Collective Impact’s $1m Search Finds Burnie
19 March 2015 at 10:48 am
Burnie, a small port city on the north west coast of Tasmania has been selected to receive up to $1 million of support from a pioneering group of funders who are backing a new approach to tackling some of Australia’s most complex social problems.
The Governor-General Sir Peter Cosgrove announced Burnie as the winner of The Search – an initiative convened by The Centre for Social Impact that aims to develop the capacity of communities in the early stages of implementing the collective impact framework.
Chosen from a shortlist of 11 communities around Australia, the Burnie Works initiative is applying the collective impact framework to tackle ‘worklessness’ caused by entrenched social disadvantage and poor educational outcomes.
The initiative saw leaders from Burnie’s industry, Government and community come together to focus on improving the engagement of young people in education and their transition to employment.
A panel of international judges reviewed the shortlisted communities in terms of their community engagement, outcomes focus, leadership and possibility of success.
“Their decision was a hard one and Burnie stood out particularly in regards to the way they have engaged residents and people with lived experience in all parts of the change process,” Centre for Social Impact CEO Dr Andrew Young said.
Dr Young said the initiative was the first of its kind in Australia, and Burnie would now act as a lighthouse example for future collective impact initiatives.
“The challenges in Burnie are complex and interrelated, but they have shown through this process an absolute commitment to doing things differently; in the way that they think about and lead social change in their community.
“I particularly congratulate Burnie for this, but acknowledge that all of the shortlisted communities, without exception, have committed to the long-term change agenda they have embarked upon through The Search process.”
Chair of the Burnie Project enabling group and Mayor of Burnie, Anita Dow told Pro Bono Australia News that the win would put their work on collective impact into the national arena with the opportunity to influence Federal and State Governments.
“The award is the culmination of a lot of hard work over five years which delivered the strategic ‘Making Burnie 2030’ plan,” Dow said.
“It is a recognition of the level of engagement in Burnie and goodwill to make positive change and the breadth of community involvement with local business, education and State Ministers.”
The Search Funding will be used to progress the work already being done, employ a full time coordinator and provide an opportunity for a major evaluation.
‘We hope this will place our work on collective impact onto the national stage,” Dow said.
The Search was launched in June 2014 and attracted 49 Expressions of interest from communities across Australia. Of the 49 applications, the largest number came from NSW (17), followed by Victoria (11) and Tasmania (5). An eminent panel of national and international judges assessed the applications and shortlisted 11 communities from across Australia.
The Search is convened by the Centre for Social Impact and supported by a Catalysing Group, which includes the following organisations: Westpac Foundation, Results Leadership Group (Australia and USA), Social Solutions Group (USA), Blackbaud Pacific, Social Ventures Australia, Australian Communities Foundation and the Centre for Social Impact.
Community representatives at the The Search announcement in Sydney