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Collective Impact Initiative

What is it?

Communities throughout the country have seen individual programs, organizations, and initiatives try to solve local social problems. Collective Impact is a structured way to bring the community together, across silos, to change conditions for children over time. Working separately instead of together, our efforts traditionally fight for the same money and resources with mixed results. Despite programmatic wins, systems change that is significant and lasting remains unachievable.



Imagine how much good we could do if we worked together?

How do we work together?

Across the Virginia Peninsula, individuals and organizations are working together to improve conditions for young children prenatal to age five. Our focus is on child health, early care & education, and family strengthening using a Collective Impact approach.

With funding from the Virginia Early Childhood Foundation and Peninsula Community Foundation, SBVP acts as the backbone organization for local early childhood development and health collective impact work. SBVP works collectively with the community to solve complex issues within our community for young children and families. By bringing together local leaders to improve access to quality, affordable and equitable early care experiences and by committing to support parents so that their children can thrive holistically, the partnership seeks to improve early childhood experiences, lower health risks, and engage parents. More than 30 cross-sector representatives joined in the effort, including school districts, business and nonprofit leaders, city officials, and university professors.

The five conditions of Collective Impact are:

  • A Common Agenda: The use of population Results and Indicators provides a clear, practical and measurable way of articulating a common agenda for a community.

  • Shared Measurement System: Defining performance measures for each community partner that clearly align with the Common Agenda (Population Results and Indicators) provides the information needed to make decisions and revise strategies going forward.

  • Mutually Reinforcing Activities: Collecting data is only half the battle. Transparency in your planning can help you to use data to make decisions and guide your strategies to improve.

  • Continuous Communication: Communication, not just between partners but also with funders and the public, is a key component to any successful Collective Impact initiative.

  • Backbone Support Organization: A backbone organization provides the supporting infrastructure for a Collective Impact effort and is a facilitator of a highly structured data-driven decision making process.

How do we measure our progress?

Turn the Curve Thinking describes efforts to improve the direction or rate of change in the baseline of an indicator or performance measure. It is also a short-hand for the process of determining whether the current and projected level on an indicator or performance measure is acceptable or requires change. Ends and Means are an important distinction in RBA. Results and indicators are about the ends we want for children and families. We use an ends to means approach to social change.  Ends are something everyone can agree on. Our “end” is that all children on the Peninsula are born healthy and thrive.  This agreement forms a common ground that allows the discussions to focus on the means; HOW are we going to accomplish this goal. By using turn the curve thinking, we are able to move towards tangible strategies to improve conditions for young children and families.


Check out our Scorecard 

Smart Beginnings Virginia Peninsula has led its stakeholders toward a common set of goals, outcomes, and indicators. We are analyzing and sharing data to track progress. We have only just begun, but our future generations will experience the impact of us putting the issue before the program to change outcomes for families.

Click on the image below to see an up-to-date scorecard and our progress. 

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