Guiding Principles

Our experience and approach to place-based population change enable us to work collectively with place-based initiatives to support them to effectively impact change in their communities. The following describes the guiding principles that ground our work.

We are your co-conspirators.

We don’t offer out of the box solutions or fly-by, one-off support. We get into the weeds with our partners, helping you uncover and leverage your community’s unique assets and strengths by centering your residents and utilizing data-driven, evidence-based approaches to community change. We are fluent in the language and tools of the field and serve as translators for our partners, bridging between practitioners and researchers or funders.

We believe in the strength of community-led approaches.

All of our work is ultimately in support of communities. We partner with those who amplify the voices and leadership of local residents and understand that those closest to the problems must be the ones determining their desired future and charting the path to realizing it.

We aim to confront challenges facing populations disproportionately impacted by racists systems and oppressive structures.

We recognize the historical and present-day systems of oppression that contribute to poor outcomes for Black, Indigenous, and other people of color. We work deliberately with our partners to change this and actively pursue racial, economic and sex/gender - based justice.

We acknowledge process without outcomes is not progress.

No matter the approach, terms, or tools our partners use, we help them understand their context, make sense of complex adaptive systems, and ultimately achieve their resident-defined outcomes. We work with partners to develop customized tools to collect data that measures the impact they seek to have in their communities. Most importantly, we help communities make sense of the data available to them and take action based on what they discover. 

We value relationships.

We prioritize our relationships with others in the field and simultaneously seek to connect our partners to each other, knowing that collaboration and collective learning are crucial to driving  impact. The history of extraction from marginalized communities compels us to always attribute learning, resources, and other intellectual property, and we expect our partners to do the same.

We prioritize learning and inquiry.

Our partners know that when they engage with us, they enter into a collaborative learning environment where they learn from each other, our team, and our collective network. We intentionally curate spaces that build trust across the network and center our engagements in participatory action, where participants learn by doing, whether we are co-producing case studies, a collective capacities survey, or a social media campaign. We transparently share our own internal processes and strategies so that others can adapt and build upon them.