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Resource Library

Solar Power in Rural Communities

The webinar discusses how Community Action can leverage solar energy to maximize impact in rural communities.

Why Should Nurses Know About Social Determinants of Health?

Nurses have the ability to address social determinants of health in patients and refer those with health barriers to resources. Doing so can have a long-term impact on patient health.

Dotte Agency: A Participatory Design Model for Community Health

As community activists resist racial injustice, food insecurity, and infrastructural delinquency, many groups are attempting to articulate the voice of the citizen. It is within this landscape that architects have historically struggled to find common ground to afford democratic access for citizens to engage in discussions about the future of their city. Based upon surrogate models of other professions, there has emerged a proactive movement towards Social Impact Design. Like many urban core areas, our community faces a health epidemic compounded by poverty. In response to requests for collaboration, and through cross-disciplinary academic partnerships in both public health and social welfare, we have begun to leverage design advocacy to improve health outcomes. This has evolved into an alternative model of practice that advances public design through interdisciplinary, adaptive and incremental spatial agency. It is a sustainable practice that fosters conversations and supports events originating from within the community. Our approach seeks to scaffold an infrastructure of public health through methods of participatory design and advocacy. Through new forms of design intelligence and collaborative design tools, our critical spatial practice demonstrates new ways for how architectural design can be relevant to society.

Human-Centered Design: Bringing humanity into the built environment

With my experience entrenched in the built environment, I came to Greater Good Studio (GGS) curious to learn more about human-centered design (HCD). During my time here, I have really been pushed to reconsider what it means to place the user’s experience at the center of a design process, particularly in the context of built environment design and community development.

Community Engagement Matters (Now More Than Ever)

Data-driven and evidence-based practices present new opportunities for public and social sector leaders to increase impact while reducing inefficiency. But in adopting such approaches, leaders must avoid the temptation to act in a top-down manner. Instead, they should design and implement programs in ways that engage community members directly in the work of social change.

Making It Real: Only Authentic Community Engagement Can Be Equitable

We cannot expect those who control the system to make the changes that will impact people with lived experience. Even those organizations with the most genuine intentions can contribute negatively and unknowingly to conditions that oppress those who are marginalized. It is nearly impossible to manufacture solutions to solve problems when one is incapable of understanding the entirety of one’s conditions. It is only through a process of authentic community engagement where individuals with lived experience can be included the discussion as decision makers and drivers of those solutions.

The Pathway to Gender Equity… The Need to Dismantle White Privilege

Equity is the fair treatment, access, opportunity, and advancement for all people, while at the same time striving to identify and eliminate barriers that have prevented the full participation of some groups. Improving equity involves increasing justice and fairness.

Equity as defined above requires us to examine and dismantle the “barriers” that prevent the full participation of certain groups. In order to dismantle the barriers, we must understand the institutional, historical and structural causes of inequities. Additionally, the different factors that equate to a person’s multiple identities -relating not only to gender, but also to race, ability, age, education, sexuality, class, ethnicity, religion and more — can impact one’s experience of discrimination. These various identities and factors intersect and intertwine, which means gender equity cannot be achieved without all forms of equity. This is what Kimberle Crenshaw meant when she coined the term, “intersectionality,” specifically in regard to the experiences of black women. And we can never achieve gender equity if we do not create more equitable systems and policies.

Good Design: Principles for Advancing Equity

Sara Aye speaks to DSI students as part of the Fall 2018 Global Guest Lecture Series.

Beloved Community Equity Audit 

With the Equity Audit, we’ve built a comprehensive online tool that addresses both people-facing and system-facing change. The Equity Audit is informed by our DEI Standards and Indicators (DEISI) and requires leadership to consider the role of equity in their governance, finance, operations, program, pedagogy, and culture (adult culture and youth culture). In addition to addressing the key functions of any school or workplace, our Equity Audit assesses DEI for all of the key stakeholders in the organization.

Racial Equity: Getting to Results

Currently across the country, regardless of region, racial inequities exist across every indicator for success—including health, criminal justice, education, jobs, housing, and beyond. We know these inequities are incongruent with our aspirations. The Government Alliance on Race and Equity (GARE), a joint project of the Haas Institute for a Fair and Inclusive Society at the University of California, Berkeley and Center for Social Inclusion, recognizes that we can and must do better. We know that government has a key role in advancing racial equity, and therefore are modeling at the local level how it is truly possible for government to advance racial equity and to develop into an inclusive and effective democracy.

A Snapshot of Chicago Youth Outcomes

Moving along the cradle to career continuum, Chicago has over 850,000 youth on the path to adulthood. Too often, headlines focus on stories of despair instead of hope, arrests instead of restorative justice, and high school dropouts instead of college graduates. This Snapshot of Outcomes offers a few headlines that you may not have seen.

Aligning Collective Impact Initiatives

Communities can suffer from too many initiatives, creating overlap, inefficiency, and frustration.

Cocreating a Change-Making Culture

When collaboratives get intentional about culture, they can more quickly and more effectively tackle social problems at the magnitude at which they exist.

Targeted Universalism

The challenge of othering and belonging is the challenge of our time. Putting these ambitious changes on the agenda for equity advocates cannot be more critical.
Targeted Universalism is a much-needed framework for putting belonging into practice—for grounding the idea of what structural belonging and inclusion can look like in its most robust and radical sense.

Equity: The Soul of Collective Impact

The long, rich history of community-building work in low-income communities and communities of color provides a foundation of theory and practice on which today’s collective impact framework must build to achieve results commensurate with society’s biggest challenges. That foundation is equity—just and fair inclusion into a society in which all can participate, prosper, and reach their full potential. Equity, both racial and economic, must be infused through all aspects of collective impact processes, from the deep engagement of communities to the collection and analysis of data; the design and scale of solutions; and the capacities, point of view, and roles of backbone organizations.


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For assistance with Management & Operations resources, please contact: Courtney Kohler

For assistance with Innovative Practices resources,    please contact: Hyacinth McKinley

For assistance with Census 2020 resources, please contact: Lindsay Marsh

For assistance with Energy Partnerships & Programs resources, please contact: Kathryn Maddux