Too Much Collective, Too Little Impact: Aligning Multiple Initiatives in One Community

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5 November, 2014

The growth of collective impact initiatives around the country gives rise to this dilemma: What happens when several initiatives in one community pursue overlapping missions, members and audiences? How can they reduce competition and redundancy, and increase impact? The Forum for Youth Investment shares lessons from its work with communities to align multiple collective impact efforts, and then turns to a case study: Northern Kentucky, where the Forum for Youth Investment helped several education-focused initiatives align through one backbone organization. Hear about the tools, analysis and "uncomfortable" conversations that enable collective impact efforts to work together.

This webinar will further explore the themes discussed in the article, Aligning Collective Impact Initiatives


  • Merita Irby, co-founder and chief operating officer, the Forum for Youth Investment
  • Polly Lusk Page, executive director, Northern Kentucky Education Council
  • Karen Pittman, president and CEO, the Forum for Youth Investment
  • Register: $60

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Related Webinars:

October 8, 2014 - Communities Defining Quality Collective Impact

January 20, 2015 - It’s About the Community: Why Community Engagement and Process Matter in Collective Impact


Merita Irby is co-founder and chief operating officer at the Forum for Youth Investment, and is a chief architect of both the Forum and its signature initiative, Ready by 21®. Irby previously worked as a classroom teacher in Central America and inner-city schools in the United States. As a senior research associate at Stanford University, she worked on a five-year study of community-based urban youth organizations and co-authored Urban Sanctuaries: Neighborhood Organizations in the Lives and Futures of Inner-City Youth. Irby also directed a multi-site study on school collaboration with youth organizations with Karen Pittman at the Center for Youth Development and Policy Research. In 1995, she joined Pittman in starting the President's Crime Prevention Council, chaired by Vice President Al Gore. They then joined the International Youth Foundation, charged with creating its Learning Department. Irby has also served on the boards and advisory committees for numerous organizations, including the American Camp Association and the Civic Mission of Schools. She earned a master's degree in public policy from the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University.

Polly Lusk Page is the executive director for the Northern Kentucky Education Council. Previously the director for community engagement and education initiatives with the Partnership for Successful Schools, Page also served as the literacy specialist for the Kentucky Department of Education, and taught at both the elementary and post-secondary levels for over thirty years. Page served as chair for the first NKY Dropout Prevention Summit and chaired the Education Business Summit: Champions for Education: Focus Locally, Compete Globally a NKY Community Summit. She was also a member of the state Blue Ribbon Panel on Interventions for Low Performing Schools and Districts, statewide Adolescent Literacy Taskforce, and was appointed by Governor Beshear to serve on the School Curriculum, Assessment and Accountability Council.  She serves as a board member for both the NKY Workforce Investment Board (WIB), and the Brighton Center and is a member on several committees. She has been recognized for leadership and outstanding contributions to civic education and engagement in Kentucky by The Congressional Conference on Civic Education, and was the recipient of the 2013 Kenton County Public Library Foundation's Mary Ann Mongan Literacy Award and the 2014 Outstanding Women of Northern Kentucky Helen Carroll Lifetime Leader in Education Award.

Karen Pittman is president and CEO of the Forum for Youth Investment. Pittman started her career at the Urban Institute, conducting numerous studies on social services for children and families. She later moved to the Children's Defense Fund, starting its adolescent pregnancy prevention initiatives and helping create its adolescent policy agenda. In 1990 she became a vice president at the Academy for Educational Development, where she founded and directed the Center for Youth Development and Policy Research and its spin-off, the National Training Institute for Community Youth Work. In 1995 Karen joined the Clinton administration as director of the President's Crime Prevention Council. From there she moved to the executive team of the International Youth Foundation (IYF). In 1998 she and Rick Little, head of IYF, worked with ret. Gen. Colin Powell to create America's Promise. Pittman has written numerous books and articles on youth issues, and has served on numerous boards and panels.

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