People sitting around tables, working in small groups.

Phase One - Summary

In fall 2017, we hosted two "crowdsourcing" events with representatives from dozens of the county's health and human services sector, several county employees working within the safety net system and other funders. Attendees of these crowdsourcing events identified four areas they felt were important to achieving their shared vision for a resilient safety net system:

  • Improving public-private collaboration and coordination
  • Ensuring there is "no wrong door" access to the safety net system
  • Encouraging data sharing and systems integration
  • Building advocacy and communications capacity within the system.

We took that information back to our thought partners, the nationally recognized consultants of Equal Measure, to help us construct the various elements of Phase One.

Design Teams

In early 2018, we began to work with more than 50 nonprofits and several county employees on four Design Teams - one around each of the areas in the bullets above - to develop projects or areas of research to strengthen the county's safety net system. 

More than 70 people participated in or more Design Teams, which came together monthly for directed conversations and planning sessions. We tasked the Design Teams to brainstorm and hone ideas to strengthen the county's safety net. Meghan McVety of Capacity for Change organized and facilitated all of the meetings, which ran from March - August 2018.

Ideas that emerged included:

  • An Innovation Lab to test out new ideas
  • Commissioned research to gather more data about the county, how the safety net operates and innovative ideas other communities have implemented
  • A communications campaign to educate policy makers and others about the safety net system and reduce stigma for those needing to access it
  • An advocacy coalition to encourage and support safety net policy advocacy across organizations
  • A Leadership Advisory Council to secure additional feedback as pilot projects and other aspects of the initiative unfold
  • Training for organizations to build capacity on leadership development, financial management and cultural awareness

Community of Practice

Additionally, we hosted three meetings of the Community of Practice, a larger group that included Design Team members, county and municipal officials, community and faith leaders, school district representatives and community members.

Meghan also facilitated these meetings, which offered attendees an opportunity to hear about the ongoing work of the Design Teams and provide feedback on the Design Teams' emerging ideas.

We anticipate holding additional Community of Practice meetings throughout the initiative. If you would like to be on the list for future meetings, email your request to

Phase Two

With Phase One complete, we have started Phase Two

We will roll out the various elements listed above over the next few months, starting with the Innovation Lab and training program.