identify potential high leverage knowledge gaps – such as conducting literature scans, interviewing experts, and asking field leaders what they do not know that, if they knew it, would allow them to make a breakthrough. Our grantees, the researchers we engage, and our own staff members work in a genuine collaboration in which we all learn from each other, often in a formal process called a learning community. Our hope is to inform them and encourage the use of the ideas and practices that evidence suggests are most promising, thereby improving policy and practice in organizations well beyond those to which we give money.
It guides your self-evaluation by identifying how resources and activities or programs are linked to desired outcomes. A reentry council or criminal justice policy council, as well as each partnering agency, will typically develop its own theory of change model. Crafting a theory of change model begins by convening key stakeholders from the community and the jail to discuss and define the initiativea€™s goals and objectives, and the interventions or activities your community views as essential to achieving these goals and objectives. You will still need to define your key outcome measures, determine what data will be needed to measure these outcomes, decide how to collect and analyze the data, then do so, and report the results.
For example, an effort to improve education might involve school officials, teachers, business people, youth, and older adults. But if that's all that happens if those efforts fade away, and people go back to what they see as their "normal lives" -- that's not building community capacity.
A community has demonstrated strong community capacity when it can bring about community changes over time and across concerns. Defining our problems as being connected to other issues (and people) helps us to see the many ways in which we are linked together.
Their children are exposed to second-hand smoke and other health hazards, such as cockroaches and lead paint in their poor housing. It also means representatives from different levels for example, representatives from the neighborhood, the county, the state or province, and even the broader region or nation. These intermediary organizations can help community partnerships build on the "core competencies" that are necessary for working on community issues. They and other related support organizations can also offer other information useful for making decisions. In a healthy community, working together for the good of the community is a constant part of everyone's lives. For example, records of assaults at school are one community-level indicator of violence in the community; nighttime single-vehicle car crashes are often used as an indicator of the level of substance abuse in a community.
Even a relatively harmless effort to fix up low-income housing may be resisted by local officials, who delay needed construction permits. For example, the police might deny requests for information; others might cast doubt on the capability of members of the partnership to get the job done. Another example is a change in grantmaking policy to award cash incentives to grantees that reach their objectives.
That's true whether your bottom line is lower rates of teen pregnancy, higher rates of immunization for small children, or any other topic. And different events that happen within the framework make it more or less likely that a community group will succeed. By hiring or recruiting community mobilizers, groups consistently make more changes happen. For example, action planning will be important to community work on environmental advocacy, child abuse, mental health, or almost any other community issue. The Community Tool Box contains over 100 sections that can support technical assistance efforts. Based on the model we discussed above, we propose ten specific recommendations to assist people who are trying to change their communities for the better. We suggest grantmakers work together to offer larger grants to community partnerships that can work on several of these interrelated issues at the same time. If that proves to be the case, that program should be promoted in newsletters and through word of mouth, so that similar organizations can do the same thing.
For example, money has been saved in hospital bills the state would have paid for uninsured parents, as well as the costs of welfare for teen parents, and their children, and so on. To be effective, however, we must also bring diverse groups of people and organizations together to transform the broader conditions that affect local work.
Using empowerment theory to support community initiatives for health and development. American Journal of Community Psychology, 23(5), 667-697. Through commissioned research and our own investigation of our grantees' work, we gather credible information and ideas about what works, what doesn't and why. We think the greatest potential for creating knowledge occurs if we don't wait until the end of an initiative to evaluate its results – but integrate learning from the very beginning in ways that can inform the work of our grantees and the broader field. As discussed in module 4, a data-driven understanding of local reentry issues should inform many of these early discussions.
Because these partnerships bring people together from all parts of the community, their efforts often have the weight to be successful.
For example, a university research center might give advice on such topics as community assessment, strategic planning, advocacy, leadership development, and evaluation. Certainly, by providing the financial resources needed by partnerships and intermediary organizations.
Together, they clarify or develop the group's vision, mission, objectives, strategies, and action steps. For example, if drugs are readily available in your community, then easy accessibility is a risk factor.
Students have the same framework to work in each grade has the same learning objectives, for example. It's important to remember, though, that programs often need to be adapted to fit local conditions. This requires courage, doubt, and faith: the courage to trust those outside our immediate experience, the doubt to question what is, and the faith to believe that together, we will make a difference. We then seek to catalyze broad impact by publishing reports, creating other practical tools based on our findings, making presentations, encouraging media coverage, and working with professional associations. That's the reason this stage in the theory of change elevates the importance of evaluating work as it progresses in the field and creating knowledge about implementation challenges and solutions, without diminishing the importance of research that determines the ultimate outcomes from these efforts.
Finally, the probability of a good job is lowered dramatically for the parents, their children, and for their children's children. All this can inform those in a position to make change happen – thereby helping people and organizations we may never be able to support with a direct grant. Many groups rely strongly (if not completely) on funding from grantmakers or the government to survive.
The intended effect of environmental change is widespread behavior change large numbers of people in the community engaging in behavior related to the group's objectives.



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