Lessons From Casey’s Strategic Coinvestor Approach to Community Change

Posted August 19, 2020
Learn the eight components of Casey's coinvestment approach

When the Annie E. Casey Foun­da­tion joined local part­ner­ships in three com­mu­ni­ties through its Fam­i­ly-Cen­tered Com­mu­ni­ty Change™ (FCCC) ini­tia­tive, it did so with a new approach called strate­gic coin­vest­ing. A two-page info­graph­ic describes this approach, as well as lessons for both com­mu­ni­ties and fun­ders gleaned from an eval­u­a­tion of the sev­en-year effort.

FCCC estab­lished local part­ner­ships in neigh­bor­hoods in Buf­fa­lo, New York; Colum­bus, Ohio; and San Anto­nio, Texas, and inte­grat­ed strate­gies for work­ing with par­ents and chil­dren togeth­er ― known as a two-gen­er­a­tion approach ― with­in exist­ing com­mu­ni­ty change efforts.

Our goal was to join, sup­port and strength­en exist­ing com­mu­ni­ty-based ini­tia­tives, bring­ing not only our invest­ments but also what we had learned about the ben­e­fits of sup­port­ing par­ents and chil­dren togeth­er,” said Amoret­ta Mor­ris, direc­tor of Nation­al Com­mu­ni­ty Strate­gies at the Foundation.

The info­graph­ic sum­ma­rizes the orig­i­nal eight com­po­nents of the strate­gic coin­vestor approach, including:

  • flex­i­ble grant funding;
  • a high-touch fun­der staffing model;
  • nest­ing an issue of focus ― in this case, two-gen­er­a­tion strate­gies ― with­in a broad­er com­mu­ni­ty change effort; and
  • facil­i­tat­ed net­work­ing and learn­ing across communities.

A third-par­ty eval­u­a­tion by TCC Group doc­u­ment­ed lessons for adapt­ing the approach in the future. The main take­aways? For both par­ties, the strate­gic coin­vestor approach required a change in think­ing, flex­i­bil­i­ty and hon­est com­mu­ni­ca­tion. Com­mu­ni­ties had to con­sid­er how to max­i­mize the tech­ni­cal assis­tance offered and what they hoped to gain from it.

Casey’s coin­vestor approach, test­ed with our local FCCC part­ner­ship, played a sig­nif­i­cant role in how our local ini­tia­tive estab­lished its foot­ing as a col­lab­o­ra­tive part­ner­ship,” said Hen­ri­et­ta Munoz, senior vice pres­i­dent for grant research and eval­u­a­tion at the Unit­ed Way of San Anto­nio and Bexar Coun­ty. This approach also gave us room to influ­ence how the Foun­da­tion showed up in the com­mu­ni­ty and how they sup­port­ed com­mu­ni­ties like ours that are build­ing a two-gen­er­a­tion field.”

Fun­ders adopt­ing this approach, the eval­u­a­tion found, will need to work on build­ing trust, being mind­ful of pow­er dynam­ics and estab­lish­ing a good fit with com­mu­ni­ty partners.

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