Fostering Regional Collaboration: Immigrant & Refugee Services

February 7, 2017

Claire Hundelt, Program Manager, Daughters of Charity Foundation of Saint Louis

Gateway Center for Giving Member Blog Post

by Claire V. Hundelt, Program Manager with the Daughters of Charity Foundation of St. Louis

The Daughters of Charity Foundation of St. Louis has been actively engaged in supporting organizations that help immigrants and refugees with the many challenges of their new lives in America. In the spring of 2014, the Daughters of Charity Foundation of St. Louis, Lutheran Foundation of St. Louis, and the Saint Louis Mental Health Board hosted three gatherings to convene area provider groups serving immigrants and refugees. The purpose was threefold: to strengthen the work provided to our region’s aspiring Americans by increasing the networking and relationships among professionals and key stakeholders; to enhance understanding of the gaps in safety net provisions available; and encourage proactive planning to prepare the community for changes to the nation’s immigration policies. The gatherings confirmed that efforts underway to serve this population were increasing as new programs were being introduced resulting in knowledge gaps about available resources. The outcome  of these gatherings was the formation of an all-volunteer community-based group of concerned professionals and citizens known as Immigrant Service Provider Network or ISPN.

With nearly thirty members, ISPN has since formalized its structure by identifying executive committee leadership, creating bylaws, and forming working groups. Since 2015, this all-volunteer network has developed membership support and strategic outreach, started a resource directory, implemented a community education and enrollment outreach designed to explain the DAPA (Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents) and DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) programs. Missouri Immigrant and Refugee Advocates (MIRA) serves as the primary convener and fiscal conduit for project activities. With MIRA’s support, ISPN has offered free of charge educational clinics to help prepare immigration documents and delivered webinars on topics including Immigration 101, employment, and DAPA training. The coalition also created a website and developed education materials.

The funder collaborative between Daughters of Charity Foundation of St. Louis and Lutheran Foundation continues to support the staff position at MIRA assigned to actively support ISPN outreach as well as host for the ISPN work groups. The collaborative between MIRA and the ISPN participants has led to a leadership development strategy to strengthen member and volunteer capacities for effective action.  As a result of ISPN’s work in the community approximately 450 individuals were served in 2016.

Click on one of the following links to learn more:


Collective Impact for St. Louis Children: Where Are We Now?

May 16, 2012

By: Richard Patton, Executive Director- Vision for Children at Risk (VCR)

About 18 months ago, via broadcast, email Vision for Children at Risk shared a link with a wide range of St. Louis area organization to an article on “collective impact” that had just come out in the Stanford Social Innovation Review (SSIR)That led to a discussion with several area nonprofits (Vision for Children at Risk and Beyond Housing and its 24:1 initiative) and local funders (Incarnate Word Foundation and Deaconess Foundation) exploring the possible use of a collective impact approach in St. Louis to address children’s issues.

In April 2011, a blog appeared in this spot examining how the collective impact approach might be employed in St. Louis. A season of meetings and forums on collective impact followed, initiated by the Incarnate Word and Deaconess Foundations sponsoring a visit to St. Louis by representatives of the Strive Partnership in Cincinnati — an initiative that the authors of the original “Collective Impact” article have identified as a best-in-class example of the approach. The purpose of that initial series of meetings was to raise the awareness of St. Louis area funders and nonprofits about the concept of collective impact and to present detailed information on its use. Additional forums followed, one sponsored by the Nonprofit Services Center in June and another by the Rome Group and Gateway Center for Giving in July.

In subsequent months a delegation from St. Louis attended the Strive National Network Convening in Portland, Oregon. Meanwhile in the St. Louis region nearly a score of local initiatives emerged citing collective impact as a core principle of their work. Some initiatives, such as the Nine Network’s American Graduate, have invested the time and effort to fully explore the concept and understand the details and nuances involved in employing a collective impact approach. In other instances it is not altogether clear whether some of the initiatives have a precise grasp of what is entailed in establishing a true collective impact undertaking, as much as they are simply invoking the term. Read the rest of this entry »

Reflections on “Collective Impact” and Missouri’s First Wholly Nonprofit Health Benefits Plan

August 4, 2011

By: Chris Miller, The Mission Center L3C

Recently I had the pleasure of attending the St. Louis nonprofit community’s annual philanthropic landscape event hosted by The Gateway Center for Giving and The Rome Group. To say the least, I was encouraged by how much resonance the concept of “collective impact” appears to be having with our colleagues throughout the region.

As a former community organizer and, now, founder of a company whose entire purpose it is to catalyze ever increasing levels of collaboration among nonprofits,  the idea of “collective impact” is not just an academic concept…for The Mission Center and clients like The Gateway Center for Giving, it’s a rallying call and professional way of life.

While we here at Missouri’s first for-profit charity see on a daily basis the benefits afforded to organizations by virtue of pooling back-office operations like accounting, human resource and information technology management, no where have we seen a greater illustration of this idea than in the commitment that 60 organizations – representing nearly 900 lives – made to live out the values of collective impact by coming together under The Mission Center banner to join our nonprofit health benefits program.

Looking back at the events that led to The Mission Center’s successful creation of Missouri’s first nonprofit health benefits pool, I think it’s important to note that “collective impact” doesn’t always begin with a fully-fledged strategic plan and a clear outline of exactly what steps will be taken to achieve the ultimate goal. While I’d like to say that our team had a perfectly designed plan for how to accomplish this historic collaboration from the outset, the reality is that it was a much more organic process that took form over the course of the organizing campaign and required constant re-evaluation in light of new developments. More often than not, it’s been my experience that meaningful collective impact begins with tactical considerations, baby-steps and learning from the experience in real-time. In light of that, fear of the unknown – of “getting it right” the first time – should not be held forth as an excuse for inaction.

The key is to do something – anything – to get the ball rolling and begin the process of creating positive collaborative change. The problems facing St. Louis and the country at-large are too big for any one of our organizations to solve alone. Not only is it a moral imperative, but for many organizations, it’s the only way to survive in an era of decreasing resources and increasing need on the part of our clients.

As a great man once said, “Collaborate, or die.”

The Rome Group’s 9th Annual Philanthropic Landscape

July 14, 2011

Hundreds of nonprofits and grantmakers gathered this morning at the Edison Theater at Washington University for The Rome Group’s 9th annual Philanthropic Landscape presentation to the community.  The event was led by Amy Rome, President of The Rome Group, and Mary McMurtrey, President of the Gateway Center for Giving.  They kicked off the presentation with a report on how giving in St. Louis compares with giving nationally and discussed recent trends in giving.  Some notable statistics from the presentation include:

  • Giving USA reports that total giving in 2010 rose to more than 290 million dollars. When adjusted for inflation, the increase was 2.1% compared to 2009.
  • Of all philanthropic revenue streams, bequest giving saw the largest turnaround. Bequest giving increased 16.9% in inflation adjusted dollars after declining by 24% in 2009. Read the rest of this entry »

Philanthropic Landscape 2011- The Pursuit of a Collective Impact

June 27, 2011
Giving USA reports that total charitable giving in the U.S. in 2010 was up 2.1%. But did St. Louis area nonprofits keep pace? Find out at The Rome Group’s PHILANTHROPIC LANDSCAPE 2011 event, July 14, 2011, 7:30-10:00 a.m. at Washington University’s Edison Theater. This free event features a summary of our own surveys of local nonprofits, grantmakers and individual donors, as well as a panel of local leaders currently engaged in Collective Impact initiatives.

Click here to Register to Attend!

Scheduled panelists include Jillian Callanan, chief community-building officer for Beyond Housing’s 24-1 initiativeStacy Clay, representing the College Access Pipeline projectBetsy Cohen, a leader with the St. Louis PetLover CoalitionKendra Copanas, director of the Maternal Child & Family Health Coalition; Bridget McDermott Flood, discussing Incarnate Word Foundation’s Marketplace of Ideas initiative in North St. Louis; Robert Fruend, CEO of the St. Louis Regional Health Commission; and Susan Trautman, executive director of Great Rivers Greenway. Read the rest of this entry »

Collective Impact in St. Louis?

April 7, 2011

By: Richard Patton, Vision for Children at Risk

Last November, Vision for Children at Risk provided an Internet link to some key local stakeholders to an article in the Winter 2011 edition of the Stanford Social Innovation Review titled “Collective Impact”.  Shared with some St. Louis area nonprofit organizations, funders, and civic leaders who are focused on broad-scale, strategic community action, the article stirred interest. Now, through the leadership of some forward looking local foundations, representatives of Strive Cincinnati — perhaps the leading collective impact initiative in the country — are coming to St. Louis on April 7-8 to discuss the overall strategy and the workings of the Strive initiatives in Cincinnati and other cities.  Sessions will be held that involve local funders, nonprofits and civic leaders.

Collective impact is defined by the authors of the SSIR article, John Kania and Mark Kramer, as “the commitment of a group of important actors from different sectors to a common agenda for solving a specific social problem.”  In a recent New York Times op-ed shared by Mary McMurtrey at the Gateway Center for Giving, David Bornstein described collective impact as “a disciplined effort to bring together dozens or even hundreds of organizations in a city (or field) to establish a common vision, adopt a shared set of measurable goals and pursue evidenced-based actions that reinforce one another’s work and further their goals.“ Dozens of cities have embarked on various types of collective impact initiatives addressing different problems and needs. Read the rest of this entry »

Exploring Collective Impact

January 20, 2011

imageBy: Lindsey Greenberg, Gateway Center for Giving

Although it is not necessarily new, the concept of collective impact is growing and sparking conversations around the country.  Collective impact is defined by the Stanford Social Innovation Review as “the commitment of a group of important actors from different sectors to a common agenda for solving a specific social problem”.  In their most recent report Collective Impact, authors John Kania and Mark Kramer note that “large-scale social change requires broad cross-sector coordination, yet the social sector remains focused on the isolated intervention of individual organizations”.

The report outlines five conditions of success for a collective impact initiative to be successful: 1) Common agenda, 2) Shared measurement systems, 3) Mutually reinforcing activities, 4) Continuous communication, and 5) Backbone support organizations.  It highlights Strive, a nonprofit subsidiary of KnowledgeWorks, which has brought together leaders to tackle the student achievement crisis and improve education throughout greater Cincinnati and northern Kentucky. Read the rest of this entry »

%d bloggers like this: