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News & Press: ICA News

Building Partnerships—Local to National

Thursday, July 6, 2017   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Samantha Sainsbury
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For many years, ICA has been working on creating intentional and meaningful institutional partnerships with organizations that share our values and are looking for more effective ways to engage their constituencies. The following is a snapshot of four unique collaborative partnerships that have emerged in the past few years.

Group of ToP Facilitators
at the WIC Conference

Training in Oahu, Hawaii

Reflecting outside—one of the
benefits of training in Hawaii!

LISC Chicago Plans training
for Quality of Life planning

Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) 
This April, ICA partnered with Prevention First to provide facilitators for the annual WIC conference in Illinois. A design team, comprised ICA Staff and ToP Network members, partnered with WIC staff to create meaningful reflection sessions after each plenary. The design  team convened a group of 17 facilitators throughout Illinois to facilitate the sessions so that all conference attendees could participate in small groups. Over the course of the three-day conference, each facilitator hosted three conversations. Conference attendees reported that they appreciated the opportunity to have facilitated dialogue that elicited their feedback and needs related to the presentations. ICA hopes to continue this partnership in the coming years. 

Kamehameha Schools
Also this past April, ICA worked with Kamehameha Schools in Oahu, Hawaii, to design and deliver a three-day training on ToP Facilitation Methods for Community Engagement for Kamehameha staff and local community partners. The course introduced tools from ICA’s vast toolbox to build local capacity around engaging communities in their own changemaking, including methods to develop strategy and implementation steps for community plans. The training was also a learning experience for trainers as they flexed participatory methods to serve the local cultural nuances in Olelo. ICA is currently working with Kamehameha to continue to explore the collaboration and next steps for more training. 

Local Initiative Support Corporation (LISC - Chicago)
ICA has been partnering with LISC Chicago since 2015. LISC first partnered with ICA staff and consultants to design Chicago Plans—a four-part series of workshops aimed at preparing community members to lead and engage in participatory planning processes in neighborhoods across the city. For two years, the two organizations worked on Chicago Plans, which put 20 three-person, neighborhood-based teams through the training. This year, ICA and LISC embarked on a new journey together, training local community leaders in ToP facilitation methods in preparation for their Quality of Life planning journey with LISC. Currently, a cohort of 30 people from three neighborhoods are learning tools to help them to better engage their communities in the planning process. ICA is looking forward to working further with LISC and co-developing more curriculum together in the future.

Chicago Regional Organizing for AntiRacism (CROAR)
For many years, ICA has shared trainers and colleagues with CrossRoads, a national anti-racism training organization. Three years ago, CrossRoads opened a local chapter, CROAR. CROAR’s organizing model aims to create anti-racist institutions; they train organizations in dismantling systemic racism and help foster anti-racism teams within organizations. Additionally, CROAR uses ToP methods to help anti-racism teams organize, create plans of action, and continue to move organizations towards anti-racist policies and practices.

ICA and CROAR continue to develop creative ways of working together and mutually build organizational capacity by sharing expertise. Currently, an ICA Staff member sits on CROAR’s leadership team. CROAR trained a number of ICA staff and board in their anti-racism training, ICA trained CROAR staff in ToP methods, and ICA hosts a monthly caucus at the GreenRise for CROAR training participants. CROAR also led a workshop before the 2017 ToP Annual Conference.

These partnerships are only a sliver of the many that ICA staff and colleagues currently foster throughout the U.S. Each ToP Trainer, 107 in the states, and our 86 Certified ToP Facilitators creatively serve and partner with local communities, organizations, and individuals and continue to build their capacity to engage people in their own changemaking practices.