As you juggle life in the midst of multiple pandemics, you may want to hear a story that provides inspiration.
ICL’s work allows us to witness the adaptation happening across geographies, sectors, and differences. We offer this story of progress to inspire you and your leadership:
The communities in Southwest Pennsylvania face gnarly challenges of improving water quality. To do that, many disparate entities across a large region need to collectively address the complex water issues. In fall 2019, leaders in the region approached ICL about helping with this potential new network.
Working with a team from The Water Center at the University of Pennsylvania, ICL designed and led a full day meeting in December. Over 25 leaders gathered from nonprofits, government agencies, conservation districts, universities, water utilities and foundations. Throughout the conversations, leaders articulated the big opportunities they saw for addressing the complex water challenges. The energy was high during the meeting and the group named a clear next step for working together — a need to engage a wider set of leaders across the entire region. We set two additional meetings for March.
Then, dangers of COVID19 became evident. For health’s sake we cancelled the meetings. We took a breath, and asked, “Now what? How can we maintain our momentum?” We wondered, “How can we bring over 80 people together online in a way that will actually build connections and a deeper understanding about how to improve water quality in the region?”
And so, we collaboratively crafted an experiment. Using ICL’s deep experience and local leaders’ wisdom, we created a three-week series of virtual activities and meetings to engage new people. The experiment worked– the online engagement proved as or more successful than the planned in-person meetings! When asked, 94% of the leaders felt they meaningfully contributed to thinking about water issues and the potential for the network. Most surprisingly, most participants said that the interactive meetings allowed them to make new contacts that they could use right away in their day to day work for water quality.
ICL wants to bring our special skills to more collaborations. Spread what we are learning. Build on it. Reach more leaders wanting to keep their momentum going.
We need your help to do that — please consider a gift to our Virtual Collaboration Campaign.
Your contribution will be matched dollar for dollar by the Munson Foundation. By giving whatever you can, you can help us reach our $7,500 goal. Your gift will help leaders working on complex issues, like water, that impact community and environmental health.
Thanks, in advance, for supporting ICL as we seek to offer creative approaches to building strong collaboratives in our new virtual world.
Dianne and the ICL team
P.S. If you’d like to see more of what your donation supports, check out ICL’s 7 Tips For Effective Remote Collaboration!