Lessons From Casey’s Strategic Coinvestor Approach to Community Change

Posted August 19, 2020, By the Annie E. Casey Foundation

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.

View the infographic

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