2020 was a difficult year for all of us. COVID-19 impacted everyone’s plans and business as we knew it – ours included. (Read COVID-19-specific blogs & resources here, here, here, and here). 

We also witnessed our Black neighbors suffer many injustices. Our work is rooted in the desire to improve communities. As a team, we dedicated time to learning and engaging in hard conversations. We’re determined to continue supporting and uplifting our partners who are tirelessly serving minorities. 

In the midst of the challenges, there were great things that happened for our clients and our team. While we never want to diminish the tough circumstances of the year that have stretched and pushed us, we do want to celebrate the victories along the way. 

It was a privilege partnering with our clients as they adapted to address the needs of their communities. Check out a snapshot of some of those highlights below. 

Building Capacity: We are passionate about coming alongside our clients to strengthen their capacity to provide the highest quality services while accomplishing their goals.

  1. We secured over $8.4 million in grants for clients and created new development plans to increase and diversity funding
  2. We facilitated 9 strategic plans which included internal and external organization assessments, research, building consensus with stakeholders, and mapping out specific steps to achieve the goals. Several of these projects were community-wide initiatives that involved a diverse group of partners utilizing a collective impact framework. We also became experts on using Zoom for navigating virtual planning sessions!
  3. We developed toolkits and resource guides for state system partners, nonprofit organizations, and funders. 
  4. We designed new programs and curriculums focused on trauma-informed care and college and career readiness. 
  5. We created marketing and communication plans and collateral materials to help organizations promote and celebrate the incredible work that they are doing. We don’t want our clients to be the best kept secret in their community! Check out our Marketing 101 blog series for some of our tried and true tips.  

Facilitating Evaluation, Research, & Analysis: We demystify the data process and help our clients leverage the data that they have in order to demonstrate their impact. 

  1. We completed 14 community and state needs assessments to help understand the current gaps and opportunities for support. This included gathering publicly available data to create a community profile and layering it with stakeholder feedback to understand the complexities. 
  2. We produced 12 interactive, visual dashboards to help our clients pull all of their data together to track and monitor their strategic goals and key performance indicators (KPIs). We also created dashboards to map the locations of programs to identify gaps in service and opportunities for expansion. View a few of our dashboard examples on Tableau.
  3. We completed feasibility studies to expand, fund, and implement new programs and services. The studies helped clients strategically plan to launch and expand new services. Learn more about our feasibility study process.
  4. We trained staff on using data for continuous quality improvement (CQI). We helped staff at all levels understand the importance of data and gave them a CQI framework for how to use data in their decision-making process. View our CQI process here.

Mobilizing Communities, Partners, & Systems: We use the collective impact framework to facilitate public-private partnerships to address big issues in communities and states.

  1. We organized and facilitated 5 community coalitions to help them address an issue in their community that is bigger than what one organization can do on their own. This included tackling population decline, affordable housing, and early learning/ child care.  Read more about our steps for coalition building.
  2. We supported state partners with system-wide strategic planning, data systems, and technical assistance. We worked with several state agencies – Indiana Department of Child Services, Indiana Family and Social Services Administration, Indiana State Department of Health, Indiana Department of Workforce Development – to create strategic plans, stand up new programs/ initiatives, reassess their organizational structure, and support the collection of data to inform programming and planning.
  3. We facilitated statewide advisory committees of public-private stakeholders. We helped establish the structure of the committees, recruit key stakeholders, and gather the strategic information to guide their work and recommendations.
  4. We solicited input from diverse stakeholders via interviews, focus groups, and surveys to collaborate and build consensus. We leveraged the use of technology to still engage key stakeholders even during a pandemic.

Team Successes: 

  1. In the midst of the challenges of this year, our clients saw value in partnering with us to help them navigate these unknown waters. We’re thrilled to welcome six #Transformers in 2020. Meet the team here.
  2. We also expanded our reach with clients across Indiana and beyond who represent so many important causes including: 
  • Adult Education
  • Child Welfare
  • College and Career Readiness
  • Community Development
  • Disability Services
  • Early Care and Education
  • Home Visiting
  • K-12 Education
  • Out-of-School-Time Youth Programs
  • Public Housing
  • Substance Abuse Treatment
  • Veteran Services 

As we head into another year, we remain grateful for the organizations who trusted our team in 2020. We are excited to look ahead into 2021, and we would love to work with you! Do you have a clear plan for the upcoming year? Whether you’re looking to strengthen your organization’s capacity, use your data to drive impact, or mobilize your community and partners to tackle big issues, we would love to help! Contact us, and let’s discuss your 2021 plans!

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