San Joaquin County/Stockton, California: Needle-Moving Collaboratives Three-Year Follow-Up

04/27/2015 | 2.5 min |
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Summary

San Joaquin's community collaborative doesn't use a typical top-down "collective impact" approach, where community leadership play a prominent role in setting goals. Rather, Community Partnerships for Families of San Joaquin is a permanent organization that engages in a variety of diverse collaborative partnerships. The organization does not focus on a single issue or tightly connected set of issues. Instead, it develops a wide range of partnerships around such issues as violence prevention, financial self-sufficiency, and health.

If we had to do it again, we would be even more targeted in our goals and not have so many goals. We don't want to be a jack-of-all-trades.

Robina Asghar, Executive Director, Community Partnerships for Families of San Joaquin

Focus areas: Education, public health, financial inclusion, violence prevention. Tracked metrics have included crime rates in neighborhood of centers.

Founding date: 1998

Results at time of 2012 study: From 2004 to 2011, crime rate in the neighborhood of the North Central Stockton Family Resource Center dropped by 65 percent.

Leadership (backbone): Community Partnership for Families of San Joaquin

Most recent results: Comparison data for 2013–14 for the same geography not available.

San Joaquin's experience over the last three years: In our 2012 report, we cited that crime in North Central Stockton (where the initiative opened its family resource centers) declined 65 percent between 2004 and 2011. Comparable data has not been able to be obtained since then; in addition, the collaborative's scope has expanded, and the community is starting to measure results around other issue areas.

Among all the communities in our study, San Joaquin's is probably the furthest from using a typical top-down "collective impact" approach, where community leadership play a prominent role in setting goals. Rather, Community Partnerships for Families of San Joaquin is a permanent organization that engages in a variety of diverse collaborative partnerships. The organization now does not focus on a single issue or tightly connected set of issues. Instead, it develops a wide range of partnerships around such issues as violence prevention, financial self-sufficiency, and health. "Collective impact is a top-down approach," said Robina Asghar, the organization's executive director, who is explicit about the ways in which the work in San Joaquin differs from collaborations in some other communities. "What we do is results-owned community change. We do the work, but it comes from the bottom." Community Partnerships focuses on engaging families and communities to define their problems and develop their own solutions, rather than dictating specific interventions.

Its home city of Stockton is going through bankruptcy, which has led to severe cuts in a range of social services. "One thing we learned," said Asghar, "is that resources are not always money. They are champions, volunteers, and committed staff." Because of financial constraints, Community Partnership has left some of its positions unfilled. "But not positions related to data collection and outcome reporting," said Asghar. "Because funders are looking at return on investment, you have to be able to demonstrate the outcomes of your work."

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