Individuals rarely create change alone. It takes networks of like-minded people, collectives like the ever-evolving family tree cultivated by Nebraska Community Foundation volunteers. A new book, “Connect > Innovate > Scale Up: How Networks Create Systems Change,” investigates the role networks play in making broad social change, and NCF makes a sizeable cameo.
Authors Peter Plastrik, Madeleine Taylor, and John Cleveland have extensive experience in journalism, state government, anthropology, nonprofits, and higher education. Through interviews with more than 30 individuals working to create and maintain innovative networks in their organizations, the authors take readers through a crash course in making a difference. Together, they share insights into community-building alongside frameworks to help readers navigate the highs and lows of building an effective network.
NCF CEO Jeff Yost was invited to speak to the authors about Nebraska Community Foundation’s decentralized leadership model, which sets us apart from many other community foundations in the United States. Instead of having grantmaking decisions trickle down from the executive suite in Lincoln, NCF volunteers on affiliated fund advisory committees in towns across the state decide how to dispense the fruits of their fundraising and community-building efforts. In other words, when it comes to making a difference, our volunteers lead the way.
“If NCF was a more typical community foundation, its board and staff would be directing the grantmaking, perhaps with some advice from local people,” the authors write. “But it would not have delegated decision making to local entities, known as ‘affiliated funds,’ to do the bulk of fundraising and to guide all of the grantmaking.”
The book’s entire introduction is available for free at Network Impact’s website, which also has links to purchase the book in paperback, hardcover, or ebook formats.