Collective Impact Strategies: Introduction to the Special Issue

Joseph Allen, Kelly Prange, Sheridan Trent


The societal and cultural issues facing humanity are far greater than any nonprofit, for-profit, university, or government agency to address adequately alone. Whether poverty, water shortages, socio-economic inequality, natural disasters with lasting effects, or any number of other challenges facing our communities, organizations must band together to secure the impact needed to truly create change.

Increasingly, communities are turning to collective impact as an approach that brings together the collective resources of multiple institutions to address a community-identified problem or need. While a somewhat new approach, there is a growing body of evidence of supporting the effectiveness of using the collective impact approach to addressing wicked problems (Bridgeland et al., 2012; Christens and Inzeo, 2015; Kania, Hanleybrown, and Splansky Juster, 2014).

As anchor institutions, Metropolitan Universities have a unique opportunity and responsibility to initiate and promote social change in a way that also advances their mission. Unlike other institutions for higher education, Metropolitan Universities are most suited for targeting social change because of the type of communities they serve and their location within large municipalities. Participating in collective impact is increasingly seen as one approach to this. This issue includes case studies and practical papers to prepare Metropolitan University administrators, faculty, and staff to initiate, facilitate, and strengthen collective impact initiatives in their communities.

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Bridgeland, J., et al. Zimpher, N. (2012). Rountable on collective impact. Stanford Social Innovation Review 25-29.

Christens, B. D. and Inzeo P. T. (2015). Widening the view: Situating collective impact among frameworks for community-led change. Community Development, 1-13.

Irby, M. and Boyle, P. (2014). Aligning collective impact initiatives. Stanford Social Innovation Review 15-16.

Kania, J., Hanleybrown, F., and Splansky Juster, J. (2014). Essential mindset shifts for collective impact. Stanford Social Innovation Review 2-5.

Kania, J., and Kramer, M. (2011). Collective impact. Stanford Social Innovation Review 36-41.

Prange, K. A., Allen, J. A., and Reiter-Palmon, R. (2016). Collective impact versus collaboration: Sides of the same coin or different phenomenon? Metropolitan Universities Journal 27 (1), 86-96.


Copyright (c) 2017 Joseph Allen, Kelly Prange, Sheridan Trent