Gaining Momentum in CORE

Updates about SIF’s national initiative as we near the end of our cohort learning.

Over three years ago, the Social Innovation Forum (SIF) began looking deeply at our values and asking big questions about our work as a place-based intermediary. We had been introduced to a range of similar organizations around the country and as the pandemic arrived, it offered the opportunity for greater connection with these like-minded organizations. This led to SIF undertaking a national initiative of forming a peer-led learning cohort, Community Organizations Reimagining Ecosystems (CORE). 

Funded by Fidelity Charitable and the Allstate Foundation, SIF has been the lead planner and facilitator of CORE for the past 18 months. CORE has woven the fabric of connection and learning between eight groups around the US, from Seattle, Austin, New Orleans, D.C., Los Angeles, Detroit, and Boston. Our place-based disruptive change models have found partnerships, peers, collaborators, and a larger community. We have woven a larger web of conversations around what it means for those closest to the community to drive and facilitate change, and how impartial partners can facilitate and push values-based change in a productive way. Our work has begun to show us, and a broader community, that nimble impartial stakeholders have the ability to share power, shift, and move change in complex ways.

Throughout the 18 months, we've been traversing a fascinating set of topics from liberatory practices to marketplace approaches to power-sharing. Learning alongside one another has shown that we have much to gain from one another and that we can help other communities learn from the structures we have built. Based on our discussions in CORE, we are seeing many scalable aspects and evidence for how place-based work is important in both building connections and in transferring work to share knowledge and models. We are beginning to focus on the building of a national network for place-based intermediaries to elevate these models to funders and bring more attention to the change taking place in our communities.  

We will be working with our CORE partners to publish a paper this summer and to continue formalizing tangible strategies in place-based work. We hope that we can elevate practices and values that can continue to guide innovative and impactful change in our communities.