Because Social Current believes that organizations do not achieve impact by accident but through dedication and rigorous attention to high standards, we’ve identified the following Commitments to deliver foundational direction in achieving lasting impact:

  • Leading with Vision
  • Governing for the Future
  • Executing on Mission
  • Partnering with Purpose
  • Investing in Capacity
  • Measuring that Matters
  • Co-Creating with Community
  • Innovating with Enterprise
  • Engaging All Voices
  • Advancing Equity

It is the Social Current’s mission to help its network master all of the Commitments, so that, together, we can realize our vision of a healthy society and strong communities for all children, adults, and families. Social Current will provide organizations with tools to assess and benchmark their current levels of competency in each of the Commitments, and it will organize all membership offerings around helping organizations elevate their proficiency in the specific areas.

The Commitments were identified through an extensive literature review, Disruptive Forces: Driving a Human Services Revolution, member engagement and feedback, and Social Current’s more than 100 years of experience in working with the human services sector.

Navigator Commitments

These foundational Commitments assert that nonprofit organizations cannot afford to rely on leadership styles and governance models that worked in the past. If they are to succeed in the uncertain economic, political, and technological climates, leaders cannot focus on the mechanics of management and boards of directors cannot focus on operational issues.

Leading with Vision

Leaders at all levels are courageous and disruptive. They embrace new ideas and are open to looking outside of traditional relationships and hierarchies. Those who lead with vision are not deterred by complexity or ambiguity; when confronted by challenges, they listen carefully and think critically. They are among their organizations’ best ambassadors and champions of the cause.

The Imperative for Leading with Vision: Nonprofit organizations and the environments in which they operate are rapidly increasing in complexity and volatility; consequently, leaders must possess the ability to navigate change and lead transformation toward the vision.

In this new reality of great uncertainty and rapid change, leaders, including staff and volunteers from all levels of an organization, must embody the principles of Adaptive Leadership, which will help them embrace possibilities and break through barriers to deliver creative solutions. For organizations, this may mean that longstanding business and service practices need to be updated or eliminated. For those who lead with vision, it is about identifying opportunities and navigating change with future-oriented, creative solutions.

Creating an adaptive organization that is nimble and embraces new and different ideas is no simple task. To do this, high-impact nonprofits engage staff and empower leaders at all levels of their organizations as they undergo changes. In turn, staff who lead with vision foster connections throughout the organization and community, and are open to opportunities that exist outside of traditional relationships and hierarchies. They embrace the concept of shared leadership, power, and governance within their organizations, through partnerships, across disciplines and sectors, and with the many people that come into contact with their organizations every day.

Those who lead with vision continually develop their knowledge and skills, which helps them to embrace new ideas and leave old and ineffective practices behind. But they do not automatically change their business model or programs to appear consistent with current trends for current trends’ sake. They learn, experiment, and adapt to the challenges and unique strengths and the assets at their disposal.When confronted by challenges, those who lead with vision are not deterred by complexity or ambiguity. They break down barriers and are willing to make compromises and adjustments midcourse, always seeking to leverage individual opportunities to achieve multiple goals.

When confronted by challenges, they listen musically, as well as analytically. Leaders are mindful of how actions and practices will affect other staff, constituents, and stakeholders, and they perform self-checks.

Organizations that lead with vision see themselves as advocates and neighbors first and service providers second, which means their values around advocacy should always trump. Staff, volunteers, and stakeholders are personally inspired by the organization’s purpose and are among the community and organization’s best advocates, continually raising awareness of the cause within their personal and professional networks.

Leading with Vision: Martha 0’Bryan Center

Marsha Edwards, president/CEO of Alliance for Strong Families and Communities member Martha O’Bryan Center in Nashville, Tennessee, commits to Leading with Vision by blending the entrepreneurial spirit and results-oriented mindset she developed in previous careers as a lawyer and businesswoman with skills in consensus leadership that she has developed through her nonprofit sector experience.

Edwards leads with the Center’s purpose—that it be a welcoming and accepting space that supports neighbors in transforming their lives and their community. Using the community as their guide, staff are encouraged to take risks, break down barriers, and create new programs that respond to challenges and leverage neighbors’ strengths.

The Center’s staff often engages in calculated risk taking by starting programs to nimbly move on a community need, and seek funding after the program has been established. However, in doing so, they are realistic about the organization’s capabilities, start small to make sure the concept is viable, and track results for improvement and marketability.

Governing for the Future

Governing boards of high-impact nonprofits analyze market, political, and practice trends to define the organization’s preferred future and ensure mission alignment. They push and support their organizations in pursuing lofty goals, taking risks, and innovating. They are guardians of the horizon, and they do this by helping their organizations define and realize their future aspirations, rather than focusing on solving operational problems.

The Imperative for Governing for the Future: Because nonprofits’ operating environments are changing with such rapidity and day-to- day operations can be consuming, governing boards must support their organizations in defining their preferred future states and adapting in the present to position them for prospective opportunities.

Governing boards of high-impact nonprofits serve as the guardians of the horizon, and they do this by helping their organizations define and realize their future aspirations. Rather than focusing solely on organization operations, they have a generative orientation, regularly engaging in discourse around root causes of trends and issues, potential impacts to the organization, and possible courses of action.

They analyze market, political, practice, and community trends to help define the organization’s preferred future and ensure mission and strategy alignment. They also guarantee that the organization is meeting or exceeding the expectations of investors, partners, and constituents around community impact. Governing boards see, listen, and understand the complex opportunities and challenges within the community, and use their knowledge to advocate with the community and those connected to the organization. They champion the organization’s work by telling its success stories and sharing its impact numbers.

Future-focused governing boards minimize the organizations’ exposure to risk, but push and support their organizations to pursue lofty goals, to take calculated risks, and to innovate. They promote stability through future-oriented financial planning and management designed to support vision and mission, generate resources, and achieve meaningful community impact. Governing boards also engage in succession planning to ensure organizational continuity during planned and unanticipated board and executive transitions.

Leading with Vision: Hillside Family of Agencies

Hillside Family of Agencies in Rochester, New York, intentionally creates time for generative and strategic governance by hosting Future Watch. Several times a year, a small group of board members and the organization’s chief executive convene to discuss big-picture challenges and trends that will affect Hillside’s mission, vision, and strategy. They know that the purpose of the meetings is not to identify a set of operations, objectives, or timeframes, but rather to advance their thinking about how Hillside must adapt and build capacity to seize opportunities in long-term trends.

The organization also holds smaller breakout meetings with board members and the chief executive. During these conversations they address board members’ driving concerns and motivations. In order to best leverage their strengths, the organization identifies what causes its board members to volunteer, what led them to Hillside, what they want to achieve, and how Hillside can help them achieve their aspirations.

Strategic Organizational Commitments

Because the challenges communities face are highly complex, adhering to these intermediary Commitments helps organizations gain traction. To achieve the most impact, organizations will maintain focus by aligning all programs and services to their missions and build networks with diverse partners. High-impact nonprofits grow community capacity and quickly mobilize around emerging community needs. They also continually invest in and improve their operating systems and business functions.

Executing on Mission

To execute on mission, organizations must articulate a clear purpose, target audience, and intended results of their efforts. High-impact organizations refuse to deplete resources across jumbled programs, services, and activities, even if it means rejecting funding. They continually examine their programs to assess relevancy to mission and divest those that are misaligned.

The Cause for Executing on Mission: Because resources are shrinking and scrutiny of the nonprofit sector’s impact is increasing, nonprofits must apply greater rigor around more focused target audiences, missions, and visions.

To execute on mission, organizations articulate a clear purposes, target audiences, and intended results of their efforts. Organizations must move away from ambiguous missions or unclear societal value propositions that allow drift toward funding and varied and uncoordinated programs and services that do not deliver promised outcomes.

They attune themselves to their operational realities, avoiding sweet, sentimental rhetoric. When drafting strategic and operational plans, they avoid ambiguity by drilling down to what success looks like and how it will be measured.

Focus is paramount for high-impact organizations. They refuse to deplete resources across disjointed programs, services, and activities, even if it means rejecting funding. They continually examine their programs to assess relevancy to mission and divest those that are misaligned.

By achieving clarity and specification around goals, target audience, implementation strategies, and results, high-impact organizations position themselves to drill down from the mission to the individual contribution of each staff member and volunteer so everyone is an invested contributor to the cause.

Executing on Mission: Beech Acres Parenting Center

To achieve long-term impact, Beech Acres Parenting Centerin Cincinnati redefined its mission by prioritizing parenting quality and shifting the primary focus of its strategy from working with children to building the capabilities of their parents and other caregivers. The organization developed a strengths-based, mindful parenting model, and it made the decision to only work with children for whom parents or caregivers can be identified.

During its transition, the agency dropped government contracts that didn’t fit the new mission, including a $14 million managed care contract. Its budget decreased dramatically, from $32 million to $9 million; however, it is serving four times the number of kids and families and is seeing improved outcomes in the reunification of families, children’s mental health, kindergarten readiness, and school performance.

Investing in Capacity

High-impact organizations’ budgets position them for the future and are used, first and foremost, as policy and strategy guides, as opposed to binding documents. They continually improve the operating systems and business functions that support resource generation and high performance. Organizations raise unrestricted revenue to allow risk taking, finance good overhead, and scale what works. High-impact organizations seek and identify efficiencies to reinvest dollars in their missions.

The Imperative for Investing in Capacity: Organizations cannot achieve high impact if they skimp on essential overhead functions, including information technology systems, quality physical spaces, fund development and marketing, and staff training and development.

Organizations that invest in capacity have the ability to use funds flexibly, and can withstand shifts or disruption in funding streams. They double down on raising unrestricted revenue, and focus on strategically growing charitable giving through donor cultivation and stewardship and social enterprise.

High-impact organizations use unrestricted revenue to continually improve the operating systems and business functions that support resource generation and high performance, such as information and data systems, professional development, high-quality physical spaces, marketing and fund development, and risk taking.High-impact organizations develop and use their budgets, first and foremost, as policy and strategy guides, as opposed to binding documents. Resources are allocated and redirected based on seizing future opportunities, not maintaining systems and strategies that worked in the past. By seeking and reaping cost savings from efficiencies, high-impact organizations reinvest additional dollars in their missions.

When organizations commit to Investing in Capacity, they commit to advocating for sufficient overhead and funding philosophies that reflect realistic notions of what it takes to run a healthy, high-impact organization. This includes accurately reporting overhead expenditures on tax forms and fundraising materials, educating funders and the general public on the benefits of a robust infrastructure, and rejecting funding for which there are unrealistic expectations.

Investing in Capacity: HumanKind

HumanKind realized the world was changing very rapidly and that it needed to make some significant investments in itself to stay relevant and competitive. In a sense, executives and board felt like the organization needed to go back to school. The organization used funds from its endowment beyond the typical percentage because it believed it would reap higher returns by investing in itself.

The organization chose to focus on its people, programs, and property. Funds focused on its talent were allocated toward recruitment, compensation, and training. In terms of programs, it transitioned from being an almost exclusively residential services provider to operating in more community-based settings. The organization’s property also received much needed maintenance. HumanKind believed that, by making these investments, the organization seized significant opportunities at a key point in time by investing in three of its major assets, making it more sustainable and relevant to its community and donors.

Measuring that Matters

High-impact organizations relentlessly focus on achieving outcomes tied to meaningful, measurable change in lives, systems, and communities. They infuse performance management in all levels of their organizations. Staff relish the ability to improve their approaches and inform their decisions with internal and external data, research, and practice evidence. Organizations also commit to using evidence to educate funders, government agencies, and the public on the impact of their social interventions.

The Imperative for Measuring that Matters: Because funders and the general public are calling for greater transparency in understanding nonprofits’ return on investment, organizations must track and communicate the difference they are making with children, adults, families, and communities.

High-impact organizations relentlessly focus on achieving outcomes tied to meaningful, measurable change in lives, systems, and communities, and they can document how they deliver on their missions.

High-impact organizations infuse a performance management culture in all levels of their organizations. All staff can see how their work contributes to the execution of the organization’s mission because their missions connect to theories of change that, in turn, correspond to data that is monitored. Staff of organizations that are committed to Measuring that Matters feel chronically dissatisfied, but they find and celebrate successes in the data that keep them proud and hopeful. Staff and volunteers are driven by a commitment to performance excellence and regard data collection, not as an end for compliance’s sake, but as a means for continuous quality improvement.

While many high-impact organizations will still use systems and resources to track metrics required by funders that they would not otherwise track, they search for ways to maximize alignment and strategic uses. They advocate for change around reporting regulations and requirements. High-impact organizations work with children, families, and communities to identify and track the outcomes that will lead to their goals and aspirations.

Committing to Measuring that Matters goes beyond data and performance management to include a culture of continuous learning. High-impact organizations stay abreast of emerging trends, research, and practice evidence, and they use this information to adapt existing and create new approaches. They also contribute their own knowledge to the field and seek out and create research partnerships.

Organizations also commit to using evidence, including data, stories, and testimonials, to educate funders, government agencies, and the public on the impact of their work with children, families, and communities. They are committed to creating and demonstrating a return on investment for their communities and go beyond performance and operational metrics to determine improved well-being of individuals and better states for communities.

Measuring that Matters: WINGS for Kids

WINGS for kids, headquartered in Charleston, South Carolina, focuses solely on providing a social and emotional education within afterschool programs in Georgia, South Carolina, and North Carolina. Its research-based curriculum requires the daily entry of data on children’s progress toward the desired outcomes of improving social and emotional skills, behavior, attendance, and academic performance.

The organization tracks progress by individuals; by each Nest of 10 to 12 kids; and by the WINGSLeaders, who are accountable for results. This accountability includes rating behavior and performing quarterly Objective Knowledge Assessments. Managers then use the data to supervise staff and make sure the curriculum is leading toward achievement of the program’s goals, in real time.

Partnering with Purpose

As opposed to diluting their potential for impact across a diverse spectrum of programs, organizations will address the complexity of social problems through diverse networks that revolve around shared visions and values. Those who partner with purpose share control around program implementation, funding, and recognition to further the cause.

The Imperative for Partnering with Purpose: Because people and communities face complex challenges and find convoluted, redundant systems of services and organizations to be discouraging, nonprofits must engage in meaningful, coordinated partnerships and networks.

As opposed to diluting their potential for impact across a diverse spectrum of programs or only influencing an isolated issue, organizations will address the complexity of opportunities and challenges through purposeful partnerships. They build diverse networks that span systems and sectors and revolve around shared visions and values.

Partnerships have purpose when they are characterized by:

  • Consensus around the issues, solutions, and success metrics
  • Shared interest and responsibility in co-creating solutions
  • Alignment and accountability achieved through clear role definition and consistent data collection and sharing
  • Diverse, coordinated activities directed by an action plan
  • Continuous communication

High-impact organizations have expanded views that allow them to see themselves as part of a greater web of solutions. They build network capacity in addition to internal capacity and organize their work as a collaborative, evolving process, rather than something they can completely control internally.

High-impact organizations that partner with purpose think systemically about the challenges they seek to address, opportunities they want to pursue, and the corresponding partners that will help them generate resources beyond dollars and create change across systems. They pay attention to the quality of the partnership and relationship, recognizing that partnerships are often leveraged in different ways.

Partnering with Purpose: Youth Policy Institute

The Youth Policy Institute (YPI) in Los Angeles has secured all three of the White House’s neighborhood revitalization grants, Promise Neighborhood focused on education, Choice Neighborhood focused on housing, and the Byrne Criminal Justice Innovation Award focused on public safety. It is the only nonprofit in the country to receive all three grants, signifying its ability to showcase its effective programs, which currently involve over 100,000 youth and adults every year at more than 100 program sites and leverage partners at the local and national levels to achieve common outcomes.

The City of Los Angeles, with YPI as the lead implementation partner, was recently awarded a Promise Zone designation by President Barack Obama, providing additional tools to combat poverty. The Los Angeles Promise Zone is one of only three urban Promise Zones in the nation. Combined, YPI is working with over 80 community-based, private, and public partners to implement these place-based initiatives, which will have a profound impact on the quality of life for over 200,000 Los Angeles residents.

Cultural and Values Commitments

A set of leaders and services alone will not translate to high impact. These Commitments enhance programs and operations by attuning staff to a culture of high impact. They thoughtfully push themselves to do their jobs more effectively and efficiently, whether it is through researching best practices, monitoring internal performance, or taking risks. Staff of high-impact organizations also are led by their values of inclusiveness and equity, ensuring that every voice is heard and has influence.

Co-Creating with Community

By being nimble and connected to community, high-impact organizations are uniquely positioned to identify and efficiently mobilize around emerging needs, even if the work goes outside of the scope of contracts and funding commitments. Organizations work with and through their communities to build solutions that maximize their assets. Residents view organizations as vital institutions and economic engines, and they have a sense of shared ownership in the missions.

The Imperative for Co-Creating with Community: Because the neighborhoods and communities in which organizations work are critical ingredients in the recipe for high impact, nonprofits must appreciate and employ the strengths and solutions of their communities.

High-impact nonprofit organizations are embedded in their communities, sharing leadership and knowledge, leveraging each other’s assets, co- owning the missions, and mobilizing together around emerging challenges. Organizations understand their communities’ histories, cultures, and strengths, and they use that knowledge to inform all of their work.

High-impact organizations recognize that the challenges, opportunities, assets, and demographics of communities are constantly changing, so they use ongoing outreach and engagement processes to continually collect and synthesize information. Organizations use this information to inform strategy, improve operations, and match community challenges and opportunities with local and organizational assets and advocacy efforts.

By being nimble and interconnected with their communities, high-impact organizations are uniquely positioned to identify and efficiently mobilize around emerging challenges, even if the work goes outside of the scope of contracts and funding commitments.

High-impact organizations recognize this distinct identity of community- based nonprofits and are regarded as agents of advocacy with and by their communities.High-impact organizations become adept at seeking out, maximizing the contributions of, and mobilizing diverse groups of youth, older adults, and other individuals. Their hiring and board recruitment and development policies support diverse workforces and board directors. All of these efforts are complemented by the organizations’ delivery of high-quality, culturally and linguistically competent services and supports that are built with input from the community.

Communities view organizations as vital institutions and economic engines. The organization’s physical space is viewed positively and perceived as a community resource and welcoming place by residents because it reflects a shared legacy with the community.

Co-Creating with Community: John H. Boner Community Center

In 2003 and 2004, the Near Eastside of Indianapolis had the highest rate of home foreclosures in the U.S.—then the housing crisis hit. This was the tippingpoint for this tight-knit community, and it decided it was time to invest back into the community; time for change and growth.

The first, most critical, step was to assemble neighborhood residents and stakeholders, individuals who live and work within the Near Eastside community, to strategically develop a plan. The John H. Boner Community Center, founded by neighborhood residents in 1971, and other partner organizations facilitated a resident-led process based upon an asset-based framework to help the neighborhood align its priorities. The product of this process came to be known as the “Near Eastside Quality of Life Plan,” a roadmap designed to assist the neighborhood as a whole to become a thriving, healthy, and vibrant community. To date, this plan leverages over $175 million in improvements, programs, and investments in the neighborhood.

The Center is driven by the plan that was created by the neighborhood, for the neighborhood and includes items such as financial stability, affordable housing, education, health and wellness, and enhancing the quality of life for older adults. Neighborhood residents continue to have quarterly summits and continue to adopt new ideas, address challenges, and seize upon opportunities. The neighborhood directs not only the Center’s mission and vision, but also programs and services as it continues to provide the tools needed for change and growth for an improved quality of life.

Innovating with Enterprise

Through cultures of innovation, staff are comfortable with ambiguity, and they recognize that uncertainty often inspires creativity. High-impact organizations encourage staff in all positions at all levels to challenge the status quo and take calculated risks. Instead of punishing failure, they reward it along with success, only punishing inaction.

The Imperative for Innovating with Enterprise: Innovating with Enterprise is crucial to the survival and success of nonprofits because our current method of delivering and financing our work is unsustainable. Organizations of all sizes and types must turn to innovation to identify lasting and meaningful results.

Innovative organizations engage in generative thinking and discussions, and they impose hypothetical constraints on their current reality to help them identify new solutions to existing challenges, emerging opportunities, and potential risks.

High-impact organizations innovate with enterprise by encouraging staff in all positions at all levels to challenge the status quo. They recruit and hire diverse individuals with different backgrounds who challenge one another and conventional wisdom in order to foster new ideas and connections and actively thwart conformity and groupthink.

Innovative workplace cultures often bring together individuals whom are comfortable with ambiguity because they recognize that working through difficult, uncertain situations often inspires creativity. Staff understand their own and their organizations’ risk tolerance and purposefully experiment.

Organizations financially support risk taking, sometimes through innovation funds, skunkworks, or other means. In turn, organizations think creatively and may develop social enterprises that maximize their missions and assets to generate earned revenue.

Everyone at high-impact organizations is continually thinking about how to be better—more responsive more efficient, and more effective. They take calculated risks and are beta testing new practices and approaches all the time. Because they view failure as a pathway to success, they never punish it; instead they reward failure and success, only discouraging inaction. High-impact organizations operationalize a continuous process of trying, testing, analyzing, learning, and improving.

Innovating with Enterprise: The Children’s Home of Cincinnati

To fulfill its Vision 2020 strategic plan, The Children’s Home of Cincinnati sought to build a deliberate process for innovation and to fuse that process into its day-to-day operations. Its program and product development system allows The Children’s Home to initiate new and expanded services for the organization and to take multiple ideas through planning and development stages. The process includes five steps that include idea generation, strengthening ideas, assessing viability through quick math and resolution of death threats, developing the business plan, and executing the plan.

Engaging All Voices

High-impact organizations know that placing residents and clients at the center of decision making and goal setting achieves meaningful and durable outcomes for individuals, families, and communities. Their practices, policies, and relationships all reflect a person-centered, asset-based orientation. Through this orientation, organizations create multiple pathways through which individuals can provide feedback that shapes their own paths and that of the organization and broader community.

The Imperative for Engaging All Voices: A growing body of evidence suggests that when people are at the center of identifying their goals and aspirations and developing the plan to achieve them, they are more committed to the process and to being successful. High-impact organizations engage all voices in every aspect of their work.

To catalyze change, high-impact organizations invite, appreciate, and advocate for the viewpoints of individuals who are unrepresented or underrepresented in most community, organizational, and policy settings. They create multiple pathways through which all individuals, including staff, can provide feedback that shapes their own paths and that of the organization and broader community.

High-impact organizations also create processes and programs to develop individuals’ skills, knowledge, and confidence so they can and do advocate for themselves. Formal and informal advocacy efforts are embedded within all aspects of their work, always acting with and doing what is in the best interest of children, adults, families, and communities. Individuals and communities direct, develop, and execute advocacy and civic engagement efforts that augment and support their health, well-being, and vitality. High-impact organizations lift up the voices and challenges of those who find it difficult to advocate for themselves, and they identify conscientious community advocates to support this role.

High-impact organizations’ practices, policies, and relationships all reflect a person-centered, asset-based orientation. They move beyond a culture of compliance and participation to one of shared responsibility and empowerment by authentically engaging children, families, and communities in identifying their strengths and placing them at the center of decision making, goal setting, and progress tracking.

Engaging All Voices: Congreso de Latinos Unidos

When How We Fish, a citywide mural project run by the Philadelphia Mural Arts Program, looked to engage the Latino community in a series of conversations about the value and meaning of work, it turned to Congreso de Latinos Unidos because it was confident that the organization could guide an authentic discussion.

Congreso organized a community meeting that allowed mural artists and residents to discuss the history of work in the Latino community. Many shared stories of working as children in farms and factories, coming to the U.S. in search of work, and settling or re-settling where work was available.

Following this meeting, residents were invited to bring their conversations to life by painting components of the mural. The final mural, conceptualized through the dialogue facilitated by Congreso and others throughout the city, includes images of agriculture, factories, and the word “orgullo,” the Spanish word for “pride,” which summarizes how those interviewed felt about making contributions in the workforce.

Advancing Equity

High-impact organizations understand that equity is central to human development. Instead of viewing advocacy efforts as separate from their program or service delivery, organizations view it as part of their social justice orientation to address issues of disparity and disproportionality. They tackle relationships that cause and sustain inequity and seek to reduce the social exclusion of underrepresented and marginalized communities in society and social processes.

The Imperative for Advancing Equity: Equity is central to human and community development, well-being, and shared prosperity.

Instead of executing efforts to advance equity separately from programs or services, organizations view it as part of their social justice orientation to address issues of disparity and disproportionality. They seek to achieve systems change so that advantage and disadvantage are not distributed on the basis of race, social class, gender, sexual orientation, age, ability/disability status, immigration status, country of origin, or religion.

Advancing Equity is embedded in every aspect of high-impact nonprofit organizations including practices, policies, and culture. As employers, high-impact organizations recognize the role they play in creating economic, educational, and leadership opportunities. At a governance level, they strive to ensure the boards and committees reflect the demographics of the communities with which they work. As economic contributors, high-impact organizations consider their contracts, vendor practices, and expenditures in the context of creating economic opportunity.

Within their communities and beyond, high-impact organizations address the issue of poverty alongside race, class, gender and access to opportunity. Organizations have courage and lead discussion on potentially volatile topics. Staff seek personal growth and increased understanding around these issues and bring along others on the same journey.

High-impact organizations unpack how and why inequities prevent children, families, and communities from reaching their full potential. Then, they tackle relationships that cause and sustain inequity and act to reduce the exclusion of underrepresented and marginalized communities from their organizational culture and civic and societal processes.

Advancing Equity: Aurora Family Service

Aurora Family Service in Milwaukee has engaged the community in local dialogues about race, families, and chosen themes during annual summits. At each event, a keynote speaker frames the dialogue and encourages participants to think about respective challenges and opportunities in the community. Following the keynote address, a reactor panel and breakout workshops give participants and opportunity to share their opinions and identify ways to take action. The summits have examined race through the lenses of many topics including entrepreneurship, infant mortality, religion, and sports. Aurora Family Service is now engaging additional nonprofits to broaden the discussion and impact.

Investing in Capacity + Measuring that Matters

Leading with Vision + Executing on Mission

Co-Creating with Community + Advancing Equity

Partnering with Purpose