Explore Our Work

Collective Impact and Community Change

Creating a community where everyone is healthy and food secure requires an intentional, collaborative approach from many stakeholders across the business, government and charitable sectors, universities and schools and community groups and residents. It often requires a place-based approach that addresses the historical and political context of each community.

What is Collective Impact?

Collective impact is a structured framework that helps organizations work together to bring about large-scale social change that cannot be achieved by a single organization addressing a single issue. Collective impact initiatives typically have five conditions that can lead to powerful results: a common agenda, shared measurement, a plan of action with mutually reinforcing activities, open and continuous communication and a backbone of individuals or organizations dedicated to facilitating and supporting the work of the group. Visit the Collective Impact Forum for more information and resources on collective impact.

Collaborating for Clients (C4C) Initiative

The C4C initiative launched in 2015 and was made possible by a grant from the Laura and John Arnold Foundation. Through this work, Feeding America seeks to better understand the roles of food banks and their community partners in a structured approach to achieve community-based outcomes that improve family stability. Participating food banks and their partners are using a collective impact framework and the C4C Theory of Action (adapted from StriveTogether) to create a shared community vision and to put plans in place to make that vision a reality.

In addition to using the collective impact framework, C4C pilot sites also participated in a leadership development program co-designed by Feeding America and the Annie E. Casey Foundation. This approach, called Results Count, provided participants with customized leadership skills to help them execute strategies and manage the challenges that often accompany efforts to make lasting and effective change.

The C4C Sites have entered the post-pilot phase and continue to implement collective impact in their communities. Feeding America will continue to learn from their partnership with the C4C Sites.

Pilot Food Banks

FIND Food Bank (Indio, CA)
Food Bank of Northern Nevada (McCarron, NV)
Mid-Ohio Foodbank (Grove City, OH)
Second Harvest Food Bank of Northwest North Carolina (Winston-Salem, NC)
Vermont Foodbank (Barre, VT)


The Field of Community Change

While collective impact is one approach to community change, it’s important to note that there is a broader field of organizations that have been doing community change and place-based work for decades, often under different names and models. Below are some of the organizations and initiatives that are helping us navigate this path to change.

  • Collective Impact Forum is an initiative of FSG and the Aspen Institute Forum for Community Solutions and supports the efforts of those who are practicing collective impact in the field.
  • CMS Accountable Health Communities (AHC) is a five-year initiative addressing the gap between clinical care and community services in the health care delivery system by testing whether meeting patient’s basic needs beyond, but related to, health (e.g. enough food and safe housing) affects health care costs and improves their health and quality of care.
  • Living Cities works with city leaders participating in its Integration Initiative​ to build a new type of urban practice aimed at dramatically improving the economic well-being of low-income people.
  • Promise Neighborhoods Institute at PolicyLink provides resources and guidance to build and sustain burgeoning Promise Neighborhoods. The U.S. Department of Education’s Promise Neighborhoods program aims to break the cycle of generational poverty by wrapping children in a seamless pipeline of health, social and educational support from birth through college and career.​
  • Robert Wood Johnson Culture of Health Prize honors and elevates U.S. communities that are creating powerful partnerships and deep commitments and making great strides in their journey to better health and well-being.
  • StriveTogether brings expertise, effective resources and a nationally-recognized collective impact approach that enables communities to create local education ecosystems to support children and youth from cradle to career.
  • Tamarack Institute for Community Engagement is a Canadian nonprofit that develops and supports three learning communities that help people to collaborate, co-generate knowledge and achieve collective impact on complex community issues.