people holding each other in solidarity

Community of Practice- "Building Community: People, Power, and Purpose"

Event Details


Normandy Farm Hotel and Conference Center

1401 Morris Road, Blue Bell, PA 19422

Please join us on Tuesday, February 18, 2020 for the 5th Community of Practice meeting, part of the 10-year Safety Net Resiliency Initiative to achieve a resilient and financially sustainable safety net.

 HealthSpark Foundation is planning another interactive and idea-inspiring gathering to:

  • Explore how to build a more connected, inclusive safety net community

  • Facilitate connections across individuals and organizations that are working to strengthen the safety net system

  • Learn from each other about how to strengthen the safety net system

  • Gather ideas to shape investments in the initiative

We welcome community residents, leaders, service providers, and all who are interested in building the strength and financial resiliency of the county’s health and human service safety net system.

Registration is now closed. If you wish to attend, please arrive early and register at the door. 


8:00 am Registration, Networking, and Breakfast

9:00 am Opening Remarks 

  • Russell Johnson, President & CEO, HealthSpark Foundation

  • Valerie A. Arkoosh, MD, MPH, and Chair of the Montgomery County Board of Commissioners

  • Emma Hertz, HealthSpark Foundation

9:25 am Community Discussion

  • An opportunity for attendees to provide input and suggestions for the Initiative through moderated table talks

10:15 am Breakout Sessions (full descriptions are listed below)

  • Developing Authentic Consumer & Community Engagement Practices

  • Activating Community Power through Collective Advocacy

  • Building Leadership Across Places and Spaces

  • Aiming for Organizational Equity

  • Building Resilient Community-Based Organizations: Strategies for Nonprofit Boards & Leadership

11:15 am Building Community Plenary Session

  • Donna Cooper, Public Citizens for Children and Youth, Executive Director

  • Dave Eckert, Access Services, Director of the Intersect Initiative

  • Mary Onama, Victim Services of Montgomery County, Executive Director

  • Meghan McVety, Capacity for Change, LLC, moderator 

12:15 pm Closing Remarks

  • Natasha Patterson, HealthSpark Foundation board member


Breakout Session Descriptions:

Developing Authentic Consumer & Community Engagement Practices
Engaging community members and persons who have lived expertise with a program’s services is becoming a recognized best practice for community-based organizations. In this session, participants will hear from project leads on two consumer engagement projects undertaken through the Innovation Lab grant program in 2019.
Facilitators: Patrick Walsh and Eli Wenger, Catholic Social Services; Madlyn Strouse and Melissa Buckminster, Your Way Home LGBTQ Engagement Project

Building Leadership Across Places and Spaces                       
This panel will discuss ways in which emerging leaders can be identified and empowered. Through discussion with leadership development program designers and participants, this session will highlight core concepts for building leadership, and discuss ways in which organizations can support emerging leaders from diverse communities.
Facilitators: Jennifer O’Donnell, Leadership Tri-County of Tri-County Area Chamber of Commerce; Jim Walters and Toyca Williams, Montgomery County Health & Human Services Emerging Leaders Program

Activating Community Power through Collective Advocacy

The safety net system’s long-term sustainability is dependent upon continued public support and resources. This session will discuss examples of current advocacy efforts in Montgomery County, including the emerging Safety Net Resiliency Initiative Advocacy Coalition, one of the six strategies of the Initiative currently underway.
Facilitators: George Choe, Jaisohn Center; Bill England, PA Health Access Network; and Joanne Kline, VNA Foundation

Building Resilient Community-based Organizations: Strategies for Nonprofit Boards & Leadership

As nonprofits face continuing funding and regulatory challenges, boards and executive leadership need to think strategically about how to best position their nonprofit for success.  In this session, attendees will learn about best practices in nonprofit management to address financial and legal issues, and hear about tools they can use in their own management processes. 
Facilitators: Jennifer Pedroni, FMA; Laura Solomon, Esq., Laura Solomon and Associates

Aiming for Organizational Equity

YWCA Tri-County Area team members will offer a facilitated panel discussion on the initial steps necessary (and some of the challenges experienced) when charting the course towards organizational equity. Panelists will explore why it is important for organizations to make the time and create the safe space for working towards equity.

Facilitators: Ashley Faison, Advocacy/Volunteer Manager; Kelly Grosser, Youth Empowerment Director; Sheri McDonald, Chief Mission Impact Officer; and Stacey Woodland, CEO