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NetWorked Partnership for Community Investment Launches to Boldly Solve Community Challenges

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News Release
For Immediate Release                                                                           


For more information, contact:                 

Christina M. Long, Strategic Director, NetWorked
christina@cmlcollective.com
877.521.8600                                                           

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NetWorked Partnership for Community Investment Launches to Boldly Solve Community Challenges

Do-gooders.

People who wake up, go to organizations that are often under-resourced, and work extremely hard to solve incredibly difficult challenges.

All to make life better.

To bring fresh produce to food deserts.

To bring quality childcare facilities to give working parents piece of mind because their children are in a nurturing, caring environment.

To help diverse entrepreneurs overcome challenges to build thriving companies.

To make the dream of homeownership reality for many who thought renting was their only option.

Do-gooders.

On the other end of the spectrum of Do-gooders are foundations, corporations and institutions that have access to a wealth of resources and who are looking to amplify the use of their resources to make even greater impact; who are looking for more and different kinds of “Do-Gooders” to support, but who might be unsure where to look.

What would happen if these do-gooders were intentionally brought together with foundations, corporations and institutions to amplify work, resources and impact?

Allow us to introduce, NetWorked Partnership for Community Investment.

And what a mighty mission this partnership stands upon:

               Connecting unconnected networks and closing gaps between people, information and assets to develop pathways that boldly solve community challenges.

Since summer 2020, NetWork Kansas, the Kansas Health Foundation, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Kansas and e2 Entrepreneurial Ecosystems have been working to put thought, reason and perspective around the idea of this “network of networks” coming together. What would it accomplish? What could it actually do that hasn’t been done — or tried — before?

The answers to these and other questions began to emerge from conversing with one another:

  • Working together works.
  • Talking across agencies, entities and silos works.
  • Resources exist.
  • Investments are being made.
  • Successful community improvement projects and deals are happening.

Simplistically profound but true. So what prevents community improvement from happening more rapidly and dynamically?

  • Silos.
  • Lack of opportunities to participate in meaningful dialogue.
  • Dialogue staying conversational and not transformational.
  • Limited budgets and resources from those not in the know.
  • Lack of knowledge and awareness about how to access resources.

NetWorked seeks to provide a model that connects community development organizations, community foundations, economic development organizations, entrepreneurship support organizations, health foundations, health organizations and minority-led organizations through convenings.

The convenings aim to raise awareness about existing resources that are already solving areas of impact related to: health, civic engagement, community development, diversity, equity, inclusion, economic development, educational attainment, entrepreneurship support and quality of life/placemaking.

The raising of awareness seeks to create the pathway for resources to be deployed to an even greater number of partners so that projects can be funded and deals can be executed more efficiently and consistently as a result of being connected with the network.

It’s a network where everyone can play a role:

  • Connectors navigate the community and know how to put resources into play at the macro and/or micro levels.
  • Conveners create space for collaborative conversations.
  • Contributors provide funding, investments, capacity-building and sponsorships.
  • Champions use their significant stature and influence in the community to lend the network enhanced credibility.
  • Catalysts are the creators. They translate talk to action.

More than 120 people attended the inaugural virtual NetWorked convening in March where they learned about the Kansas Community Investment Fund (KCIF), a prime example of a resource created by multiple organizations that are funding unlikely deals to improve communities.

For example: what resources are available for a nonprofit to apply for a loan to expand a rural fitness center?  Through the Kansas Community Investment Fund (KCIF), the Clearwater Community Foundation was able to expand Clearwater Wellness Center through a $60,000 KCIF loan that matched $60,000 from grants, donations and investment from the community foundation.

Another example: KCIF providing a $225,000 loan and $25,000 grant to join the pull of funds amassed by the Hutchinson Community Foundation to expand broadband service to rural, low-resource communities lacking internet access in Hutchinson, Kansas.

Steve Radley, President and CEO of NetWork Kansas and who thought up the network of network concept shares a relevant quote he received from a partner, the Technology Development Institute at Kansas State University:

“Successful entrepreneurs and inventors are no smarter, no more courageous, tenacious, or rebellious than the rest of us...they are simply better connected." Hargadon, Andrew; How Breakthroughs Happen: The Surprising Truth About Companies Innovate; Harvard School Press, 2003

NetWorked’s second convening is approaching.

With more than 120 do-gooders ready to reconnect, NetWorked is off to a strong start to boldly solve community challenges.

 
For more information about NetWorked, please visit: