During this time of racial reckoning in combination with the global pandemic and catastrophic climate change, we must seize the opportunity to reinvent, reimagine and more effectively communicate a collective vision—a world of interconnectedness and...Read more.
We are excited to announce our 2019 brandUP participating organizations. Atma Connect is an award-winning creator of software products and digital services that connect people to report problems, share solutions, and improve their communities from...Read more.
Making a Case for Community-led Communications Capacity Building
During this time of racial reckoning in combination with the global pandemic and catastrophic climate change, we must seize the opportunity to reinvent, reimagine and more effectively communicate a collective vision—a world of interconnectedness and collaboration, where those most impacted are prioritized and communications and technology are used to "sustain, heal and empower" rather than divide (Design Justice Network Principle 1).
The nonprofit sector is constantly evolving in response to the needs of our communities and planet—finding innovative and often grassroots solutions to our society’s most complex problems. Unfortunately, these same organizations are often forced to not only compete but are also starved of resources, professional development and collaborative opportunities to build, think and learn.
Unfortunately, nonprofits, service providers and funders have been siloed by issue and geography, operating within a scarcity mindset—competing with each other for resources. This fragmented and competitive approach often sacrifices the needs of the communities suffering the most harm and cannot deliver systemic change. As a sector, we need to reframe our shared values, vision and work through a lens of anti-racism, equity, trust and mutual aid. We need collaborative, systemic-focused, transformational change in order to solve intersectional challenges at the individual, community and national scale.
Communications, is easily the most adaptive tool we have to promote anti-racist, inclusive solutions that center the communities most impacted. Shared communication strategy builds clarity around what is at stake and promotes a comprehensive vision to guide community stakeholders towards a common purpose.
We need to tell the right message to the right people at the right time, together.
Research repeatedly shows that those organizations with a strong focus on brand and communications strategy are, "stronger, smarter and vastly more effective." - Sean Gibbons, Executive Director, ComNet, The Case for Communications, Stanford Social Innovation Review
However, communications are often overlooked or forced to be an after-thought within organizations that are challenged by limited resources. This leads to less than equitable outcomes at best & harmfully reproductive outcomes at worst. “Today, communications is not just an opportunity for nonprofits; it’s a necessity. Whether we’re fundraising or trying to influence policy, how we reach the right person with the right message has changed profoundly." - Andrew Sherry, The New Communications Imperative, Stanford Social Innovation Review
Our internal data shows, and external studies support, that a focus on communications capacity building creates more resilient organizations as well as more equity-centered leaders.
Over the last 4 years, rootid—in collaboration with various community partners, as well as input gained through hosted workshops, surveys and individual stakeholder interviews—has co-designed and developed a suite of professional development and communications capacity-building experiences. The flagship of which is rootid's brand and communications strategy cohort model—a 5-working session experience paired with monthly office hours and rootid's 1-on-1 coaching that support nonprofit leaders' journeys toward the development of equitable, inclusive and strategic brand and communications. In conjunction with the cohort, rootid also co-hosts monthly roundtable discussions open to the larger community, where nonprofit leaders come together in a 'solution room' style format to discuss their challenges and work together to think, learn and brainstorm solutions to common cross-sector issues.
Quotes from organizations that participated in a few of rootid's programs.
“rootid showed us ways to go beyond a communications strategy, printed or web content, and instead get to the heart of our mission and impact which lies directly in human experiences of reentry and the daily barriers they face. By focusing squarely on elevating those experiences, we were able to come up with a thoughtful and strategic communications strategy that aligned with our mission and that brought the organization’s development and programs team together to streamline our work, elevate the voices of those we serve, and really demonstrate what really matters to the wider public - which is breaking down barriers to opportunity for all Americans with criminal records.” - Aiasha Khalid, Deputy Director, Strategy & Impact, Root & Rebound
“Our staff is overburdened, we are on the ground and have to focus on just doing what we do. Having opportunities to talk with other nonprofit organizations, see how we are all managing under the circumstances we are in, and even mentor one another, that opportunity is so helpful.” -Terri Forman, Executive Director, First Graduate
"rootid’s training allowed me to really understand my organization’s audiences and write messaging that actually worked. Everyone working in communications should do this, and they should do it now – the earlier you do this is better, because it will shake up your communications strategy for the better!" - Emma Baumgart, Senior Communications Coordinator, Elevate Energy
"We sometimes get stuck in a land of buzzwords and complex messaging, and rootid helped our organization unpackage who we are, why we matter, and how different audiences perceive our work. rootid ultimately helped us talk about our work in a much more digestible way that shows our unique value-- we can't thank their team enough!" -Maureen Silva, Director of Development & Innovation, Mandela Partners
It’s been a transformative experience for us as a nonprofit. I couldn’t recommend it more. -Erinn Carter, Co-Founder of Frailty Myths
It helped us build a roadmap that we can use in our work now, but also for years to come. -Ben, SFUSD, Restorative Practices
Join us in co-designing and developing a community-driven communications collective.
We are excited to announce our 2019 brandUP participating organizations.
Atma Connect is an award-winning creator of software products and digital services that connect people to report problems, share solutions, and improve their communities from the ground up. Their free mobile app, AtmaGo, has reached more than 1,200,000 Indonesian users since 2015, delivering real-time, crowd-sourced content. Citizens share everything from traffic updates and job postings to breaking news during national emergencies.
City Surf Project connects underrepresented youth to the ocean—and themselves—through surfing. Their programs support those who may not otherwise have the opportunity to experience swimming lessons, ocean recreation, stewardship activities, and environmental education. They encourage healthy lifestyles and active global citizenship. (2019 Full Circle Fund Grantee)
The Environmental Volunteers organization inspires people of all ages to learn about the wonders of the natural world. They train volunteers to lead hands-on science and nature programs in schools, community organizations, and at the EcoCenter—their public nature center in the Palo Alto Baylands Nature Preserve. They also have a transportation fund to provide affordable and easy-to-schedule transportation for low-income K-12 students in the San Francisco Bay Area who would not otherwise be able to access science and environmental education field trips.
GAIA is a worldwide alliance of more than 800 grassroots groups, non-governmental organizations, and individuals in over 90 countries whose ultimate vision is a just, toxic-free world without incineration. They focus on three initiatives: promoting zero waste, reducing problematic waste streams like plastic, and putting an end to the ineffective and hazardous practice of burning waste.
LitLab creates connected and interactive early learning environments by deploying books, digital content, and blended learning solutions for under-resourced children, their caregivers, and educators. They engage parents and caregivers as a child’s first teacher, mobilize early learning advocates, empower teachers with training, and provide blended learning interventions customized through pre-survey data for each child. Through combined resources and integrated, yet customized programs, they are revolutionizing early learning.
Mobile Pathways’ team consists of immigration attorneys, technology experts, and immigrant advocates. They help undocumented and under-documented immigrants gain access to reliable legal information via mobile phone technology. A proprietary “decision tree” texts users potential paths for legal immigration status. Once they understand their options, they are given a list of qualified immigration advocates who can assist them.
MotherCoders helps women with college degrees and work experience get on a career track in tech that leverages their unique skills, experiences, and passions. Whether it’s acquiring a particular skill-set for career advancement, re-entering the workforce after a pause for motherhood, or accelerating the growth of a startup, their training program enables students to gain enough skills, knowledge, and community support to confidently take the next step (or 2 or 3) toward a career in tech.
New Left Accelerator empowers emerging, progressive organizations and leaders working to strengthen civic engagement and advance a more just and equal society. They accomplish this by running an accelerator program and serving as a resource clearinghouse for these promising, new organizations.
Partnerships for Trauma Recovery (PTR) aims to reduce the mental health gap by addressing the psychosocial impacts of trauma caused by war, torture, forced displacement, human trafficking, and persecution due to identity and beliefs. Their model is built on three complementary components: mental health care for international survivors of human rights abuses, clinical training for globally-minded clinicians, and policy advocacy for efforts aimed at reducing trauma. (2019 Full Circle Fund Grantee)
Renaissance Entrepreneurship Center empowers and increases the entrepreneurial capacities of socially and economically diverse women and men, thereby strengthening communities through the creation of sustainable new businesses, new jobs, and the promotion of financial self-sufficiency. They offer low-cost office space and ongoing business support to emerging and established small businesses at several locations. They also offer free one-on-one financial consultation. (2019 Full Circle Fund Grantee)
Richmond Promise is a community-wide college success initiative to build a college graduating culture in Richmond, CA. Through a college scholarship, collaborative cross-sector partnerships, and supportive programming, they aim to ensure all students in Richmond excel to and through higher education, reach their career goals, and become change-making leaders in the community.
RYSE creates safe spaces grounded in social justice for young people to love, learn, educate, heal, and transform lives and communities. Their youth center has free programs in education and justice; community health; media, arts, and culture; and youth organizing. Programming at RYSE is anchored in the belief that young people have the lived knowledge and expertise to identify, prioritize, and direct the activities and services necessary to thrive.
Shawl-Anderson Dance Center provides Bay Area dance students of all ages and levels with high caliber training in both contemporary and traditional movement forms in a welcoming, non-competitive environment. The Center is a non-profit organization, committed to nurturing and mentoring the growth of dancers and choreographers; cultivating a healthy and supportive atmosphere for creative expression; sustaining traditions essential to excellence in the field; and fostering the evolution of the art of dance.
Sirum saves lives by connecting organizations with surplus medications to patients in need. in the U.S. there is often a large supply of unexpired drugs that are collected from manufacturers, wholesalers, pharmacies and health facilities. Sirum helps connect that surplus supply with clinics and pharmacies that serve low-income families. (2019 Full Circle Fund Grantee)
The Social Justice Sewing Academy (SJSA) is an art program that bridges artistic expression with activism and empowers youth to amplify their voice through art that advocates for social justice. By using textile art as a vehicle for personal transformation and community cohesion, SJSA empowers youth to become agents of social change. A unique part of their program intentionally bridges generational, racial, and socioeconomic divides by sending youth art blocks to embroiderers all over the world.
The Spanish Speaking Citizens’ Foundation empowers East Bay families to improve their lives, embrace their heritage, and develop as civic leaders. They provide educational and workforce development services, as well as help navigating immigration and citizenship. They also partner with government and community organizations to assist families and youth in securing programs, services, and resources to enrich their lives.
TalkingPoints drives student success in low-income, diverse areas through building strong partnerships across parents, schools, and communities. Their goal is to impact 3 million students and their parents by 2020. (2019 Full Circle Fund Grantee)
Tandem® engages the community to ensure all families have the resources, skills, and confidence they need to support their children’s kindergarten readiness. StoryCycles®, their school-to-home book-sharing program, provides families with access to high-quality children’s books and support materials. They also offer free, community-based workshops for families, caregivers, and educators to deepen their knowledge of early childhood brain development and share simple, effective strategies for building language and literacy through everyday activities. (2019 Full Circle Fund Grantee)
Tarjimly means “translate for me” and was founded in 2017 in response to the Syrian refugee crisis and the US Refugee & Travel Ban. Their mission is to improve the lives of refugees and the efficiency of humanitarian services by eliminating language barriers. The Tarjimly mobile app allows the world’s 3 billion multilingual speakers to remotely volunteer their language skills as translators and interpreters for the 65 million displaced people. (2019 Full Circle Fund Grantee)
Turn Out maximizes the impact of volunteerism to strengthen LGBTQ+ communities. They accomplish this via three main programs: recruitment, matching, and events. Through their biweekly newsletter, which highlights new opportunities, and their online platform, volunteers can join the projects that are right for them.
Urban Ed Academy leverages community partnerships in education to drive culturally reflective experiences for students of color in schools as a means of closing the opportunity gap. They use hands-on, interactive, and culturally relevant approaches to ensure students gain an understanding of themselves, the world around them, and how it applies to various academic and social settings.
Urban Strategies Council is a regional research and advocacy organization, dedicated to social, economic, and racial equity. Their mission is to eliminate persistent poverty in the Bay Area by working with partners to transform low-income neighborhoods into vibrant, healthy communities. Issue areas include: criminal justice reform, boys and men of color, economic opportunity, pathways to career and college, and violence prevention.