Building skills and capacities in the Rx network
In 2020 the Rx Foundation made funds available to support training opportunities for members of the Rx Advocacy Partners Network, and connected partners directly with several technical assistance organizations. In 2021 we launched the Targeted Coaching program, which includes funding and introductions to a roster of coaches and technical assistance providers who were ready and willing to engage. This optional program gives grant partners a boost to focus on goals that they might not have articulated in their original proposals, and to meet coaches who were not already known to them. In the first year of the program, leaders and teams in the program worked on skills and issues including power analysis, building more effective teams, state-level health policy and text-based messaging outreach.
Rather than a one-size-fits-all approach to technical assistance, the Rx Foundation’s Targeted Coaching program is a chance for our grant partners to connect and work directly with coaches who offer tailored assistance to building capacity according to their organization’s priorities. We hope to give partners a boost to focus on capacity-building goals that may not have been articulated in their original grant proposal, or where more support is needed to make progress.
Coaching Spotlight: PowerLabs
PowerLabs supports staff and volunteer teams to make it more likely they get stronger over time, contribute to team members’ growth and learning, and produce excellent work. Their coaching approach is grounded in decades of research on what makes teams successful. PowerLabs’ coaches help your organization’s team develop the skills and processes to improve collaboration, problem-solving and innovation.
Three organizations in the Building Capacity for Health Advocacy program worked with PowerLabs, including Missouri Organizing and Voter Engagement Collaborative, People’s Action, and Vot-ER.
Coaching Spotlight: Strategic Concepts in Organizing and Policy Education (SCOPE)
Thirty years after the 1992 South Los Angeles Uprising, Strategic Concepts in Organizing and Policy Education (SCOPE) continues to build community power, elevating the voices of Black and Brown communities most impacted by historic disinvestment. SCOPE’s birth was an experiment for grassroots power building to address the systemic factors that perpetuate intersecting drivers of disparities, including inequities in the health and wellbeing of our communities. Out of necessity, SCOPE and its South LA allies have continued to be a testing ground for innovative solutions.
One of the resources born from their own work is the Power Analysis tool. This visual and interactive tool helps organizers, advocates, and leaders map power relationships in the communities where we live or places we work. Who has power? How and for what do they use it? What do unequal power relationships have to do with the problems we face? By investigating these issues through the Power Analysis Tool, organizations can further develop strategies and tactics for winning campaigns and building long-term grassroots power. Reflecting on these relationships is critical to the creation of effective, proactive strategies that build the power of grassroots organizations fighting for social justice change.
In the Rx Foundation’s network, two grant partners have brought the Power Analysis tool training from SCOPE to their national teams.
All Organizations and Coaches that have worked with Rx Foundation grant partners include:
Matt Guy | Common Thread Group
Founded in 2001, Common Thread Group is made up of like-minded individuals who work with community groups, nonprofits, and government organizations to improve outcome through a focus on mindfulness and wellbeing. Common Thread Group utilizes a bottom-up approach ensuring wellbeing is the focus and outcome of all interactions and engagements; and brings synergy through a focus on mindfulness, allowing clients to achieve a reset enabling dysfunction to be replaced with function.
Coaching Capacities and Capabilities:
Empower Project supports organizations to empower leaders in their communities through relational-forward organizing with robust training and coaching as well as access to technology and funding, addressing the bottlenecks that have historically limited Relational Organizing access and scalability. In addition to monthly Relational Organizer Training Cohorts, Empower Project provides 1:1 coaching and ongoing training from a designated Coaching Specialist, and free access to relational organizing software to help partners center the power of their relationships in their organizing.
Coaching Capacities and Capabilities:
Families USA, a leading national voice for health care consumers, is dedicated to the achievement of high-quality, affordable health care and improved health for all. We advance our mission through public policy analysis, advocacy, and collaboration with partners to promote a patient- and community centered health system. Working at the national, state, and community level for over 40 years.
Core Support and Coaching:
Jennifer Goldsmith is a pragmatic partner with a depth of experience in non-profit leadership, health equity and racial justice. She works with leaders and organizations to fulfill missions and achieve equity goals and strategies.
Where She Can Be of Help:
Kate Hilton is Leadership Faculty in the Atlantic Fellows for Health Equity program at the Fitzhugh Mullan Institute for Workforce Equity at The George Washington University. Kate equips people around the globe to build individual, team, and organizational capacity to address the adaptive, human-side of change and brings decades of experience in coaching and teaching leadership, organizing and change management.
Where She Can Be of Help:
Mary Katherine Matalon
As a nonprofit fundraising advisor, Mary Katherine is particularly passionate about empowering small and mid-sized nonprofits to develop the skills and resources to identify prospective sources of foundation support, prepare and submit grant proposals, and build ongoing relationships with foundations. Her approach is highly collaborative and begins with shared goal setting based on the strengths and circumstances of each nonprofit with which she works. She is available to provide standalone workshops on fundamental topics related to grant writing, or to provide more holistic coaching and support from the initial readiness assessment to the submission of a grant proposal.
More About Mary Katherine:
Mary Katherine Matalon is a nonprofit fundraising advisor with over a decade of experience in the field. Previous positions including serving as the Vice President for Development Operations at Upbring, a Texas wide nonprofit focused on child wellbeing; the Director of Foundation Relations at The College of Liberal Arts at The University of Austin, and The Grants Manager at The Contemporary Austin, a dual site museum devoted to contemporary art. Her primary areas of expertise are grant writing and foundation relations, and she has worked with local, regional, and national foundations on proposals with a wide variety of scales.
PowerLabs supports staff and volunteer teams to make it more likely they get stronger over time, contribute to the growth and learning of team members and produce excellent work. Our team’s coaching support is based on decades of research on what makes teams successful. We will help you put the conditions in place that have been shown to predict up to 80% of a team’s success. Our coaches also help your team develop the skills and strategies they need to improve communication, collaboration, and problem-solving.
Social Movement Technologies is a non-profit movement partner that has trained staff and activists from 4,000+ organizations to build more powerful, integrated online & offline campaigns. Join coaching with SMT to review current organizational tools & tactics and get a prioritized list of the most significant changes. Topics covered include building volunteer/leader pathways or “ladders of engagement”, online ads, organic social media posts, texting, email, livestreaming, video, narrative & storytelling, CRMs / member databases, online petition / action tools, team tools, digital security, and much more.
These Tools Have Helped:
Strategic Concepts in Organizing and Policy Education (SCOPE)
SCOPE is a grassroots membership-based community organization located in South Los Angeles. SCOPE organizes with and for poor and working class communities of color to counter the structural forces producing and maintaining social and economic injustice. SCOPE has developed multi-dimensional approaches that reduce and eliminate structural barriers to opportunities for economically disadvantaged communities and communities of color. Additionally, SCOPE has developed a number of tools that have set the standard for community building, including the SCOPE Power Analysis process that is now used by community organizers nationwide. SCOPE’s training modules include, Power Analysis, Community Organizing, Campaign Strategy Development, and Integrated Voter Engagement.
Power Analysis Tool:
Investigating power and relationships is critical to the creation of effective, proactive strategies that build the power of grassroots organizations fighting for social justice change. It helps create a picture of the political power and landscape to understand how and by whom power is exercised; and helps organizations develop effective strategies for winning progressive social change in the long-term, build power and relationships, and evaluate and refine strategies.
Other Coaching & Technical Assistance Resources
Nerdy Movement Study Group
Many members of the Rx Foundation’s advocacy, organizing, and civic engagement learning community have completed PowerLabs’ Nerdy Movement Study Group, a “comprehensive program for designing and running organizing programs where volunteers and members thrive” hosted semi-annually.
The program helps participants use evidence-based methods to:
- Recruit new members
- Increase their commitment and ability to lead
- Build strong member teams that learn and adapt to changing conditions
It provides the tools, inspiration, and support to create a high-participation, high-commitment organizing program where members grow, learn, and lead.
The Rx Foundation provides technical assistance funding to cover registration fees for partners in our advocacy, organizing, and civic engagement learning network.
Trainings and Skill-Sharing within the Rx Network
In Spring 2023, we hosted our first Storytelling for Activists, Advocates, and Alliances training for our Rx Foundation grant partner networks. Led by three experienced and professional storytellers, Lily Be, Nisse Greenberg, and Sterling Johnson, participants went through a hands-on training to strengthen their storytelling skills. Community organizers, legislative advocates, storybankers, and those who support, supervise, or teach people in storytelling roles, gathered to learn and practice story listening, analyzing, development, and sharing.
Health Justice Stories from Select Rx Partners
Since then, over 25 people from 14 nonprofit organizations have completed the training. Prior participants have shared that they are integrating the tools and philosophies shared during the workshop into their fundraising efforts, legislative session planning, press releases, communications projects, and storybanking; one group even incorporated elements from the training to host a similar workshop with their member organizations.
Grant Writing and Fundraising
In Winter 2022, we asked our grant partners what technical assistance or coaching opportunities they’d like to see from our program. One of the named priorities was to bring a grant writing workshop to our cohort.
Co-creating the resource with our partners, we plan to host an Introduction to Grant Writing series and several Advanced modules for our network beginning in 2024.