How We Work
Imagine Forsyth is about bringing together residents, organizations, and community leaders to communicate and collaborate. The result of this work is the alignment of our collective effort and resources with the wishes of residents to improve outcomes across our entire community.
Working as a Team Toward Systems Change
Imagine Forsyth works intensively with organizations who are engaged in neighborhood-level work within our focus areas to accomplish the following in an ongoing cycle:
A services map is a an analysis of the organizations, programs, services, and practices that are directly related to our focus areas within one of our neighborhoods. For example, the services map would list all of the food pantries within the Boston-Thurmond neighborhood. The service map provides a clear view of what’s happening on the ground within our focus areas, which allows us to draw important conclusions, such as identifying gaps in needed services.
Working closely with the organizations and residents who live and work in our neighborhoods shines a light on opportunities to work together. For example, distribution of a services map may cause a group of organizations to design a new program to provide needed services that didn’t previously exist.
Close collaboration highlights entrenched challenges that are faced by many people working in the same space. Communication and coordination around these shared challenges can lead to new strategies and processes to solve these challenges.
Continuous Improvement Processes
iF provides additional value for partner organizations through technical assistance. This assistance — which includes evaluation, logic modeling, staff training, and more — has a strong emphasis on data-focused continuous improvement for programs and services. By working closely with organizations to make continuous, incremental improvements, iF is in a position to identify, scale, and spread best practices across many organizations.
Pilot New Strategies
Based on gap identified in a given system, or a best practice that’s been identified for scaling, iF facilitates the introduction of new, collaborative pilots, shared among partner organizations. The purpose of these pilots is to prove a concept at a small scale, using resources and capacity that are already available. If one of these concepts proves successful, iF facilitates a discussion around how best to scale the pilot.
Imagine Forsyth also works in our community at the broader systems level to accomplish the following in an ongoing cycle:
Identify & Prioritize System-level Change
When organizations build trust in the process of collaboration, it becomes easier to identify the big ideas, that are bigger than any single organization, that have the power to change the system — and outcomes — for the better.
Identify, Scale, & Spread Best Practices
Active communication and collaboration through the Focus Area Networks helps organizations in the same space identify practices with promise. By sharing what works, organizations can align around the best practices to move the work of systems change forward.
Advocate for Policy Change
A community culture of collaboration sheds light on what works and gives birth to big ideas. Some ideas are so big, they need a groundswell of support to get rolling. When these ideas come along, Imagine Forsyth can serve as a platform to channel our collective energy toward a common goal.
Imagine Forsyth’s Structure
Imagine Forsyth is comprised of several working groups, each with a specific role and focus. These groups communicate and collaborate with one another to move the work of systems change forward.
The Advisory Table includes representatives from each of our partner organizations, representatives from the Neighborhood Table, and Imagine Forsyth staff. The role of the Advisory Table is to offer ongoing advice and guidance for iF’s collective efforts, as well as to assist in the implementation and execution of our system-level work.
Coming January 2018: The Neighborhood Table is made up of resident representatives from Imagine Forsyth’s neighborhoods. Many of these resident representatives sit on and are represented in each of the other Imagine Forsyth groups; resident representatives have a significant voice in the decision-making processes of all groups. The full Neighborhood Table convenes quarterly.
A cornerstone of the Imagine Forsyth model is the concept of resident leadership and direction. Being a resident led and directed organization means that resident involvement is built into our operating structure by design and that resident representatives have a significant voice in decisions that are made at every level of the organization.
Focus Area Networks
Focus Area Networks (FANs) are groups that are focused on improving community outcomes within a particular focus area. FAN membership is usually comprised of community leaders, subject matter experts, organizational staff, practitioners, community members, and resident representatives who work together to implement and carry out Imagine Forsyth’s organization-level work.
FANs convene three times each year and contain multiple subgroups called Action Teams. Action Teams meet more frequently than the full FAN and their work is generally more specific and granular in focus. Imagine Forsyth has launched it’s first FAN — Food Access, with three additional FANs set to launch later in 2018:
Imagine Forsyth works on both the organization level and system level to move the needle on outcomes for our entire community.
The Food Access network is focused on decreasing barriers of access to healthy, affordable food.
Health & Wellness
The Health & Wellness network is focused on improving the health of the community. This FAN is coming soon.
The Housing network is focused on decreasing barriers of access to safe, affordable housing. This FAN is coming soon.
Income & Employment
The Income & Employment network is focused in improving the economic well being of individuals and the community as a whole. This FAN is coming soon.
Imagine Forsyth’s partner organizations each have a seat at the Advisory Table. These organizations are committed to the work of systems change and collaborate closely with iF’s other groups to move this work forward.