At times I step back and look at the BHC initiative and wonder, Could we have made it more complicated? Fourteen sites. Multiple grantees in each site. A core set of inter-linked health issues. Multiple state-level grantees. And the expectation that the parts will add up to something greater than the whole and catalyze a convergence that builds power at the community level and leads to greater impact.But then supporting an agenda for social and community change requires multiple strategies operating in alignment; good data, message framing, and storytelling; influential messengers and convening and facilitating champions; innovative models; "grassroots and treetops" coordination; and meaningful community engagement.

Top 10 Lessons Learned on the Path to Community Change
  • Take plan to time, and plan to take time - the process of getting to consensus and clarity is bumpy and messy and might take much longer than you originally planned
  • Don't lead with the money - Announcing how much you plan to fund can sometimes incite all manner of posturing, controlling behavior, and political gamesmanship among potential grantees
  • Don't get too attached to logic models - it's wiser to commit to the process of active, real-time learning
  • Be transparent about desired results - accept your collaboration's limitations and constraints
  • Be dogmatic about results, but flexible about strategies - once community leaders and funders agree on a set of outcomes and objectives, those outcomes and objectives must become your "true north." Strategies should be results-driven and supported by a logic model
  • Active, engaged listening can lead to better trust
  • Acknowledge the importance of "patient" and "urgent" grants and make both kinds of grants
  • Storytelling by community leaders, young people, and/or community-based organizations can work to advance change in multiple ways
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