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Launched in 2021, the Navigating Change initiative was developed by Aurora Commons and Change Elemental in partnership with the Ford Foundation’s Civic Engagement and Government program to explore how groups in the civic engagement field are building organizations that both advance and embody equitable democracy. The initiative convened nearly 200 civic engagement and democracy organizations who are already experimenting with ways to transform their organizations and their work, and who sought resourcing to deepen the mutual learning about what is working to advance change. Through this mutual learning, they aimed to build the relationships necessary for interdependent transformation that embodies an equitable, democratic future in the present moment and for the long haul.

In media projects, ten Content Fellows share their particular experiences and lessons learned with navigating changes they believe are necessary for equitable, democratic organizations who are embodying the future they’d like to see. Here we feature three pieces that uplift learnings about aligning operations and management with values to enact shared decision-making, compensate teams equitably, ensure workplace well-being, and strengthen cultures and connections rooted in trust and liberation.

Alexis Anderson-Reed, State Voices – In “Culture Eats Strategy for Breakfast: A Recipe for Building Strong Organizational Culture, Seasoned to Taste,” Alexis shares ten lessons from State Voices’ journey over the last 5 years —from traditional toxic nonprofit politics to a majority-women-of-color-led network with over 1,200 partners centering BIPOC political power in theory and practice.

Antonia Genao, Make The Road New York – In “Connecting to Values and Mission,” Antonia Genao shares concrete tools—in the form of four meeting agendas—to help staff connect to organizational mission, values, and strategy. 

Kelly Siegel-Stechler, CIRCLE @ Tufts University –Bringing Our Authentic Selves to Work” is an illustrated call for expansive workplace policies that include and celebrate the diverse and vibrant forms that queer relationships can take.

Yahya Alazrak, Resource Generation – Resource Generation: A Case Study in Collaborate Governance, is a personal narrative around decentralized decision-making from the perspective of someone who was a young organizer demanding organizational changes and now is the executive director of the same organization.

We invite you to check out other learnings from the content fellows on bridging conflict and nurturing leadership, and learn more about the Navigating Change Initiative!


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