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Theory of Change Workshop

I am currently in the middle of participating in the Edge Network's Theory of Change Workshop. Part of the United Church of Canada, Edge Network provides resources for new and renewing ministries. The Theory of Change workshop is a two week webinar for "communities of faith developing new ministries and new forms of ministry (or ministries going through renewal) that show potential for positive spiritual, social, and ecological impacts and potential for financial sustainability." Folks from Edge Network say, "We can have a greater impact if we think strategically about our desired impact while planning, implementing and evaluating our programs. By the end of this workshop, you will determine the precise link between your ministry's activities and outcomes for the purpose of planning, participation, and evaluation."

After several hours of reading, thinking, and commenting on other folks' discussion prompts, Greg and I have finished part 1 of the webinar: QC Family Tree's theory of change. I'd like to share it with you here. Please know that this is a living document. Who knows how it'll change after week 2 of the workshop. Plus, in the future, we hope to go through the theory of change process with staff, neighbors, and supporters of QC Family Tree to get a more full view and deeper perspective. For now, though, please read (get ready, it is long) and let me know your thoughts on what we've come up with thus far.

Theory of Change- QC Family Tree


Problem

The Enderly Park neighborhood in Charlotte, NC bears deep wounds of racial oppression and economic injustice, mostly at the expense of neighborhood residents who are majority black and generationally poor. We have identified, through relationship building and immersive listening, that among the complex problems our neighborhood experiences, QC Family Tree wants to make a difference in lack of affordable housing, limited opportunity for youth, and weakening natural helping networks

Mission

QC Family Tree is a neighborhood based community development organization that is cultivating community for the common good which is building a little village where abundance is coming to life. QCFT is relationally driven. Based on the current gifts and needs of the neighborhood, we are currently centering our work on affordable housing, youth empowerment, and community building.

Long Term Outcomes- 10 years

Little Village

  • QCFT partnerships and programs- youth empowerment, colaborers, abundance lab, kinfolk, org admin, and space- will fulfill the “Healthy Village” framework. This includes housing, commerce, social groups, healthcare, etc. [we’re still working on the “healthy village framework”]

Youth Empowerment

  • Youth will understand and communicate their personal cultural narrative for the purpose of social change.

  • Youth will be able to organize for social change in their community

  • Youth will be able to create achievable solutions for the issues they want to address in their community

CoLaborers

Abundance Lab

  • Participants practice a neighborly economy which includes sabbath keeping & sharing

  • Participants will use an asset based framework to solve local problems

Kinfolk

  • Neighbors will have an increased stability of housing and networks. In other words, they stay in the neighborhood and in community with QCFT

  • Organizational Administration & Physical Space

  • QCFT will maintain giving and partnerships to sustain the organization

  • Visitors and Neighbors are inspired by the beauty and hospitality of the physical space at QCFT

Midterm Outcomes- 5 years


Youth Empowerment

  • Youth will be connected to Elders, Culture Bearers, and Faith Leaders from a cross section of their community

  • Youth will be able to tell the story of their community, guided by their Elders, Culture Bearers, and Faith Leaders

  • Youth will understand how to build a campaign using grassroots power to affect change (broad based organizing techniques)

  • Youth will be able to identify winnable issues to address within their community

  • Youth will be able to develop and follow through on multi-step strategic plans

CoLaborers

  • Staff will demonstrate spiritual and professional growth in their areas of leadership

  • All staff have health insurance, retirement contributions, and financial counseling as needed

  • Staff have semi annual vacations and 5 year sabbaticals

  • Abundance Lab

  • Participants will build Natural Helping Networks in their own neighborhoods

  • Participants will know their neighbors’ personal narrative within .1 of a mile from their home

  • Participants will report an increase in walking and shopping within their neighborhoods

Kinfolk

  • Youth and Children show above average achievement in school, relative to the school population

  • Neighbors maintain stability of employment and/or start businesses themselves

  • Neighbors learn the skills of community organizing for the purpose of addressing issues within their community

  • Neighbors will be connected to Elders, Culture Bearers, and Faith Leaders from a cross section of their community

  • Neighbors will be able to tell the story of their community, guided by their Elders, Culture Bearers, and Faith Leaders

Organizational Administration & Physical Space

  • QCFT will increase giving and partnerships %50 by to sustain the organization

  • Visitors and Neighbors see themselves in the design and visual art of QCFT spaces

  • QCFT spaces, through design and visual art, tell the story of the community, guided by their Elders, Culture Bearers, and Faith Leaders

Short term Outcomes- 1-3 years


Youth Empowerment

  • Youth will be able to narrate their own life story in words and art.

  • Youth will demonstrate a sense of belonging within QCFT

  • Youth will be able to identify and describe in detail 3 of each of the following: Community Elders, Faith Leaders, Culture Bearers, and like-minded Community Development organizations in the South East.

  • Youth will create small campaign aimed at changing 1 issue in their community.

  • Youth will gain confidence in their ability to speak in public.

CoLaborers

  • Staff will show increased efficiency in work habits

  • Staff will communicate thoroughly regarding individual tasks and progress

  • Staff will collaborate with one another on overlapping projects

  • Staff will celebrate institutional and personal progress

  • Staff compensation and benefits will increase to a minimum of 20hrs week/$20hr for all permanent staff

  • Staff will develop a personal plan for their spiritual & professional growth

Abundance Lab

  • Participants will narrate the story of their block with an abundance perspective

  • Participants will recount the Exodus story, comparing and contrasting to the present

  • Participants will know what locally owned businesses are near their neighborhoods.

  • Participants will actively engage in 1 experiment of abundance.

Kinfolk

  • Neighbors will demonstrate a sense of belonging within QCFT

  • Neighbors will be able to identify and describe in detail 2 of each of the following: local Community Elders, Faith Leaders, Culture Bearers, Entrepreneurs, Civic Leaders, Partner Organizations and like-minded Community Development organizations in the South East.

  • Neighbors will create small campaign aimed at changing 1 issue in their community.

  • Neighbors will gain confidence in their ability to speak in public.

Organizational Administration & Physical Space

  • QCFT will increase giving and partnerships by %20 to sustain the organization

  • 1 QCFT space per year is updated, through design and visual art, to tell the story of the community, guided by their Elders, Culture Bearers, and Faith Leaders

  • QCFT communication plan (donor, email, social media, etc) will be consistent and strategic in demonstrating the narrative and importance of QCFT

Activities and Outputs


Youth Empowerment

  • Neighborhood Youth Group Meetings (weekly, out of school time, leadership team, HFGclub, etc)

  • 25 year round participants at 60% attendance

  • 60 summer only participants at %75 attendance

  • 1 weekly 90 minute mtg

  • Use original curriculum for weekly mtg- curriculum centers on abundance perspective, organizing for social impact, public speaking, narrating own story through art/words, and exposure to Elders, Faith Leaders, and Culture Bearers

  • Healthy meal served at each mtg

  • 20 Visits and Exposure to Community Elders, Faith Leaders, Culture Bearers, and like-minded Community Development organizations in the South East. (per year)

CoLaborers

  • Staff Participate in Professional development and Continuing Education

  • Minimum of 2 CE events per staff member per year

  • Structure Staff Meetings for Training, Celebrations, and Reflection rather than updates

  • Rotate leadership of Staff meetings among team members

  • Rotate purpose of staff meetings: visioning, management, exploration

  • Publish staff meeting agenda with new goals

  • Request staff update their progress through basecamp, 1 on 1’s, and peer check ins (weekly)

  • Dance parties and hoorays

  • All staff and board participate in fundraising strategy

  • Each staff makes contact with 6 new potential donors per year

  • Board and Staff recruit new board members who contribute to the needs of the board, specifically fundraising

  • Each staff creates 1 new institutional (formal, with MOU) partner per year.

Abundance Lab

  • Create and Host 3 new Abundance Lab cohorts in 2020

  • 24 participants complete the program

  • Each participant enacts an Experiment of Imagination on their block

  • Participants report back and increased number of trips they had by walking

Kinfolk

  • Form a QCFT chapter of our local IAF affiliate

  • Neighbors will be trained in 1 on 1 mtgs

  • Neighbor will have 50 1 on 1 mtgs per year

  • QCFT will host twice monthly community meals

  • Host an informal meal for 40+ people 2x a month

  • Invite Community Elders, Faith Leaders, Culture Bearers, Entrepreneurs, Civic Leaders, Partner Organizations and like-minded Community Development organizations in the South East to attend

  • Engage in storysharing, directed conversation at community meals

  • Social Impact and Storytelling events

  • Host 2 public performances per year, highlighting stories of neighbors

  • Average attendance of 200 people

  • Host stakeholders dream lab to determine how we might be able to leverage or grow this strategy to deepen impact

  • Collect names and contact information of attendees

  • Communicate with attendees about other ways of participating in QCFT and social change

Organizational Administration & Physical Space

  • Create a Fund Raising Plan

  • Update data base

  • Align communications with fund raising plan

  • Increase timeliness and volume of our donor thank you’s and follow ups.

  • Update Physical Spaces

  • Create a Master list of facilities and space projects

  • Develop partnerships with Elders, Culture Bearers, and Faith Leaders who will partner for the purpose of telling the story of the community through art and design at QCFT

  • Create QCFT communication plan (donor, email, social media, etc)

  • Increase # of social media posts and engaging by %50

  • Send two printed newsletters via mail and email yearly

  • Monthly email announcements

Assumptions

  • QC Family Tree is a neighborhood based community development organization that is cultivating community for the common good which is building a little village where abundance is coming to life. QCFT is relationally driven. Based on the current gifts and needs of the neighborhood, we are currently centering our work on affordable housing, youth empowerment, and community building.

  • There are people are motivated by working for the common good rather than individual achievement. However, within the context of economic scarcity, individualistic and fear based responses are heightened within communities.

  • Stability is important- the ability to remain in place is an important social determinant for people experiencing poverty to improve their lives.The long term effects of Adverse Childhood Experiences, traumatic events, and systemic inequities can work against the effect of long term stability

  • Proximity of neighbors to one another across social barriers creates more opportunity for positive change. The effects of changing demographics and systemic inequities can work against the positive effect of proximity

  • Grassroots power is achievable, sustainable, and efficacious. However, widening inequality and lack of access to systemic power makes grassroots organizing difficult to sustain.

Inputs


People Resources

  • Staff

  • Neighbors

  • Skilled volunteers

  • Board of Directors

  • Partner Organizations

Money Resources

  • Charitable Contributions

  • Religious Funding

  • Grantmaking

  • Rental income

  • Fee for Service

Space Resources

  • Staff housing

  • Affordable housing for neighbors

  • Office Space

  • Meeting Space

  • Studio Space

  • Public Space

Material goods

  • Vehicles (for 15)

  • Computers

  • Food

  • Washer/Dryer

  • Supplies for programming/activities

  • Technology

  • Website

  • Social media

  • Communication tools (Remind app, dojo)




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