In a blog post earlier this year, we discussed how helping individuals, families, and communities achieve equitable outcomes starts with intentional efforts, a commitment to collaboration, and reliable data. Healthy communities include physical health and social determinants of health. Addressing health disparities is not only important from an equity standpoint, but also for improving the overall health and economic prosperity of communities and the individuals and families who live in them. In short, society becomes a much better place when we have health in the community.
According to the Institute for Healthcare Improvement, “health equity is realized when each individual has a fair opportunity to achieve their full health potential.” None of us achieves success on our own. As the old saying goes, “it takes a village.” We recently learned of a group of nonprofit leaders in Dallas, Texas who are collaborating to improve outcomes and close health equity gaps in some of the city’s most impoverished areas.
Intentional Efforts in Action
The residents of southern Dallas live in both a food desert and an infrastructure desert. This means that they lack easy access to affordable nutritious food and other essential resources, such as healthcare, financial resources, and public transit. Bonton Farms works to address these challenges by putting people at the center of their own services.
According to Bonton Farms founder and CEO, David Babcock, “Our job is to walk alongside them on their journey, not to ‘fix’ them.” They believe people can change their lives for the better, if they have access to the right resources and education. Bonton creates innovative solutions that start with listening to the people who are most affected by the problems. Using this process, they’ve developed programs that include nutrition classes, financial education, and job training. They also work to address food insecurity through two local farms that provide fresh produce to a Farmer’s Market. Bonton even opened a cafe and a coffeehouse in areas otherwise empty of restaurants.
Another organization working to address challenges in southern Dallas is Harmony Community Development Corporation, or Harmony CDC. They strive to achieve their mission of “strengthening families and revitalizing neighborhoods” through a series of collaborative partnerships that expand their services and increase their impact. For example, Harmony CDC works with Legal Aid of Northwest Texas to provide legal services in the otherwise underserved area. They also partner with The United Way, Metro Dallas Homeless Alliance, and the City of Dallas to help residents find and stay in affordable housing. This collaborative provides case management services, along with rent and mortgage assistance.
TREC Community Investors is the philanthropic arm of a large real estate organization in northern Texas. Their efforts to promote equitable development in South Dallas’ Forest District start with community-wide partnerships built on trust. TREC’s community partners include churches, business leaders, community service providers, and government entities. The goal of these collaborations is to revitalize local infrastructure and expand economic opportunity. Through strategic investments, they hope to bring more business and jobs into southern Dallas.
Collaborative efforts to create equitable outcomes are strengthened through technology. According to Stanford Social Innovation Review, social impact measurement helps organizations with shared goals better understand the combined impact of their interventions. Which then increases the overall impact of their collective efforts. Social impact measurement also helps individual organizations learn from and optimize their own services, prioritize interventions, and increase fundraising.
One necessary component of social impact measurement is a centralized technology platform that allows stakeholders to collect and store information for the use of all the partner organizations. Individual organizations can also use this shared information to understand how their own programs are contributing to the community. Shared technology can also build trust among a collaborative partnership by reporting progress using agreed-upon metrics.
As more and more communities adopt collaborative models to drive social change, we can all learn from their progress and their increased impact on those they serve. The right technology makes collaboration possible by simplifying and streamlining data collection and analysis for the varied organizations providing services in the collaborative.
SureImpact shares your passion for driving long-term social change. Our purpose-built platform is specifically designed to provide a coordinated data collection and shared measurement infrastructure for all members of a social-good network to evaluate the effectiveness of their individual and collective initiatives.
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