THREE QUESTIONS FOR: Amy Glass, Director of Community Planning & Impact
Q: What excites you most about the approach Federation’s Community Planning and Impact Team is taking? Where are our collaborative opportunities emerging?
Amy: It’s a wonderful time to be part of the Community Planning and Impact Team. As we explore what our community work on the Front Porch means, we’re seeing Jewish organizations come together in ways we haven’t in the past. One example is the work Jewish Home Life Communities (JHLC), Jewish Family and Career Services (JF&CS), and the Marcus Jewish Community Center of Atlanta (MJCCA) are doing to address the needs of older adults through the AgeWell Atlanta initiative. Where once their work was siloed and at times competitive, they’re now working together to provide a coordinated continuum of services and supports designed to improve or maintain wellness by supporting older adults’ ability to remain as active, independent and socially connected as possible, wherever they reside. Projects like this are a true expression of our community agencies rising up to care for ourselves and others. Our team’s role, as a backbone support in projects like these, is to be the neutral convener that helps them provide best practice research and pursue fundraising support. Every day, I get to help agencies be the best they can be, so they in turn, can enable members of our community be the best they can be.
Q: What do you mean when you talk about collective impact?
Amy: Collective Impact is an organizing strategy which brings together diverse stakeholders with an interest in solving a complex problem. It’s about coming up with an agenda they can agree on, aligning their work in ways that collectively address that agenda, finding ways they can measure whether their strategies are successful, and talking together regularly to learn from the work they’re doing so there are continuing opportunities to refine and improve their strategies. The AgeWell Atlanta initiative is an example of agencies coming together to capitalize on their individual strengths to address a common agenda — in this case, enabling older adults to age well in our community. This is a complex problem with multiple moving parts, a problem which is too big for an individual, family member, or agency to solve on their own.
Q: How is our Ecosystem working to weave a stronger network that will foster collective impact over time?
Amy: When we talk about our Ecosystem, we mean all the Jewish organizations in the Greater Atlanta community. Imagine what it would be like if all those organizations were talking to each other, working together to solve common challenges. Our team is working hard to create an environment where this can happen. We’re pulling all our Jewish organizations together on a regular basis, to network, learn, and explore what’s possible from a community perspective. We’ve got a great group of people we call “Ecosystem Weavers” — organizational representatives, who are natural network connectors. They’re the people who have a pulse on the whole, who can call you and say, ‘we need you,’ so they’ll listen. They can help you connect to someone with a similar interest to yours. Federation is investing in strengthening our Ecosystem, so collectively we can address any challenges our community faces. Over time, I think you’ll see more collective impact initiatives like AgeWell Atlanta.