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In case you missed it, MAG is now Change Elemental! We are so excited to have a new name and a new look, which are more powerfully aligned with who we have become and will continue becoming—an organization co-creating power for love, dignity, and justice. As CoDirectors, we wanted to take a moment to share our reflections on our journey.

In the recent movie Into the Spider-Verse, there is a moment where Miles Morales learns that being ready is about a leap of faith. As Change Elemental, we see ourselves as having taken this leap—both with our new name as well as in our approach to the work of advancing love, dignity, and justice. In the last several years, we have moved to focus on transformation with the clear goal of fundamentally changing society in ways that can’t easily or quickly be changed back. This includes taking risks to be more collaborative and catalytic as well as centering experimentation and active learning that draws upon wisdom from the past, from lived experience, and from imagination.

Change Elemental was founded in 1983 by Karl Mathiasen and Susan Gross as Management Assistance Group (MAG). In many ways, the original goal was to infuse the social change sector with management practices learned from the business sector to better equip nonprofits to make real change. We honor the legacy of our founders and the hundreds of staff, board members, and clients that have worked together to strengthen organizations by managing people to make a difference, developing boards that matter, creating and resourcing movement building strategies, and nurturing leaders with attention to power.  

These are all critical components of advancing change towards justice. While we still do much of this work, we have continued to shift our approaches to meet the moment and our movements. We are focusing on approaches to advancing change that are even more fundamental—elemental—to our humanity and can take us more boldly in the direction of our vision.

Today, as Change Elemental, we are galvanizing movements by freeing, combining, and catalyzing the necessary elements of transformative 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.

At Change Elemental, we believe in and practice these elements individually and collectively wherever we have an entry point—whether it is partnering with movement networks on experiments across issue areas and geographies, developing strategic frameworks with organizations seeking to build power in a region, or supporting funders to advance on their equity journey.

Nurturing these elements catalyzes new power and possibility. It is like the difference, going back to Into the Spider-Verse, between only trying to figure out how to get unstuck and being able to leap knowing that we will be able to stick and release whenever we need to. It is an energetic shift, a shift in presence, a shift in being.

Thank you for leaping with us. Together we can combine the elements of transformative change to fundamentally remake our world.

Learn more about our story and follow us on Facebook and Twitter!

Banner photo credit: Samuel Jeronimo | Unsplash

2 thoughts on “Change Elemental: A Leap of Faith

  1. I believe you folks have nailed it with your 5 elements of a thriving justice ecosystem!
    We’re in a strategic planning process in our organization called the Wakanim Journey (We’re a Native arts and cultures organization) and have come up with some similiar elements for our work. May I have permission to utilize aspects of your elements (with some possible rewording) in some of our planning and work going forward?

    1. Thanks, Lulani! Please do draw on the five elements of a thriving justice ecosystem in your strategic planning process. We would also be grateful if you link back to our blog or other resources! It would be great to learn more about how they are coming up for your organization and how they are connected to the elements you have been using in your work. We believe these elements and their practices are ever evolving and shifting as we learn more about what is working to advance love, dignity, and justice, so we would love to stay in conversation and learn more about how you are practicing the elements and what you are learning about them. Thanks and looking forward to learning and co-creating justice together!

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