Blog

Community Navigator Work Mar 7, 2019 - This last month, in partnership with the Denver Foundation’s M. Julie Patiño, Barclay Jones, and LaDawn Sullivan; Joby Schaffer wrote an article featured in The Foundation Review. The article, Community Navigation as a Field of Practice: Reframing Service Delivery to Meet the Needs of Communities’ Marginalized Populations, calls out lessons learned through the Basic Human Needs Navigator […]
Embracing Values in Evaluation Practice Oct 2, 2018 - Research has traditionally defined rigor as obtaining an unbiased estimate of impact, suggesting the need for experimental or quasi-experimental methods and objective, quantitative measures in order to obtain trustworthy results. I’ve spent the past few months as a member of Colorado’s Equitable Evaluation Collaboratory, which aims to examine the role evaluation plays in supporting or […]
Economic Growth Sep 22, 2018 - In continuation of the dialogue on the Unintended Consequences of Systems Change, our July Social Innovators Breakfast focused on Colorado’s Economic Growth. We had three amazing panelists that guided the discussion and that we owe our deepest appreciation: Jake Williams: Healthier Colorado Elizabeth Garner: State Demography Office, Department of Local Affairs Lauren Ris: Colorado Water […]
Housing Affordability Sep 4, 2018 - Our Social Innovators Breakfast Series summer focus, Navigating the Unintended Consequences of Systems Change, continued in June with a panel discussion on housing affordability. We are grateful to our three panelists for representing a range of perspectives and experiences, and for sharing their expertise and lessons learned: Claire Levy, Executive Director of the Colorado Center […]
Moving from Equality to Equity Jul 5, 2018 - In May 2018, our Social Innovators Breakfast Series launched a special summer focus: Navigating the Unintended Consequences of Systems Change. Though we anticipate Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) will be an important component for all events in the series, we decided to kick things off with a DEI-specific topic: Navigating the Unintended Consequences of moving […]
Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion – Moving Principles into Practice Jun 15, 2018 - We’ve been busy this Spring! As promised, we want to be transparent in sharing our journey to incorporate Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) principles here at Spark. This blog post describes our DEI updates since May. Tools for sharing and reflection One of the early activities identified in our DEI plan was to develop a […]
Too often, programs are framed as the enemy of systems change. Systems and Programs: Moving from Enemies to Friends May 16, 2018 - Over the past few years, there has been an increasing emphasis on the need for “systems change” to achieve large-scale social impact. As someone deeply embedded in research and evaluation at the systems-level, I fundamentally believe that addressing complex problems requires system-level solutions. An increasing emphasis on systems – including a greater focus on multi-stakeholder […]
Addressing Health Disparities Linked to Climate Issues May 10, 2018 - In April, I had the pleasure of facilitating the Alliance of Nurses for Health Environments (ANHE) two-day strategic planning retreat. The goal was to chart a path forward that incorporated equity into their work, and we conducted interviews with members of the nursing community who were familiar with ANHE to understand how ANHE could best […]
Our Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Update Apr 21, 2018 - We are committed to being open and transparent throughout our process of implementing Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) at Spark. We have a lot of progress to share this month and hope it will be helpful to our staff, local community, peers, clients, and the people most affected by our work. After announcing our DEI […]
Keeping Youth Out of the Juvenile Justice System: Creating Policy and System Change Mar 5, 2018 - By Lauren Gase, Spark Policy Institute and Taylor Schooley, Los Angeles County Department of Public Health Each year, roughly one million young people are arrested in the United States. Contact with the justice system is not only a public safety issue – research shows that it can lead to a range of negative health and […]
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