our approach

Cross-Sector Collaboration for Equitable Systemic Change

SIE’s unique approach is based on the core belief that for our country and democracy to thrive, it is critical to take collaboration for equitable systems change to a completely new level and institutionalize it as a standard practice for solving social problems.

Our collaborative networks are cross-sector because the problems our society faces are too large and too complex to be solved through the efforts of any single constituency. They require a concerted effort that transcends sector lines, and shifts multiple systems levers concurrently to achieve equitable outcomes.

We believe that while philanthropy has a critical role to play, including as a catalyst, it must be one of many partners that includes business, government, nonprofits, and communities, as well as diverse political, socioeconomic, and racial groups.

Community participation is fundamental to our approach

Community members are engaged from the earliest stages and play a leading role in all decision-making and implementation.

Collaboration that shifts systems requires a mindset and practices outside of the current norm. It requires that many people take the time to build a cohesive collaborative network based on mutual trust. It asks each member to actively listen and seek shared understanding.

It relies on the ability of each member to put aside egos and agendas in service of a higher collective purpose. Last but certainly not least, it demands shared ownership among its members, each of whom is an equal partner.

Model of Collaboration

SIE’s collaborative model has several key elements that can be applied to any issue. We use specific methods to bring stakeholders into a common equity-centered vision and set of actions – including trust-building with people who have very different strategic perspectives. Our work follows an adaptive framework of steps.

SIE’s Role

SIE serves as a backbone organization in collaborative network initiatives focused on systems transformation and as a field builder creating core civic infrastructure, organizing funding, and sharing knowledge to catalyze more systems initiatives and collaborative networks.