A more just and equitable society is a healthier society. The Trust’s Community Partnerships strategy supports communities across Colorado in recognizing and building their own power to achieve these conditions.
The Trust’s role in the partnership is to provide resources and investment for capacity building, community organizing and collaboration at a local level. The lion’s share of the work is done by communities themselves. Diverse teams of Coloradans identify the barriers to justice and good health in their own communities, and propose and implement solutions with funding from The Trust. By building their collective power, communities can best address the injustices that impact people disproportionately based on their race or ethnicity, their income or where they live.
A cornerstone of this work is that it centers the people most challenged by inequities, and believes in their power to organize themselves to advocate for change. When it comes time to create solutions, the people most affected by specific challenges should have a lead role in determining how to address them. For instance, if a community identifies a lack of affordable housing as a pressing issue, then those people who are most struggling to afford a place to live should have opportunities to articulate how the problem affects them, propose solutions and oversee their implementation.
Each community takes the lead in both crafting its own solutions and evaluating whether its efforts are meeting these goals. These solutions are rooted in addressing one or more social determinants of health specific to their community.
At the same time, the strategy has an overarching objective: To partner with communities to support them in building their collective power—and specifically the power of peoples that have been historically disenfranchised.
We believe that building power is foundational, not only to changing community conditions, but also to shifting the policies and systems that shape communities. With the power to advocate on their own behalf and influence the systems that surround them, people who have previously been excluded from decision-making will create stronger, fairer and healthier communities throughout Colorado.
COMMUNITY PARTNERSHIPS GUIDEPOSTS
The Trust is committed to a set of guideposts for the Community Partnerships strategy, which include that the work:
- Meaningfully involves people who are most affected by the challenges that their community is facing—in the leadership, planning, implementation and evaluation of the work
- Addresses one or more social determinants of health
- Seeks to narrow a health equity gap
- Focuses on an important need in the community (as demonstrated by community stories, conversations and data)
- Requires a deep understanding of an issue and its root causes, so that effective solutions can be identified
- Resonates broadly across diverse groups of people in the community
- Simultaneously builds resources, capacity and a strong team to lead this work, both short- and long-term.
The Community Partnerships process is, at its heart, a partnership between The Trust and a community. It is also a significant undertaking, requiring a great deal of volunteer work by community members who also have jobs and families. It is crucial that all sides enter the process with mutual understanding and agreement.
There are five phases to the Community Partnerships process: Connecting, Early Development, Development, Planning and Implementation. Click here to learn more about each of these phases, as well as where participating communities are in this process.
The Colorado Trust has a community partner working with communities in each of seven regions in the state. Trust community partners live in the regions in which they work.
The map below shows the Community Partnerships regions, as well as pin drops for the locations of communities currently taking part in this work. Click on any pin drop to view contact information for the community partner in that area of Colorado:
Watch the videos below to learn more about some of the Colorado communities where this work is underway.
To better understand the impact of the Community Partnerships strategy across Colorado, The Trust is working with several entities to perform a multi-level evaluation.
First, local evaluators are partnering with resident teams to assess their work and help them identify changes needed within community-level projects.
Second, an empowerment evaluation (managed by Change Matrix) is underway with funded communities and the local evaluators, to offer coaching, training and support for resident teams to design and conduct local-level evaluation of their health equity plans, and also to assure alignment with the strategy principle to build and sustain capacity in the communities. The evaluation measures are being directed by the resident teams.
Third, The Trust is working with an external contractor (Community Science) to complete a macro-evaluation of the strategy; at this level, the evaluation is assessing the strategy’s success in building power in communities.
Lastly, The Trust is conducting an ongoing process evaluation among resident teams, to better understand successes and challenges of partnering with The Trust on the Community Partnerships work. The goal is to use this feedback to improve the strategy and share back information, stories and learnings among resident teams. Evaluation contact: courtney [at] coloradotrust.org (Courtney Ricci, PhD), Head of Evaluation & Learning for Community Change, 303-837-1200.
GRANT AMOUNT: $22,828,157