NVI recently hosted 16 local partner collaboratives (or Local Partners, as we call them) as a scholarship cohort attending 2018 Champions for Change: Leading a Backbone Organization for Collective Impact. This professional development and educational conference, hosted by US collective impact thought-leaders Collective Impact Forum and the Tamarack Institute, was geared specifically toward leaders of organizations fulfilling “backbone” role for in their collaboratives. (We’ve written about the backbone organization’s role in collective impact before.)
Shared learning for backbone leaders
The convening brought together over 400 funders, backbone organization leaders, partners, and community members for cross-sector dialogue. Discussion and training covered topics ranging from the leadership skills required to run a backbone—where no one leader has true authority over all collaborators—to the implications of unconscious bias in collaborative settings. Practical, nuts-and-bolts workshops focused on the implementation of best practices in developing backbone organizations. In an environment rich with shared learning opportunities, attendees were encouraged to tackle the complex challenges surrounding collective impact.
The scholarship cohort
This was the second scholarship opportunity NVI has offered its local partner collaboratives, in which we covered both registration and travel fees that might otherwise be cost-prohibitive for small and developing collaboratives. In 2019, NVI looks forward to offering new and more scholarship opportunities to the local partner collaboratives in our network.
The cohort in attendance represented both official Community Veterans Engagement Boards (CVEBs) and as well as other types of community-based collaboratives, including leaders from 13 states across the US.
In addition to participating in the event curriculum, NVI staff and Local Partners gathered at designated tables during lunch to process what they were learning, network, and exchange ideas and resources. To facilitate further networking between collaborative leaders, NVI hosted an informal networking happy hour at a nearby Manhattan Beach restaurant.
Champions for Change was an excellent opportunity for NVI’s Local Partners to create meaningful relationships with each other and build upon their understanding of collective impact. The scholarship cohort will work to apply what they learned over the coming months, and will share their progress with the other members of our network. Stay tuned for an upcoming webinar where a small group of the cohort will recap their takeaways from the conference.