Starting in September 2017, the Foundation began convening a facilitated peer-learning cohort of 15 leaders from five organizations, including San Antonio’s Good Samaritan Center, P16 Plus Council of Greater Bexar County, Rise Recovery, Say Sí, and the San Antonio Christian Hope Resource Center. Each of these organizations is provided with an outside assessment using the Impact Capacity Assessment Tool (iCAT). The assessment through a context lens leads to the completion of a custom two- to three-year capacity-building plan for each organization. During the cohort year, the organizational leaders meet on five occasions, and HEBFF provides a small amount of operating support to each organization. Once the leaders complete the cohort program, they will continue to plug into peer learning and capacity-building opportunities for two more years.
“The capacity-building supports from HEBFF have been game changing,” said the executive director of P16Plus, Ryan Lugalia-Hollon, who has worked in the youth development field for nearly 20 years. He continued, “Like so many other nonprofit leaders, we are used to jumping through hoops to secure the supports we need to live our mission. This process has been the exact opposite experience. Through hands-on coaching, national guidance, and powerful general operating supports, HEBFF has given us a powerful boost to think, act, and dream at the next levels of excellence.”
We are testing our approach along the way and seeking feedback from the cohort after each gathering. We also have enlisted the support of experts in the field and an advisory council to ask hard questions as we progress through the 24-month pilot. Our council includes:
- Don Crocker, Senior Fellow at The Support Center in New York
- Liz Sack, Executive Director at Cricket Island Foundation
- Phil Li, President and CEO of Robert Sterling Clark Foundation
- Esther Larson, Director of Affiliate Development at Hope for New York
- Sandi Paloma-Gonzalez, Director of Capacity Building at San Antonio Area Foundation
- Meg Loomis, Capacity Building Strategist for Methodist Healthcare Ministries in San Antonio
- Ellie Coplin, an Evaluation Officer for St. David’s Foundation in Austin
Jon Hinojosa, artistic and creative director of Say Sí, said, “Convening with experts in the field and working collaboratively as a group has provided great insight … We are now sharing information, resources, and opportunities to grow as a field of practice. That, to me will be the lasting impact—collectively strengthening our organizations, each other, and most importantly, the community we serve.”
We’ve been encouraged by the feedback we’ve received from the cohort so far and are excited to keep building this project. Rosheger recently kicked off the process of selecting a second learning cohort, which will begin this fall.