February 22nd Community Solutions Call Digest: Empowering Young Minds and the Case for Collective Impact

by | February 22, 2021 | Past Events | 1 comment

Anna Hollis, Executive Director of Amachi Pittsburgh joined the Community Solutions Call to share more on the organization’s mission of empowering young minds. A recording of the call can be accessed here.

Anna E. Hollis, Executive Director of Amachi Pittsburgh

Amachi Pittsburgh is tasked with advocating for youth and family resources on policy areas that are harmful to families. Its work is centered on the prevention end of the policy continuum and they advocate for progressive solutions with a collective impact mindset.

Amachi is Management Assistant Grant recipient that came to The Forbes Funds to hire a consultant. This consultancy effort allowed them to employ an individual who could build on feedback that Amachi received regarding its collaborative efforts, identifying successes, areas for growth, and more.

In her remarks, Anna Hollis, Executive Director of Amachi identified the common issue of fits and starts where grant funding ends and the work does accordingly. She noted that Amachi initially started as mentoring but evolved to flesh out more of a systems approach. This process required commitment and transformation to more sustainable and forward-thinking efforts.

The Case for Collective Impact

In its efforts, Amachi has focused on building a statewide coalition of agencies to hold state accountable for investing in children with incarcerated parents. The org has recognized the power of collective impact as a tool for organizations to stay within their scope while amplifying their impact. One result of this effort includes legislation with Secretary Wetzel to set aside “First Chance Act” funding for youth who are vulnerable to the justice system

This important work was followed with a collaborative approach to get Driver’s License Reform legislation passed. Another focus includes bail policies, as it is unjust to have people sitting in jail while not being formally tried. There are fortunately many organizations working in this space such as Allegheny Co. Jail Collaborative. Given there are both parallels and differences between juvenile and adult justice systems, organizations can be be informed by one another’s work while also covering a broad swath of issues.

A deeper review of Amachi’s mission to assess and address racial and ethnic disparities in the justice system are available in their case study on collective impact, available here.

Policy Updates from Arthur Pang

Federal Level Updates

  • Herd immunity could arrive in July of this year
  • Biden’s $1.9 T proposal is advancing
    • delays on this bill extenuate the negative impact on US households (e.g. unemployment rates, household debt)
    • Mortgage debt is rising dramatically nationwide
    • Wiping out $50K of student loan debt would relieve up to 80% of all loans
    • Almost 40% of women have left the workforce, marking a substantial population-level impact
Curve depicting potential for herd immunity, data courtesy of US CDC

State updates

  • Vaccinations are trending in the right direction
  • Support for electric vehicle use on the rise

Additional Items

  • Merrick Garland slated to become Attorney General
  • US returned to The Paris Agreement, a global commitment toward mitigating climate change
  • Texas Electricity returns (at least 58 people have died as of the call)
  • Unemployment chronically underfunded, continually impacting the bottom line.

Remarks from Fred Brown

The Forbes Funds would be remiss not to acknowledge that the direct impact of COVID on the nonprofit sector will be very real. That is why the institutions that collaborate and take up a measured approach and adaptive strategies will be the ones to weather the storm, including collective impact initiatives. Amachi showcases the agile and iterative leadership required of players in the sector.

The goal of The Forbes Funds is simple: build the capacity of organizations and leaders. It has been an arduous road of reconciliation and collaboration in the last year, but it has been cathartic to look at what has happened in the last 10-15 years that has brought forth the urgency of improvement.

Further, The Forbes Funds seek to create conditions that honor all people and their quality of life; ensuring the integrity of all. To that end, lifting up The Commons and International Anti-Racism Wireframe Cohort.

Additionally, The Forbes Funds announced that a new Director for the Greater Pittsburgh Nonprofit Partnership was selected and would be introduced on the next call, adding to the momentum and action being taken by The Forbes Funds to advance their work.

“Let’s be proactive, not reactive in our survival.”

Fred Brown, CEO and President of The Forbes Funds

Future Events

You can register for future Community Solutions Calls and programming by The Forbes Funds at this link. Thank you for tuning in!

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1 Comment
  1. Ali Jaffar

    There was a great case study presented for collective impact–I enjoyed learning about that! Also, it’s always a pleasure hearing updates from The Forbes Funds team and Arthur on policy updates in the local, state, and federal levels.

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