The Tigard-Tualatin School District wanted to bring together partners for a collective impact with the goal of Supporting Our Children and Youth: Strengthening Partnerships, Increasing Impact. As the initiative’s backbone organization, the District wanted to get people more invested in the issue and partnership, help members of the partnership begin to see the system in all of its complexity, and to create a space for natural partnerships to emerge. They also wanted to bring people together to imagine how the partnership might be able to do more and achieve collective impact by coordinating efforts.
The Athena Group met with the client and a small core group of stakeholders to assess the need and the purpose for the half-day gathering and from there developed the design and agenda. We then facilitated a highly interactive one half-day gathering for over 35 representatives of different organizations serving youth in Tigard and Tualatin Counties convened in Tigard, OR.
The gathering employed a combination of cutting-edge, dialogue-based and more traditional facilitative methodologies to ensure a high level of engagement and increase ownership. Finally, we translated the information gathered during the gathering into a concise summery document.
The invitation for the meeting asked participants to bring their experiences, expertise and critical thinking to engage deeply around the central framing question: What opportunities for impact might be possible if our collaboration reached its highest potential? This question prompted a series of powerful discussions around the most important issues for the partnership to be working together on that none of them can work on alone.
The group worked to identify strategies and actions that might be next steps for the partnership. Their conversation provided a solid starting point for identifying common ground and specific action items for moving forward. Working together, the core group will use the output from this gathering to develop an action plan that will help it realize its goal of “Supporting Our Children and Youth: Strengthening Partnerships, Increasing Impact.”