Friday, April 29, 2011

If you want to go far, go together: Contra Costa Safety Net Summit

If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.
~Contra Costa Safety Net Summit, April 2011
What a great day of collective thinking and learning with an amazing group of people. I spent the day the Contra Costa Safety Net Summit which brought together stakeholders from across the safety net.

Jeff Kutash gave a thought provoking presentation on Collective Impact to drive large-scale social sector change. He presented fascinating examples from across the world ranging from the juvenile justice system to Strive, which is increasing high school graduation rates- reading and math scores and increasing the number of children in preschool to prepare for kindergarten. One example illustrated a community solution related to poverty. Farmers had a fixed amount of space and they could grow a fixed number of crop. By focusing on development of a better seed they were able to grow four times the crop in the same space. Farmers now earned four times the money. The community now had four times the resource. At one point it was suggested that a new system is within reach of safety net leaders. He summarized by noting that this sort of change requires the "usual suspects to work in unusual ways" - that's us!
He noted that in each example of collective success there were five conditions found:
1. common agenda
2. shared measurement
3. mutually reinforcing activities
4. continuous communication
5. backbone support organization

The picture below provides an illustration of his talk. I have to add here that Emily Shepard did such a great job capturing the day in picture and summaries. Click on the picture for a closer view.
I loved the map on the wall. We placed ourselves on the map. I learned a great deal by being able to see what the safety net looks like from this perpective. To my delight and surprise, I also found Matt Steifel from Kaiser (and a fellow IHI Fellow)at the map!
Wanda Session and Patricia Tanquary
The group identified gaps in the safety net as well as strengths.
The group set out some next steps, one of which will be forming a time-limited task force made up of cross sector representatives. The day closed with Supervisor John Gioia who grounded us in reality with the sobering facts and figures we all know too well. Health is not being experienced equally in our county. We know because it is our mission and our promise to leave no one out. We are dedicated to caring for all in our community with special attention to those most vulnerable to health conditions.

Supervisor Gioia closed with a quote from our 38th Vice President, Hubert Humphrey.
It was once said that the moral test of government is how that government treats those who are in the dawn of life, the children; those who are in the twilight of life, the elderly; and those who are in the shadows of life, the sick, the needy and the handicapped.
Hubert H. Humphrey

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