Multiplication Center

5 Things You Need to Get Something Done in Your City

February 29, 2016

“Test scores up.  Attendance up. Trips to the school nurse down.”  These statistics were shared with the audience I was just about to address.  The event, sponsored by Titus County Cares (Mt. Pleasant TX), was an appreciation banquet for the volunteers who work each week packing up to three tons of food in almost 1,000 backpacks.  Kids take six pounds of food home for the weekend to mitigate the food challenge they face at home.  The school district had just released this information before the banquet.  The encouraging numbers provided the inspiration and motivation my talk was supposed to bring.  All that was left for me to do was to celebrate their work and challenge them to tackle even more projects as a community, which they are in the process of doing.

Titus County Cares (TCC) is a faith-based organization founded in May 2005 that has been able to galvanize their community around several key needs of their area: food challenge, shelter, literacy, etc.  They grew out of a repurposing of an old ministerial alliance involving just a few ministers into now a robust cross-domain collaboration of every sector of the town. Dozens of public, private, and social sector entities lend their time, money, and energy to various projects and ongoing programs of TCC.  They have hundreds of volunteers assisting full-time staff members with these efforts, have developed a support base among a substantial donor pool of individuals, churches, businesses, and other organizations.  Their active board has significant connections in every part of community life.

How have they come so far so fast?City Impact

Collective Impact

TCC’s journey bears out the findings of research being conducted over the past decade by the Stanford Center on Philanthropy and Civil Society at Stanford University on a field they call “Collective Impact” – what we at Leadership Network call “cross-domain collaboration” – and some community development pilot projects we have been involved in at Leadership Network.   The focus of our mutual investigations have been exploring how communities can create “epic wins” (Leadership Network language) in moving the needle on some large societal issue.  The issues can range from educational emphases around literacy to public health initiatives to tackling generational and institutional poverty.

The Stanford crew identified 3 key elements (they called them preconditions) that must be in place for community impact to have a chance of success.  These are

1. Local champion(s) – a person or persons who is willing to take on the giant issue

2. Resources – money, energy, talent, etc.

3. Urgency – a sense that NOW is the time

We would add 2 additional components based on our Leadership Network experience:

4.  A convener- someone who can call the party

5. A coach to help shape the conversation

TCC found its champions in Chuck Hinton and Judy Lee.  They had some resources to get started that were in place from the ministerial alliance fund.  They developed a message and strategy to gain the attention of the community, focusing on a challenge (food for kids) that had widespread appeal and carried a sense of urgency.  Chuck and Judy quickly pulled people around them who could convene groups of people around them to cast vision, sell problems, offer solutions, and build their coalition.  They had some help—neutral outside voices—who guided them in various aspects of their development.

How Can You and Your Team Learn More About Creating Your Own Epic Wins?

If being part of a vibrant community development success story appeals to you, you may be a candidate for the City Impact HUB experience in April 2016,  In this rich leadership and learning experience we will explore how you can develop your own strategies for building your own Kingdom coalition for city impact.  To learn more about HUB, click on the button below.

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