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News & Info

ANNOUNCEMENT: Community Agency and Health Symposium: How Community Organizations Can Be More Effective in Promoting Health

Community Science, along with other organizations under the leadership of Bridging Health & Community, will be holding the Community Agency & Health symposium on May 15–16 in Oakland, CA.

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20 Years of Using Knowledge to Promote Social Change

2017 marks the 20th anniversary of the founding of Community Science, originally known as the Association for the Study and Development of Community (ASDC). ASDC emerged as a place where social change professionals could come to focus on “creating healthy, just, and equitable communities.” The promotion of healthy, just, and equitable communities has been a central part of Community Science from the very first day. Kien Lee joined me in forming ASDC, first in a small study in my home and then graduating into our basement. We grew to five people in our basement—to the dismay of our children. When my wife would bake cookies and other treats for our young children, staff would get a whiff of her cooking and instant message me to see if I could bring anything down for them to eat.

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Using Systemic Thinking to Transform Juvenile Justice in the United States

Seeing the problem. The juvenile justice system in the United States is intended to reduce crime and increase public safety while holding youth accountable for their actions. However, for the last three decades the system has focused more on punishing young people, processing them in the formal court system, and confining youth in large, prison-like facilities, sometimes with adults, at an annual per-youth cost of $149,000.1

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Spotlight On: Legacy

In the 1980s, juvenile justice systems in the United States began adopting more punitive, adult-oriented approaches to juvenile justice. Since 1996, the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation (the Foundation) has been working to correct these trends through grant making activities supporting research, program innovation, and systems and policy change. To work effectively in a complex juvenile justice landscape, the Foundation has used multiple reform approaches suitable for a range of state and local conditions.

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Interviews with Notable Contributors in the Development of Community Science

Ricardo Millett, Ph.D., Principal Associate
In celebrating our 20th anniversary, we have decided to commemorate those people that have been major contributors to the mission success of Community Science by conducting interviews detailing their contributions. The first staff member in the series will be Ricardo Millett, current Principal Associate at Community Science and former President of The Woods Fund in Chicago. While working for the Fund, Ricardo developed and implemented a strategic grant making plan that responded to the needs of Chicago’s least advantaged. Dr. Millett also worked for the W.K. Kellogg Foundation as the Director of Program Evaluation where he focused on building greater communication and collaboration between evaluation and program staff to maximize the use of evaluation as an integral part of programming. Ricardo was interviewed by Research Assistant, Nour Elshabassi.

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Community Science Gives Back!

Part of Community Science’s mission is to directly give back to the local and national community. In 2016 donations were made to the list of organizations noted below. Charitable giving along with two days of service annually are among the many ways Community Science works "to strengthen the science and practice of community change in order to build healthy, just and equitable communities." Each Community Science staff member recommended a charity for the organization to make a donation on their behalf as their “holiday gift.” Five percent of Community Science’s annual profits were donated, the maximum amount allowed by the IRS.

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Staff Profile: Pete York

Pete York, MSSA, Principal Associate, has over 20 years of experience as a consultant and researcher in the evaluation and nonprofit fields, as well as a national spokesperson for social impact and impact measurement issues. 

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Recent Publications:

Emerging Action Principles for Designing and Planning Community Change (March 2015)

Community Matters! Decades of scientific research have shown that being part of a supportive, inclusive and capable community promotes mental, physical, and social well-being more than any other factors known to the social and medical sciences. Our publication series, Community Matters: Action Principles, Frameworks, and Strategies, shares what science and practice have taught us about building and strengthening community. The first publication in this series, “Emerging Principles for Designing and Implementing Community Change,” has just been released.


Local Voices: On-the-Ground Perspectives on Driving Community Change in the Making Connections Sites (July 2014)

This report describes, from the perspective of local stakeholders, the experience of several sites involved in Making Connections — the Foundation’s signature community change initiative of the 2000s — in developing and enhancing the core capacities essential for articulating and pursuing a local community change agenda. The report describes the conditions in the communities when Making Connections began; the core capacities built during the decade-long initiative; the factors that contributed to capacity building; the evidence of improved outcomes for children, families and neighborhoods resulting from the enhanced change capacities; the continuing challenges of sustaining those capacities; and key takeaways from the experience.  


Addressing Health Disparities Through Organizational Change-Evaluation Report (April 2012)

In 2006, The Colorado Trust funded 14 organizations to improve their cultural competency in order to strengthen their capacity to reduce health disparities.  Community Science was engaged to evaluate the initiative, specifically assessing: 1) changes in cultural competency among grantees, 2) the influence of cultural competency changes on grantee interventions and short -term outcomes, 3) factors and conditions needed to bring about positive changes in organizational cultural competency, and 4) grantee progress and accomplishments over time.  


The Importance of Culture in Evaluation

The Importance of Culture in Evaluation, a publication funded by The Colorado Trust, provides insights to help guide the complex dynamics between evaluators, funders and stakeholders of different cultures. The report provides examples of where cross-cultural competency is critical in evaluation and recommends questions and strategies that an evaluator should consider when practicing this form of cultural competency.