Education Initiative Hosts First In-Person Convening
The 13 BIPOC-led community-based organizations (CBOs) that make up the St. Joseph Community Partnership Fund’s (Fund) Education Initiative gathered this month in person for peer learning, deepening of relationships, and sharing of their programs’ successes. The CBOs focused on education in the Washington and Montana regions represent the communities most impacted by educational injustices. Although the organizations’ work varies from “birth to three” to interrupting the “school-to-prison and school-to-prison-to-deportation pipelines,” their foundations are interconnected as they all support youth and families.
While we often see investments jump straight into an implementation or campaign strategy, the Fund recognizes the importance of establishing trust, values alignment and strengthening relationships between potential partners as a prerequisite before the work begins. In the Fund’s other initiatives, we have seen this investment of time, facilitation, coaching, and funding lead to greater impact further in the future.
During the Initiative’s virtual convening in November, the importance of in-person collaboration was palatable, which is why the January event was in the flesh. Over the day, we focused on face-to-face connections and cultivating future relationships between the CBO leaders, which is often tricky on a video call.
Beyond Traditional Capacity Building
Thinking beyond the scope of traditional capacity building – a tenet of the Initiative – like technical assistance and coaching, we offered professional headshot sessions for the attendees. Headshots add resources for leaders to amplify and promote their work and support their leadership development. It offers an often costly service that can help boost its positioning on social media sites like LinkedIn and its organizations’ websites.
KAYA strategik, our partner in the Initiative, provides individual and specialized capacity building services for each of the CBOs. The in-person convening offered KAYA and the CBOs the chance to discuss their goals, fine-tune their strategies, and strengthen their connection. As a result, KAYA will finalize their capacity building strategies which range from creating education materials for boards and staff to assisting with fiscal sponsor relationships.
One of the most impactful parts of the day was the opportunity to be present and learn about a historically Black neighborhood and significant community space led by one of the CBOs. It was an excellent opportunity for all of us to see the fantastic work being done on the ground. During the structured sessions and more casual events like the portrait party, we were energized by the work the CBOs are doing to build lively, hopeful, healthy, and just communities. We look forward to sharing a summary of the 13 programs at the conclusion of the Initiative this spring.
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