According to Angela Glover Blackwell, we’ve been doing Collective Impact here at the Council since before it had a name! In her keynote address at the 2015 Collective Impact Convening in New Orleans, Ms. Glover Blackwell (founder of Urban Strategies Council, the current CEO of PolicyLink and formerly a senior VP with the Rockefeller Foundation) addressed the topic of Equity Matters in Collective Impact and highlighted Urban Strategies Council’s long history of doing collective impact – once known as simply Community Building.

In her keynote, she told two stories about the early work of Urban Strategies Council: She recounted how dis-aggregating infant mortality data by place and race/ethnicity fueled a community-wide effort that cut infant mortality in half in Oakland. She also described how the Council engaged the community in generating an agenda for improving Oakland’s public schools that the school board ultimately supported.

Among the insights Blackwell shared: “The equity agenda has become a national and economic imperative as well as a moral imperative. So when you think about collective impact…you can’t think of equity as an afterthought.” Her speech emphasized what we now use as our tagline – we’ve been bringing together people and data for equity and social justice for some time.

For more of her perspectives on equity and her stories about the Council’s history, you can read the transcript on the Collective Impact Forum’s blog: