Tamarack Institute and Ontario Trillium Foundation Visit to the Lehigh Valley

On January 16-18, 2018, The Rider-Pool Foundation and The United Way of the Greater Lehigh Valley hosted Sylvia Cheuy, Consulting Director of the Tamarack Institute’s Collective Impact Idea Area, and Jen Roynon, Director of Partnerships and Knowledge Mobilization for the Ontario Trillium Foundation to participate in an exchange of information about our region’s shared work in Collective Impact.

Cheuy and Roynon were interested in learning about The Rider-Pool Foundation’s Collective Impact Fellowship Program, “Rapid Prototyping” grant making, and capacity building strategies being employed in our area. In turn, The Rider-Pool Foundation and United Way hoped to tap Tamarack’s enhancement of the Collective Impact process, their Human-Centered Design approach and high-view management strategies to maintain change and avoid reversion to status quo.

The Tamarack Institute is a Collective Impact thought-leader and is helping to build stronger, healthier, more vibrant communities across Canada and beyond. The Ontario Trillium Foundation (OTF) is an agency of the Government of Ontario and one of Canada’s largest granting foundations. With a budget of more than $136 million, the Foundation awards grants to approximately 1,000 projects each year to build healthy and vibrant Ontario communities.

Through a two-day visit, more than 200 people met and shared conversation with the distinguished guests in a series of focused networking and learning opportunities. Highlights included:

  • A Human-Centered Design workshop for local non-profit leaders and their community partners to engage in an authentic conversation about the importance of involving “context experts” (those with lived experience) with “content experts” (those with academic or professional experiences.)
  • A gathering of 25 Collective Impact Fellows to share their experiences with the Rider-Pool Collective Impact Fellowship and learn more about “snap-back” (maintaining change and avoiding reversion to status quo.)
  • A meeting of 15 local grant-makers to discuss the roles funders play in Collective Impact
  • A lively discussion between grantees and funders about proactive grantmaking with funders as partners and co-creators.
  • A two-hour Collective Impact 3.0 presentation for more than 140 non-profit, business, community, and academic leaders.

At the conclusion of Cheuy and Roynon’s visit, there was a clear desire to continue a learning collaborative.   This has already lead to:

  • Cheuy publishing a case study on our work titled “Investing to Create a Network of Community Change Agents.”
  • A delegation from the Lehigh Valley being invited to participate in the 2018 Tamarack Institute’s Conference for Change.
  • Cheuy accepting an appointment to the faculty of The Rider-Pool Foundation’s Collective Impact Fellowship.
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