Resolving Organizational Challenges through Communities of Practice

by | June 21, 2021 | Past Events | 0 comments

“Her work is transforming how we serve our sector and also the way that we support our teams.”

Fred Brown, President and CEO of The Forbes Funds

The Forbes Funds was joined today by special guest Dr. Somava Saha, the Founder and Executive Lead of Wellbeing and Equity (WE) in the World and Well Being in the Nation (WIN). A recording of this call can be accessed at this link.

Creating Communities of Solutions

In her insight talk, Dr. Somava argued that people lack well-being. This is not strictly due to the lack of resources, which is important, she argued. Rather, it is a problem of distribution and lack of trust in one another. Hence, she discussed the importance of creating communities of solutions to tackle systems of inequity, achieve transformative outcomes, and achieve measurable impact on local communities. But how?

slide on the Varqa Foundation.

Dr. Somava illustrated her point by detailing her work with the Varqa Foundation in the Rupununi region of Guyana. Here, she helped unlock the “trapped and untapped potential” of the community, which suffered from chronic medical negligence of the state. Over the course of ten years, the community and the foundation worked together to develop solutions that were beneficial to the community. She highlighted local community eventually took a leading role in the systems design process and transformation, as illustrated below.

slide that highlights a mental and resource shift when building a community of solutions

This trust-building process within the community between the locals and the partner organization allowed for a new mindset to emerge. This mindset, as Dr. Somava said, is focused on potential, abundance, and asking questions. Thus, it allowed this one community in Guyana to flourish. But how is it applicable in the American context?

Using the Well Being in the Nation (WIN) measures or using core measures that focus on human well-being. The focus on social well-being as part of the planning process and working authentically with different communities allowed for helpful interventions and outcomes to be made on multiple scales.

Black Equity Coalition

Update Slide from the Black Equity Coalition - presented by Alissa Monette

Alissa Monette of the Black Equity Coalition (BEC) was happy to announce that the Pennsylvania Department of Health Covid-19 vaccine dashboard now displays data according to race and ethnicity. For more information, please follow this link.

Watch the video here if you missed the panel discussion on COVID-19 & vaccinations with Dr. Johnson on the 15 June 2021 call.

The BEC has inquired whether people have participated in the Juneteenth Vaccination Program hosted by the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center (UPMC), Gateway Health & Allegheny Health Network (AHN). If so, the BEC would like to hear back from the community if anyone participated in the vaccination program.

GPNP Policy Updates with Colleen Young

Housing Update

Housing update slide presented by Colleen Young.

Colleen Young has noted that individuals who need rental assistance can access resources by following this link.

Election Law Update

Pennsylvania House Republicans have released HB 1300 Voting Rights Protection Act, meant to protect the integrity of the electoral process in the state. The bill contains several bipartisan provisions, such as increased voting access for those with disabilities and early in-person voting. However, Governor Tom Wolf has come out against the bill for the following reasons:

  • Voter ID restrictions
  • Excessive limitations on mail-in voting
  • Signature matching on mail-in ballots without standards or equitable process
  • Strict limits on the use of drop-boxes
  • Limit on the # of in-person voting centers
  • 5-year ban on voter registration for those convicted of a felony (unconstitutional)
  • Empowers unelected election advisory board

Unemployment Update

Pennsylvania’s May employment rate is down to 6.9% but that is above the national average of 5.8%.

The largest gains in the labor market have been in education and health services, and the biggest loss has been in construction. However, all super-sectors are still below February 2020 numbers.

Over 400,000 people have filed for unemployment benefits using the new UC system.

American Rescue Plan Comment Period

The Pennsylvania Department of Health and Human Services has announced a comment period for a proposed spending plan for enhanced federal funding for home and community-based services. This plan also includes a 10% increase to Federal Medical Assistance Percentages (FMAP) for services covered by Medicaid.

The plan focuses on increased access to services, increased payment rate, and benefits such as increased use of assistive technologies, caregiver support, and counseling for workers. For more information, please follow this link.

Care Giver Support Update

HB 464 – updating the Family Care Giver Act has been signed by Governor Wolf. The program supports caregivers of older adults, grandparents looking after grandchildren, and older caregivers of adults living with a disability.

This aligns Pennsylvania’s Fellowship Supports Coordination Agency (FSCA) with the Federal National Family Care Giver Support Act. Specifically:

  • Clarifies eligibility for participants
  • Removes statutory spending limits
  • More flexible to Area Agencies on Aging (AAA) to build customized plans for individual caregivers
  • Removes $2000 limit to lifetime limit to home modification

Lead Remediation Update

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and the Department of Health encourages county and local governments to apply for the U.S. Department of Housing and Development (HUD) Lead Hazard Remediation Grant.

The grants are worth between 1-5 million dollars, and applications are due by 12 July 2021. For more information, please follow this link.

LGBTQ Rights Update

Governor Tom Wolf has signed an Executive Order updating sexual policies at the workplace. It adds sexual orientation, gender identity, or expression as protected classes under sexual harassment policies.

Action Reminders

Colleen Young reminds nonprofits to take part in advocating in the Pennsylvania budget process. Nonprofits need targeted relief-NOW; download the advocacy toolkit here to advocate.

Allegheny County Board of Health has recently approved a public commenting period regarding sick leave, which will run to 26 June 2021. Information on how to submit written comments can be found on this link.

Also, there will be a public hearing that will take place on 26 June 2021. For more information on how to register and please follow this link.

Sustainable Developers and Investors Roundtable

Slide for sustainable developers and investors roundtable that takes place on June 24th 3:00-5:00pm.

Kellie Ware invites everyone to participate in the Sustainable Developers and Investors Roundtable on 24 June 2021 from 3:00 pm to 5:00 pm. The event is geared to those looking to identify new funding opportunities and develop creative solutions to social problems. Get more information on the Sustainable Developers and Investors Roundtable and sign up here.


ACCEL registration

Maria Paula Quintero has announced that ACCEL is accepting applications for their new marketing and fundraising course. Nonprofits who are interested in learning how to enhance their marketing and fundraising skills are advised to take this course. For more information, please follow this link.

“We sit at the intersection of where we see good ideas seemingly unconnected come together.”

Fred Brown, President and CEO of The Forbes Funds

Future Events

You can register for future Community Solutions Calls and programming by The Forbes Funds at this link. See you at the next Community Solutions Call or a number of our upcoming events here!



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