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Affordable Housing , Community Development

Collective Impact: A Model for Sustainable Community Development

9 April 2013

Hartford’s Frog Hollow neighborhood takes its name from the marshy conditions once caused by the Park River, which forms the northern boundary of the Frog Hollow Historic District. The main railroad line beside the river provided the backbone for late nineteenth-century factory development, which brought houses, schools, churches and stores. The classic working-class neighborhood of 35 square blocks exists much as it did at the turn of the last century.

Frog Hollow remains one of the city’s most historically intact neighborhoods, yet it is also one of the poorest. Among its 10,000 people, 40 percent of families live in poverty, and home ownership hovers at less than 10 percent.

Over 30 non-profit organizations provide various services in Frog Hollow. Most tend to operate without much communications with one other.

A group that includes Hartford Areas Rally Together, Trinity College, Leadership Greater Hartford and Mutual Housing Association of Greater Hartford came together to form a Frog Hollow Stakeholders Coalition using the principals of collective impact which include:

  • Common Agenda -- All participants have a shared vision for change including a common understanding of the problem.
  • Shared Measurement -- Collecting data and measuring results consistently among all participants ensures efforts remain aligned and participants hold each other accountable.
  • Mutually Reinforcing Activities -- Participant activities must be coordinated through a mutually reinforcing plan of action.
  • Continuous Communication -- Consistent and open communication is needed for players to build trust, assure mutual objectives, and create common motivation.
  • Backbone Support -- Creating and managing collective impact requires a separate organization(s) with a specific set of skills to serve as the backbone for the initiative and coordinate participating organizations and agencies.

The goal is to build on relationships by seeking out opportunities for collaboration, by fostering regular communications, and building on the principals of collective impact.

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