At Community Partners, our present strength and future value pivot on whom we know and the depth of our rootedness in the communities of the Southern California region. Improving the quality of our relationships, from the suites to the streets, is a key way we are our able to fulfill our mission. We call this capability “civic reach” and it’s something we value deeply and prioritize here at Community Partners. Every board member, every member of our core staff, all of our project leaders and many partners in philanthropy and government helps to elevate the collective value of our work in the region by continually expanding on and deepening these connections, bringing greater impact to those we serve.
If all of us strive in concert to stretch and strengthen our civic reach capacities, we become more adept in our work roles, more useful to one another, valued by the people we serve through our missions and recognized contributors overall to a higher quality of civic, social, political, cultural and economic life in the region. Community Partners has never been an organization that advertises or markets heavily. Instead, knowledge about us spreads mostly by reputation and word of mouth. So what has generated a near tripling in our size as an organization in the last several years and a concurrent elevation of impact across the region? It is, in part, because people making decisions know us and our work and we know them and their interests.
Practicing effective civic reach involves developing relationships with the people who hold and stay connected to individual, neighborhood, organizational and institutional influence and know how to get things done in the public sphere.
Want to practice more effective civic reach? Start by reflecting on the strength of your own networks and connections. Then work toward developing these five capacities in yourself, and build awareness of them into your daily behavior:
- Limitless curiosity about the political, social, economic, cultural and power dynamics that shape this place and the people who call Southern California home.
- Ever-growing knowledge of the region’s public- and private-sector history, drivers, activities, opportunity niches, current trajectory, emerging trends and future direction.
- Profound regard for and understanding of traditions, customs, strategies and tactics that impede or accelerate achieving widespread, publicly beneficial results.
- Voracious hunger for building and maintaining lasting connections with people whose work stretches across the spectrum of public life.
- Fundamental caring for people and place that transcends personal relationships and assumes a broad, embracing public character.
"Electricity" by Filter Forge (CC by 2.0)