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Shared Learnings

Developing Effective Coalitions

  • Jun 01, 2016
By:
Anndee Hochman

Carpenters have table saws. Painters have camel-hair brushes. And social-change advocates have coalitions.

Coalitions—unions of people and organizations working to shape outcomes on a specific issue or problem—are tools, not ends in and of themselves. When they work effectively, they wield clout greater than the sum of their parts: They can broaden buy-in, tackle a broad range of goals, and benefit from the diverse viewpoints and strategies of their members.


Navigating Turf Issues

  • May 05, 2016
By:
Anndee Hochman

Turf struggles—conflicts over funding, ideology, strategy and recognition among organizations with seemingly common goals—are often stumbling blocks in the work of coalitions. But “turf” does not have to be a four-letter word.

According to Larry Cohen, executive director of Prevention Institute, a national non-profit committed to fostering health and social equity, turf struggles arise because coalition members care passionately about the work they do.  Therefore, acknowledging the struggles can actually make the coalition stronger because you also acknowledge the commitment and specific goals of members in the process.


Creating a Shared Vision: Why and How

  • Apr 01, 2016
By:
Anndee Hochman

In Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, Alice queries the Cheshire Cat: “Would you tell me, please, which way I ought to go from here?” The Cat answers, “That depends a good deal on where you want to get to.”

Your community—whether it be a health clinic or school, neighborhood or entire state—also needs a vision in order to plot its next move. Without a shared vision, communities may flounder or fracture, lose momentum or become snarled in multiple, competing agendas.

“A shared vision starts with a question: Where do we want to go together?” Sandra Bloom, associate professor in the Dornsife School of Public Health at Drexel University, told MARC participants when they gathered in November 2015.

In order to develop such a vision, members of the community—health workers and clients, principals and students, administrators and families—must be able to talk across barriers of age, gender, identity, race, class and experience. A shared vision fosters inclusion, instills a sense of purpose, bolsters internal commitments and clarifies next steps. It inspires. It becomes a measure of progress.

 


Using Stories to Build a Social Movement

  • Mar 09, 2016
By:
Anndee Hochman

Rosa Ana Lozada grew up in a San Francisco neighborhood riddled with domestic violence, child abuse and the frequent wail of police sirens. But home and family were the counterweight to violence and fear, said Lozada, now CEO of Harmonium, Inc. and a member of the San Diego Trauma Informed Guide Team.

During a two-day convening of Mobilizing Action for Resilient Communities (MARC) grantees, Lozada’s talk brought a hush to the room and underscored one of the gathering’s themes: Stories are essential to building social movements, including the growing effort to combat early adversity and build resilience across the nation.

Marshall Ganz, senior lecturer in public policy at Harvard University, has written about the role of stories in social movements; stories help us exercise agency, develop personal and collective identities and find the resources that enable us to act. Stories speak to both the heart and the head, and the most effective stories leave listeners with a sense that they, too, can make a difference.


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