Overheard: Jim Canales on Impact and Collaboration

"We have a narrow approach to how we think about assessing impact...we tend to be too focused on attribution, too focused on trying to determine how our particular contribution is leading to the end that we seek...these logic models not only create a one-dimensional picture of what we're trying to do, but they also suggest a static environment in which nothing is ever going to intervene because we have clearly drawn it out years in advance, often from a pretty high floor in a large city. We also have to take into consideration the fact that the environment around us is going to shift in some very significant ways, and our strategies have to permit a sense of adaptability that sometimes very neat boxes and lines do not permit. It's not our individual impact that we should be so concerned with, but rather what we can do collectively. So let's worry less about attribution, and more about contribution."

-Jim Canales, President & CEO of the James Irvine Foundation, at the Social Impact Exchange 2013 Conference on Scaling Impact. Check out the full keynote address which focused on how funders can approach collaboration, assess impact, and exercise leadership in the philanthropic sector.


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Director of Stakeholder Engagement