Spring 2016 Collaborative Solutions Newsletter


My recent editorial in the Global Journal of Community Psychology Practice entitled: Ten Places Where Collective Impact Gets It Wrong

Description: Global Journal of Community Psychology PracticeThe featured article is my recent editorial on “Ten Places Where Collective Impact Gets  It Wrong” that was published in the Global Journal of Community Psychology Practice. The article is a critical look at the problems with Collective Impact, the coalition building methodology that is sweeping the country. This critique has gone viral and has been reprinted in the Non Profit Quarterly and the Collective Impact Forum (10 Places where Collective Impact Gets It Wrong) and has elicited a response from the original authors, Kania and Kramer (Advancing the Practice of Collective Impact). Collective Impact has experienced very little critical evaluation and this article has already proved itself at least to be a conversation starter. 


This article also includes online comments to the article from many prominent people in the field.



Tom Wolff Delivers at Avenir D’Enfants Conference in Quebec City November 2015

Sustainability Revisited with Avenir D’Enfants in Quebec

Sustainability RevisitedIn the fall of 2015 I was invited to give a keynote address on sustainability entitled ”Creating a Legacy: Sustaining Your Efforts” and an all day workshop to Avenir D’Enfants . Avenir D’Enfants (The Future of our Children) is a creative 130 site private/public early childhood prevention program).They are in year seven of a ten year cycle of $400 million of private and public funds so the focus was on the issue of sustainability.

(Photo: Tom Wolff Delivers Address at Avenir D’Enfants Conference in Quebec City November 2015. Photo of Tom and grandchildren Jonah and Liora on jumbo screen.)



New Opportunities for Collaborative Solutions with Hospitals and Health Care Systems Emerging from Obama’s Affordable Care Act

Applying our coalition building knowledge to this critical emerging practice – an example  from my  training for Atlantic Health Systems in New Jersey.

As all the phases of Obama’s Affordable Care Act start to kick in, hospitals and health care systems across the country are scurrying to meet the community benefit demands of the act. These require hospitals to address community needs. The new guidelines from the IRS also demand  that hospitals do this as a requirement of their IRS non- profit status. This creates even more pressure on the hospitals. Thus most hospitals are engaged in building a coalition of community partners to accomplish the first two phase –a Community Health Assessment and a Community Health Improvement Plan (CHIP). They would then move on to taking steps to address the identified needs and implement their CHIP Plan.

If done well, this creates great opportunities for hospitals to create meaningful partnerships with not only community entities but also community residents – those most affected by the identified issues. More important it is great impetus to move our health care systems out of a narrow focus on remediation and to broaden the community’s approach to preventive health care and systems change.



Key Informant Interviews: a critical component of an agency’s comprehensive strategic planning process. A recent story from the United Neighbors of Fitchburg (UNF)

I was recently reminded of the multiple benefits that emerge from doing one to one interviews with key people in your community as part of your agency’s community assessment for your agency’s Comprehensive Long Range plan. The United Neighbors of Fitchburg formerly the Cleghorn Neighborhood Center and their wonderful Director, Joana Dos Santos, invited me back to help them revise the original plan that I had helped them with 10 years ago. In between they have done updates but this was a chance to take a long look at where they were, what had been accomplished.

As part of that process I always suggest that agencies generate a list of 10—20 individuals and groups who they will talk to in depth as part of the process. It seems obvious that this would be a component and many organizations say they are going to do it but in my experience very few do.



Bringing a Racial Justice Lens to our work: Addressing Pushback 
Connect to Protect: a remarkable HIV/AIDS Prevention coalition with a brave commitment to social justice

For the last five years I have worked as a consultant/trainer for Connect to Protect (C2P) Boston. C2P was funded through a five year grant given to The Fenway Institute at Fenway Health and 13 other sites across the country by the Adolescent Medicine Trials Network for HIV/AIDS Interventions (ATN) which was funded by The Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD), National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), and National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) . The national mission of C2P was to reduce HIV/AIDS rates among adolescents and young adults through collaborative efforts of communities and health researchers.C2P Boston launched in December, 2011, and quickly came to recognize that young Black men and transgender youth who have sex with men are most impacted by HIV in Boston. They committed to working through the lenses of health equity and racial justice to ensure that they addressed structural racism through their efforts to catalyze structural (program, policy and practice-level) change. 



New Resources: New and Fascinating Resources

Lizbeth Schorr : Reconsidering_evidence_what_it_means_and_how_we_use_it in Stanford Social Innovation Review:

 To get better results in this complex world, we must be willing to shake the intuition that certainty should be our highest priority. We must draw on, generate, and apply a broader range of evidence to take account of at least five factors that we have largely neglected in the past.


Linda Silka Maine reinvents research to tackle ‘wicked problems’

We need stakeholder-engaged solutions-focused interdisciplinary work if our scarce science resources are to be mobilized to help solve wicked problems.”



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spring 2016 Issue

  • My recent editorial in the Global Journal of Community Psychology

  • Sustainability Revisited with Avenir D’Enfants in Quebec

  • New Opportunities for Collaborative Solutions with Hospitals and Health Care Systems Emerging from Obama’s Affordable Care Act

  • Key Informant Interviews

  • Connect to Protect

  • New Resources

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