This report, the third in a series aimed at exploring the power of social networks, spotlights the stories of two enterprising organizations: Lawrence Community Works in Massachusetts and the Family Independence Initiative in California. Readers will navigate text infused with firsthand feedback from program participants and learn how both agencies are leveraging social networks in innovative ways to better serve America’s most fragile families.
A network organization can profoundly and positively impact the strength of a family
Findings & Stats
About Lawrence Community Works
Lawrence Community Works (LCW) promotes community change via a whole-family approach that offers leadership and development opportunities to each member in a household. Its network of 700 residents can participate in an comprehensive array of supports and services—everything from youth empowerment programs to homeownership training—in an environment marked by access, choice and open communication.
About the Family Independence Initiative
In the Family Independence Initiative (FII), women receive monetary awards and access to connections via self-selected peer groups that operate as a second—or replacement—family system. The organization’s greater goal is to arm low-income families with opportunities often associated with privilege and purchasing power and let them create their own pathways out of poverty.
The Marks of a Network Leader
By focusing on building sustainable connections—and not just providing services—network leaders tend to operate differently than their counterparts at traditional agencies. Their strengths include: sensing and seizing emerging opportunities, adopting a follow-to-lead management style and supporting the practice of leadership throughout their organization.
4 Rules to Know
Network organizations support four rules of relationship that help set the stage for how their members will interact and their network can grow. This report examines each of these rules, which are: 1) access leads to access; 2) choices are maximized; 3) co-adaptation is necessary and desirable; and 4) problems are solved jointly.
Statements & Quotations
Network organizations are demand-driven and highly flexible environments that place a high premium on choice and communication.
For network organizations, the whole is indeed greater than the sum of the parts.