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connect / 2016

SPARK!: CONNECT-CONVENE-COLLABORATE will promote LA’s culture of interconnectedness

SPARK!: CONNECT-CONVENE-COLLABORATE will promote LA’s culture of interconnectedness Play Video Play Video Play video on

Idea submitted in the My LA2050 Grants Challenge by Southern California Center for Nonprofit Management

The Center for Nonprofit Management will strategically promote opportunities for connectivity, sharing and innovation for social innovators working for positive change across Los Angeles

Please describe your project proposal.

Last spring, researchers at UCLA announced that giving in LA is down $1 billion a year. That shocking finding means that annual galas and golf tournaments are great but given the distress across our community, it isn’t enough. So, in the words of frustrated partners, “it’s time to talk.” SPARK!: CONNECT-CONVENE-COLLABORATE will bring together leaders and innovators from all sectors across LA to provide peer support and promote new collaborations to solve LA’s biggest problems.

Which of the connect metrics will your proposal impact?​

  • Social & emotional support
  • Government responsiveness to residents’ needs
  • Rates of volunteerism
  • Total number of local social media friends and connections Angelenos have

In what areas of Los Angeles will you be directly working?

  • Central LA
  • East LA
  • San Fernando Valley
  • South LA
  • Westside
  • Gateway Cities
  • Antelope Valley
  • County of Los Angeles
  • City of Los Angeles

Describe in greater detail how your proposal will make LA the best place to connect?

As the leading nonprofit convener in Southern California, the Center for Nonprofit Management has over 35 years of experience working to assist nonprofit leaders, staff, and board members striving to achieve their missions. SPARK!: Convene-Connect-Collaborate aims to increase the level of collaboration and peer support for a diverse group of public, private and nonprofit innovators operating in LA County. By fostering a culture of connectivity within and outside of the nonprofit sector, LA can build its reputation of interconnectedness that best serves the residents of our city. This program will encourage new connections among nonprofit leaders to provide the social and emotional support they need in their high-stress roles through peer support programming, and expand their access to others in the social sector, not just the nonprofit world, who are working to make positive change in new and innovative ways. We aim to expose leaders to new ways of sharing resources and ideas that can benefit everyone they serve. The result is an increased positive and long-term impact that each organization can make in our community. SPARK!: Convene-Connect-Collaborate is a two pronged program: First, we will bring together nonprofit leaders and innovative thinkers and doers from other sectors by hosting three large events. We will invite nonprofit leaders to participate by accessing our vast network of nonprofit partners. They will in turn invite someone they think is doing interesting work – either from the nonprofit, corporate or public sector. The events will be designed as a forum to connect: sharing ideas for creating social change, triggering new thinking and perspectives, and encouraging continued collaboration among the leaders. CNM will facilitate these three interactive events over the course of 9 months, leading participants through the strategies, methods, and practical tools for effective and productive community partnerships. For the second prong, CNM will build upon the connections that were made during the large scale events and incubate new cross-sectoral partnerships. By incubating new ideas and providing an environment for people to talk on a regular basis, we will promote long lasting partnerships that ultimately serve to improve services for those in need across LA. Small groups of participants will commit to meeting every other week and each group will set the agenda for the calls. CNM will facilitate these meetings and ensure that participants are getting the peer support and follow through that they need to be successful. Our goal is that these working groups will get people to talk about how to resolve some of the most pressing issues Los Angeles is facing, and continue to meet long after the grant is completed.

Please explain how you will define and measure success for your project.​

The Center for Nonprofit Management aims to: 1) provide networking and collaborative opportunities for nonprofit leaders and social innovators across Los Angeles; and 2) provide peer emotional and professional support by incubating new venture partnerships through small group sessions.
We will evaluate the program’s success based on the following:

  1. The number of participants who have not participated in such a convening before and found it valuable to their operations;
  2. The number of new collaborations that emerge after the program is completed, and what those collaborations look like; and,
  3. Qualitative evaluation results that show how the small peer groups helped provide peer support. Specific questions to be asked include:
    • Did you develop strategic partnerships to advance the work of your organization?
    • Did you obtain support and wisdom from peers or a network?
    • Number of organizations and/or innovators who you plan to work with now or in the future
    • Number of times your small peer group met and schedule of future meetings

We will conduct pre and post program surveys before and after the program to determine effectiveness of the large scale convenings and the small group incubator component. We will also measure our success in facilitating new partnerships and collaborations between the participants.

How can the LA2050 community and other stakeholders help your proposal succeed?

  • Money
  • Volunteers
  • Advisors/board members
  • Publicity/awareness
  • Infrastructure (building/space/vehicles etc.)
  • Education/training
  • Community outreach
  • Network/relationship support