In recent years we, and our partners, have sought to confront escalating threats to the well-being of people and planet, while building power to advance love, dignity, and justice. Transformative change that addresses underlying causes, and not just symptoms, has required us to work differently.
The complexity, urgency, and depth of these problems are a call to collaborate and connect, to overcome habits and practices that hold us back, and to re-imagine and re-make systems to ensure the well-being of everyone—our organizations, our movements, our world.
It is in this spirit of transformation and reimagination that we share our new name: Change Elemental.
We have and will continue to adapt to meet the demands of the moment, the needs of our movements, and our vision for the future.
We have been known as MAG, or Management Assistance Group, since our founding. It made sense for decades; people making change wanted and needed better tools and strategies to manage their organizations. As the context became increasingly complex, organizations and movements evolved, strengthened, and re-imagined themselves, and we all continued learning about what it takes to make progress on complex problems. Real change was occurring as groups worked in more networked ways—that is, in long-term collaboration across organizations and movements, and rooted in deep, authentic, and equitable relationships. As a result, the ways in which we understood “management” and approached our work shifted.
Over time, we also came to understand that to advance transformative change and support ways of working that make progress on today’s problems, the conditions in the social change and justice ecosystems themselves need to change. While many groups have centered equity and modeled values that hold love, dignity, and justice in their approaches for a long time, these approaches were not, and are not, a consistent or wide-spread condition of the social sector. Rarely are these groups, who have long-centered equity, been resourced or supported to make large-scale, deep change. The structures, policies, relationships, norms, and other conditions in which changemakers are working are getting in the way of lasting change.
Our organization today
We have stepped up to that need to change, aligning our organization with our values, and together with our partners, influencing change in the social sector broadly.
Change Elemental, formerly MAG, has adapted to be more collaborative and catalytic—partnering with individuals, organizations, and networks—to combine our collective wisdom and energy in common purpose. We center experimentation and active learning that draws upon wisdom from the past, from lived experience, and from imagination. Together, we craft creative, nimble, and authentic ways of transforming inequitable systems and sparking deep change.
At Change Elemental, we are co-creating power for love, dignity, and justice. We galvanize movements by freeing, combining and catalyzing the necessary elements of deep change, elements many of you may recognize from our work together: advancing deep equity; cultivating leaderful ecosystems; valuing multiple ways of knowing; influencing complex systems change; and creating the space for inner work. This kind of co-creation relies on a blend of art and science—a blend that requires a solid foundation of wisdom and curiosity, an infusion of experimentation and imagination, and the magic and diligence of people working well together toward a shared vision.
Our organization moving forward
Our new name does not signal an abrupt shift in our thinking or approach. Instead, it catches us up with who we have become and will continue becoming.
We will continue to learn and adapt alongside, and in partnership, with you and the many inspiring, imaginative changemakers we have yet to know. We will continue to center race and equity in ways that transform and advance our relationships and our approach.
We will also continue to align our work and our own organization with our core values of love, dignity, and justice.
Thank you to our clients, partners, friends, and colleagues for the myriad ways in which you have sparked our imaginations, shaped our thinking, and inspired our growth. Together, we will re-imagine and remake our world into one rooted in love, dignity, and justice.
We also want to express our deepest gratitude to our co-founders Karl Mathiasen and Susan Gross, as well as former Executive Directors Inca Mohamed and Robin Katcher, and former staff and board, for their invaluable contributions to our evolution and growth. We invite you to learn more about our current CoDirectors, core team, governance team, and partners.
At Change Elemental, we know that today’s challenges require us to ignite change exponentially more powerful than what any one of us can spark alone. We are excited and grateful to be continuing our journey. We invite you to join us.
“At Change Elemental, we draw upon the wisdom of the past, face bravely into the present, and open our hearts and imaginations to a new possible future. Together we can transform our world into one in which we all can thrive.”Aja Couchois Duncan, Change Elemental Senior Consultant