Thursday, August 6, 2009

And Still More Summer Reading, The Last Dropout, Stop the Epidemic!

Bill Milliken's book traces the development of the Communities in Schools movement. His funding base is fairly traditional fundraising: corporate sponsors, individuals, government appropriations, etc. The interesting take away for nonprofit leaders concerns program strategy and design. Communities in Schools views it work as creating a third side of a triangle of support for children to stay in school and succeed. The first two sides of the triangle are administration and teaching methods. The Communities in School side which completes the triangle is “the coordinated involvement of community members who can meet the nonacademic needs of students...” Milliken points out that when this third side of the triangle is ignored it undermines “. . .the huge and necessary investment we're making in the other two sides of the triangle.”

Do you look at the services you provide as completing a triangle (or other shape) that bolsters other investments? One recent project I helped design involved setting up services for youth in an Enterprise Zone which as one of its impacts will bolster other “huge and necessary” investments in the Zone. How does your work make the work of others more effective? Can you add a service that provides a third side to an existing but wobbly two-sided triangle?

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