Home > Archive > The Whole Becomes Greater than the Sum of its Parts, 5/30/14

5/30/14 –

Thanks to Anne Cory and Deb Loesch Griffin for facilitating this morning’s Evidence-Based Practices Group Visioning Exercise. We started by reviewing two questions we’d asked before:

What are we coming together to do?

What do we want to change?

We had a wonderful opening discussion around fruitful collaboration that is taking place in our community, opportunities to expand that collaboration, and how developing a shared vision of our community would benefit us all. We discussed what the nonprofit sector—as a whole—can contribute and how we can move to shared outcomes.

We talked about the need for an aspirational vision that allows us to ask “where are we in the process?” and “how are we doing at achieving the vision?” We want to be able to see what’s changing and why it’s changing. We need to be able to revisit the vision and adjust it as necessary.

And we agreed that all of this is why we need evidence-based practice built into the DNA of our community. With EBP we’ll be able to answer the questions: who’s doing good work? How do we know that? Where are our strengths? What can we build from?

You’ll enjoy reading the work done today (see below). Next week, using what’s below and a trial vision statement we will discuss what conditions need to be in place to achieve the changes we are envisioning.  We will also define the favorable conditions that we can create – or that would naturally emerge – if we are reaching our highest potential.  These are the questions we need to ask to learn what we need to intentionally create or encourage (programs, services, relationships, supports, opportunities, etc.) that will ensure our highest potential can be achieved.  This is also a way of allowing a “theory of change” to emerge that can guide the work of the group.  Then we’ll gather feedback on the vision and revise as necessary. The weeks ahead will be exciting as we explore alternatives for moving forward, including developing metrics and long-term and intermediate outcomes.

Here’s our meeting schedule for the next few weeks (all meetings start at 8 a.m.):

6/6 @ HUD, Anne Cory facilitating
6/13 gathering feedback from peers on vision statement
6/20 @ United Way, present feedback on vision and revise
6/27 @ United Way, alternatives for moving forward

 What might be possible if we were 100% successful?

A walk along the river without seeing homelessness.  Instead, see people enjoying themselves.  Healthy, vibrant river life.

Permanent housing.  A place to lay your head and be safe.

A sense of safety and purpose.

Safe streets.

Economic development, thriving tourism, thriving community.

Tourism for multiple reasons.

Vibrant parks and open space, libraries, public transport that all classes use.


Children play and are safe.

Free range children.

Happy children.

Physically fit and healthy.

Families are stable and self sufficient – sustainable.

Economic mobility.

Good jobs – companies want to come to area and establish here.

People have a sense of opportunity.


Hopeful – I can do this?  I can live here!

Support for reaching potential.

Organizations feel hopeful and confident that they contribute and succeed.

Collaboration is vision-driven and integrates the gifts and contributions of those best-suited to make a difference.  Authentic, honest, inclusive.


We are accountable and clearly demonstrate our effectiveness.

Trusting and open dialogue.

What inspires you to participate in this process and continue coming each week?

Collaboration with a purpose.

Active examples exist in community at subgroup level (pockets of collaboration).

Authentic collaboration without fear of losing funding.

Collective Vision – how to best spend a small amount of money to make a difference.  Example of RSF Social Finance.

Am I the best person/organization to do this?

Moving from good intentions to effectiveness.

A way of reflecting on our activities to align with vision.

Move from aspirational to operational.

Important to revision and revisit.

Customer-driven programming – is it valued?  Ensure involvement of consumers.

Moving from charity model to social justice model.  Outcomes of success vs. outcomes of  value.

Do no harm!

To eradicate homelessness.  How to create a healthy community?  I live here and I want that!

Don’t think we are healthy.  Underlying many problems is poverty.  Think collectively to define how we can create a more stable community = better life.  How can we be a community that meets those needs?

We have some evidence-based programs in place.  We need a community engagement component to reach greater impact with them.

Evidence based programs allow us to answer questions.  Does X do what it says it does?  How can we improve?

Is the work we are doing making people comfortable in poverty or is it getting people out of poverty?

Spending donor dollars responsibly – making an impact.

What is important to you in the vision discussion?

Trust – open dialogue about what does and doesn’t work.

Commitment – make time to commit to a process.

We hold each other accountable.

We determine, together, where/who is best-suited to serve a need or gap.

Define values we agree upon to achieve vision.

Define metrics to measure success.

Headlines from 2025

Washoe County School District Achieves 100% Graduation Rate

Reno eradicates homelessness

Nonprofits collaborate to build healthy community

A story of effective local collaboration. Willing to work together means all the community is served

Darwinism takes on a new twist.

A Federation of social agencies demonstrates they are all effective!
• Trusting relationships
• Supportive
• Effective

Nevada Goes from Worst to First!

Nevada would be #1 in:
• Adequate housing
• High school graduation rate
• Food security
• Education and job ready workforce
• Full employment opportunities
• Lowest rate of alcoholism and drug use


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