The Rider Pool Foundation is leveraging the recent downtown development activities to sustainably and measurably improve conditions in some of the most underserved neighborhoods in Allentown, PA and the surrounding Lehigh Valley. They created a Collective Impact Action Learning Fellowship program – bringing together visionary, passionate leaders and organizations that represent diverse community systems to understand and explore new ways to work together towards common goals.
The Athena Group was invited by the Rider Pool Foundation to participate as a faculty member of the Fellowship Program. We provided a day and half training on the Application of Collective Impact Principles. We highlighted learning in system leadership processes and methodologies, such as circle practice, appreciative inquiry, hosting processes, building social capital, and graphic harvesting. Fellows also practiced getting clarity on purpose, setting boundary conditions, designing powerful questions, and building strategy maps.
The Fellows were hungry for real, live tools and practices they could apply to their work together in the community. In their strategy mapping, they identified a desire to double home ownership in the Allentown Promise Neighborhood from 20 percent to 40 percent. The Fellows have the tools and practices to make this happen.