Our original plan for this month was to write about thankfulness – how thankful we are for you, our partners, who are the best part of what we do. We are grateful and humbled every day that we get to work alongside such inspiring people and organizations, whose efforts and initiatives are making a difference throughout the country. But we also want to touch on the election and its implications. We work with partners who have been advancing policy and community strategies to address important issues at all levels, from individual lives to how communities, cities, regions and the country respond to problems. During times of significant political and social shifts, it can be difficult to maintain the momentum of this work. Yet, the importance of it has not diminished; if anything, it is even more important.
Core to who we are at Spark is our commitment to engage in learning and reflective processes in a way that helps our partners identify what still holds true about how you can act to advance the issues you care about, and when and how you need to adapt. We also want to reaffirm our commitment to addressing inequity, ensuring voices are heard, accepted, and respected, while building capacity, in an effort to drive meaningful systems change for all.
Spark Policy Institute develops innovative, research-based approaches to help clients solve complex societal problems that defy easy solutions.
Tools for Social Innovators
Although we haven’t solved all of society’s complex issues, we are working toward this goal by supporting incremental change. Recognizing that we are all in this together, we’ve collected a lot of lessons and developed a lot of tools over the years, which we have compiled in our Tools for Social Innovators series. We’re highlighting a few here that are designed to drive systemic change while keeping a focus on equity and inclusion of those most affected by the change.
Messiness and conflict are inevitable parts of systems change. Depending on your approach, however, they can actually signify that your initiative is making major transformations and thinking outside of the box. But how can groups harness these challenges and turn them into positive drivers of change? By focusing in on key elements of emergent strategy. This two-part blog looks at four focal elements that will help your initiative use emergent strategy to drive toward change that matters, while avoiding getting bogged down by the messiness.
Making a Meaningful Difference
One of our values and priorities at Spark is working closely with our partners, learning every step of the way, and achieving outcomes that make a meaningful difference. We believe in going beyond project by project work and applying the lessons we’ve learned that can help the field and others learn and grow.
As we continue to do our part to promote equitable systems change, we are also mindful that it is not enough to proclaim we are allies: action is important. Kindness, creating safe spaces, demonstrating compassion, and extending a hand is of the utmost importance, especially when we see divisive and hateful rhetoric and actions. Whether it is speaking out when we see oppression, making a point to get to know our neighbors better, collecting donations for a food pantry, or visiting an elderly or homebound friend, it’s good – and necessary – to give back. Our communities are stronger when we connect with each other! Want to get involved?
Click here for a list of food banks throughout the country.
This site has information on how to volunteer or donate to help the homeless in the Denver Metro area.
Interested in volunteering at home or abroad? This site lists volunteer registries throughout the US and the world.
As a reminder, today is #GivingTuesday, a global day of giving, either by donating time, money, or simply your voice. In addition to the links we shared above, the Giving Tuesday website has a great list of resources to help you find charities and events in your community!