Network Leadership and Place-Based Living (Newsletter)

October 5, 2016 0 By mbiggar

Fall is here! I enjoyed opportunities this summer to guide planning processes, facilitate meetings and interviews, and write actionable reports and plans. As I reflect on the inspirational work of my clients, the role of network leadership and an emphasis on place-based living seem evermore important in making positive social and environmental change.

Network Leadership and Consulting Projects
In September, I attended Stanford’s Non-Profit Management Institute. This year’s theme was The Power of Network Leadership to Drive Social Change. I was pleased to connect with many non-profit leaders, funders and consultants whose work is becoming increasingly focused on leveraging networks. If you’re interested in a useful summary of research in this area, take a look at this new website. It is exciting to see the growing interest and expertise in supporting networks and collaboratives for impact in addressing complex problems.

The San Francisco’s Cities Connecting Children to Nature Initiative has completed a 3-Year Implementation Plan with the support of its’ cross-sector membership and a vision for serving children in underserved communities. I guided the planning process, facilitated meetings in varied settings such as the Tenderloin Recreation Center and the Mayor’s Conference Room in City Hall, and supported the plan writing. I look forward to further engaging with this growing network for social change as members launch the implementation phase of this initiative.

California’s Blueprint for Environmental Literacy is being put into action by the state’s Environmental Literacy Steering Committee. To support this work, I conducted interviews and research statewide on collaboratives that bridge the formal education system with other sectors and organizations. Findings and insights from this research relate to the network structures, processes and relationships needed to effectively integrate environmental literacy into the education of California’s diverse students.

Place-Based Living: Blog Coming Soon
From both these projects and research I have conducted on sustainability and human behavior, I have come to value the importance of meaningful, everyday connection for all people to the places in which each of us live (hence the name of my website). Providing nature experiences for children in urban areas and supporting students in developing environmental literacy both involve strengthening connections to local nature. Through these types of initiatives, children’s connections with their community, local organizations and other people also develop. When this involves improving public spaces and access to local nature, many adults can benefit from increased connections to place. Ultimately, these types of deeper, everyday connections can influence how we live, help restore balance with nature and decrease social divisions and disparities. This month, I will be starting a bi-monthly blog on place-based living (in our globally connected age). I’ll send you the first entry. I hope you will join me in exploring this topic!

Be well,
Matt

More detail on my consulting services can be found at my LinkedIn profile or website.