February 2018

Nadia Gronkowski, iSPI Social Innovation Program Coordinator

Highlights:

  • Over the last several months, Innovate Springfield has been convening an all-star team of local non-profit experts to pilot the Community Support Plan (CSP) program with Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Illinois Capital Region.

  • The purpose of the CSP is to generate organizational practices that support local, evidence-based non-profits in sustaining their impact on the community.  

  • iSPI is excited to work with its volunteers and Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Illinois Capital Region to reflect on the CSP pilot and determine how this program can be applied to other local organizations in the future.

Over the last several months, Innovate Springfield’s (iSPI’s) Social Innovation Program has piloted a new initiative called the Community Support Plan (CSP), which leverages local expertise to generate practices that support the effectiveness and sustainability of local, evidence-based non-profit organizations.  For its first-ever CSP process, iSPI is proud to have worked with Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Illinois Capital Region in co-creating solutions that will help ensure that this important organization is positioned to deliver its proven-effective programming in the Springfield community for years to come.

 

Throughout the CSP process, Innovate Springfield has performed a convening and consulting role by mobilizing a group of all-star volunteer advisors to work alongside Big Brothers Big Sisters leadership and staff to identify core areas for organizational improvement and address them with practical recommendations. Following several monthly advising sessions with these local non-profit thought leaders, iSPI is now ready to present the Community Support Plan advisers' final recommendations to the Big Brothers Big Sisters Board of Directors and staff.  The agency will then use these recommendations as a starting point for their upcoming strategic planning process, and will reconvene with Innovate Springfield periodically in the coming months to share their progress.

 

The first road map for the work of Innovate Springfield’s Social Innovation Program is the Sangamon Success report, a set of 25 recommendations for increasing educational attainment for low-income youth in Sangamon County through the use of evidence-based programs.  Because of its alignment with that evidence-based focus, Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Illinois Capital Region served as the ideal partner for piloting the Community Support Plan.  Innovate Springfield believes that healthy communities support growth and innovation, and that in order to create a healthy community we need to mobilize our community's best resources to benefit its most vulnerable citizens.  Supporting local organizations through the CSP process will allow iSPI to mobilize Springfield's most knowledgeable non-profit practitioners and volunteers in support of impactful programs that are needed to help fulfill our shared long-term vision for the community.  As this pilot wraps up, iSPI and its partners and volunteers will discuss how the process can be improved and how it can be applied to other local organizations in Springfield’s emerging social innovation ecosystem.  

 

Innovate Springfield would like to thank the Community Support Plan volunteer advisors and the Big Brothers Big Sisters staff and board of directors for working alongside us in the development of this initiative.