Reconnecting to Our Waterways is an initiative of Indianapolis neighborhoods and residents, private and public organizations, and civic leaders, and operates via a collective impact model.
What is a collective impact model? It is defined as “the commitment of a group of actors from different sectors… that coordinate their efforts and work together around a clearly defined goal.” The concept of collective impact hinges on the idea that in order for organizations to create lasting solutions to social problems on a large-scale, they need to coordinate their efforts and work together around a clearly defined goal.
As a “Collective Impact” grassroots initiative, ROW’s partners have committed to a common agenda. Collective Impact is more rigorous and specific than collaboration among organizations. There are five conditions that together, lead to meaningful results:
- Shared Vision: All participants have a shared vision for change, including a common understanding of the problem and a joint approach to solving it through agreed-upon actions
- Shared Measurement: Collecting data and measuring results consistently across all participants (see metrics) ensures efforts remain aligned and participants hold each other accountable
- Mutually Reinforcing Activities: Participant activities must be differentiated while still being coordinated through a mutually reinforcing plan of action
- Continuous Communication: Consistent and open communication is needed across the many players to build trust, assure mutual objectives, and appreciate common motivation.
- Backbone Organization: Creating and managing collective impact requires a separate organization(s) with staff and a specific set of skills to serve as the backbone for the entire initiative and coordinate participating organizations and agencies.
Everyone has a part in creating ROW’s collective impact. Administrative support is provided through our “backbone”, Gail Payne (our executive director.) A steering committee comprised of more than 20 organizations manages six waterway committees and six element committees. These committees operate mainly at the neighborhood level with resident participation. Our partners provide resources and guidance, and our marketing committee helps promote ROW throughout the year.
Since it began in early 2012, ROW has leveraged over $2 million in cash, in-kind and volunteer support for projects benefiting ROW neighborhoods. At the end of 2013, ROW received $1.35M over three years from the Kresge Foundation and a matching $300,000 over three years from the Central Indiana Community Foundation.
For more information on the collective impact, View this PDF: Collective Impact