Networks that Unleash the Potential for Change
A professional network forms the foundation for collaborative opportunity. Strong networks are comprised of relationships built on trust and experience and, when cultivated, can foster partnerships with the potential to unleash change.
In 2009, Community Memorial Foundation funded a partnership between several local organizations to create the Community Healthcare Network of the Western Suburbs (The Network). Convened by CMF, organizations met for over one year to develop what would become The Network, in response to pending national legislation that would become the Affordable Care Act. Building upon the strength of their professional relationships, these service providers launched a program that provides low-income, underinsured adults with a medical home for coordinated healthcare (a Value of the Regional Health and Human Services Agenda). Partners have included Community Nurse Health Center (managing entity), Pillars, AMITA Health Adventist Medical Center La Grange and its family residency program, and Access DuPage, as well as many primary and specialty care physicians who donated their services.
As the healthcare landscape has changed, so has the structure of The Network. It has used existing health system resources to serve enrollees, more than half of whom reported income levels under 100% of the federal poverty level. The Network has also decreased local ER utilization (12 visits per 100 patients vs. the national average of 42/100). “The Network proves that relationships lie at the heart of collaboration,” says Angela Curran, Chief Executive Officer of Community Nurse Health Center. “This type of collaboration has the ability to facilitate effective change, even as the social landscape evolves.”
Ladder to Leadership Climbs toward Graduation
Ladder to Leadership is Community Memorial Foundation’s capacity building effort aimed at strengthening the leadership skills of mid-career professionals who work for nonprofit organizations supported by the Foundation. The current cohort of 16 participants is heading into the final phase of the program, where they will continue group training sessions, individualized coaching and team project work. The 2015-2016 Ladder to Leadership program will culminate in a commencement ceremony in early 2017, where participants will present the work of their action learning teams, along with plans to address their topics:
- strengthening cultural competency among health and human service providers, and
- developing strategies to improve staff retention at non-profit organizations.