The Virginia Environmental Endowment (VEE) values Collective Impact, a collaborative approach applied to address complex environmental projects that are ever-evolving and may or may not be fully understood. Collective Impact project teams tend to learn as they go and typically include partners from the public, private, and non-profit sectors. Collective Impact is a contemporary approach of working together to accomplish more than what our individual actions can achieve. This creates momentum and adds insight into problems and solutions that might not have been possible by a single organization or entity working independently.
According to the Center for Leadership in Global Sustainability at Virginia Tech, sustainability professionals target some of the most difficult and contentious challenges facing humanity, such as securing the health of the Chesapeake Bay’s ecology, economy, and culture. Many solutions appear just within reach, if only we had the leadership to implement them. Collective Impact is becoming a preferred adaptive management technique for complex sustainability challenges. It focuses efforts on learning and adapting through partnerships. Collective Impact helps organizations and people create and see their roles in the problem and its solution, understand which resources they should bring to the table, inspires innovation and commitment, and leads to emergent solutions that may not have been foreseen before the collaboration started.
The Virginia Environmental Endowment encourages projects that include collaboration among various partners, and those that apply Collective Impact concepts to the problems they face. VEE has already successfully sponsored Collective Impact initiatives and seeks to promote more. For a more in-depth understanding of Collective Impact, see the following link featuring an overview of concepts as presented by FSG, a recognized leader in multi-sector collaboration: