How Does a 100% New Mexico Champion Guide Groundbreaking Work?
How to 100% Training Series: Part 1
Overseeing transformational change across an entire county and working to ensure families’ access to vital services is the heroic work of 100% New Mexico initiative coordinators. This is how it’s done.
Katherine Ortega Courtney, PhD and Dominic Cappello
When we started the 100% New Mexico initiative in three counties back in 2019, we didn’t know precisely how the local coordinator would facilitate and guide the countywide process. This was because an initiative like 100% New Mexico, working to ensure ten vital services in ten distinct service sectors and engaging local governments, had never been attempted before in the US. We have learned much from our coordinators across New Mexico, as their insights and actions have coalesced into a guide for doing the groundbreaking community-building work. Their work as champions has been key to the initiative’s growth.
The local 100% New Mexico initiative coordinator serves an important role in a collaborative process involving several local activities. The initiative, as described in 100% Community: Ensuring 10 vital services for surviving and thriving, is a collective impact project which means the local initiative participants in the leadership team and action teams all have the same shared vision, goals, mission, and understanding of how data is used, how communication strategies are facilitated, and how all the activities are inter-connected. Through monthly initiative meetings with action team participants, the coordinator is always focused on working together to generate projects focused on reducing service barriers, developing proposals for keystone projects, and aligning local resources toward a common goal. The coordinator is also responsible for completing the 100% County Update, which identifies initiative activities taken over a quarter. This update is an assessment tool that is discussed with the Anna, Age Eight Institute’s evaluation team member. The quarterly call is roughly an hour and the evaluation team member can help the coordinator fill out the form. While this might seem a small detail within all the moving parts of the local initiative, it’s a vital one that tracks a lot of local energy and inspired actions.
Step by step, innovation appears
Here’s a step-by-step guide to support a coordinator (which our various counties have taught us is not always a linear process):
Understand Collective Impact: Familiarize yourself with the principles of collective impact. Understand that it involves a structured approach that brings together diverse stakeholders from ten service sectors (representing the ten vital services for surviving and thriving described in 100% Community) to work collaboratively on a common agenda.
Revisit the mission and share resources: In an ongoing dialogue with action team members on the monthly call, focus on the mission and specific challenge of ensuring ten vital services for 100% of county families that require a coordinated effort. Ideally, all initiative members have read Anna, Age Eight, and have an understanding of the urgent need for the initiative, as well as practical strategies for addressing adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) and lack of access to ten vital services (described by public health researchers as “the adverse social determinants of health.” The “determinants” are those services that determine one’s health, safety, education, and overall quality of life. This is discussed in the book, David, Age 14. Our 100% New Mexico website houses valuable content, including research briefs, county reports, “Road to 100%” videos, mural project videos, maps, and more: www.100nm.org.
Engage stakeholders: Continue to identify key stakeholders who have a vested interest in supporting the mission and addressing the challenge of service barriers. These can be representatives from nonprofit organizations, government agencies, businesses, community leaders, higher education, and residents. All our websites and courses are designed to inspire, engage, and inform initiative participants, partners, local elected leaders, and the public (including students, teachers, and families). It is important to acknowledge that organizations have often been forced to compete for limited funding within the public sector. Creating collaboration and trust among service organizations that have historically competed for funding and resources requires a deliberate and strategic approach. Transforming competition into collaboration can lead to more efficient resource utilization and better outcomes for the community. 100% means all family-serving organizations within a county are united in a vision of 100% of children, students, and families thriving.
Convene a 100% New Mexico leadership team: Assemble a leadership team representing diverse community sectors. This team can meet monthly to guide the collective impact project, provide expertise, and make key decisions.
Develop the priority keystone projects: Develop proposals for the 100% Family Center: One Stop Service Hub with the leadership team.
Track progress: Monitor the progress of each action team, and track the development of the following projects (all described in this course).
The 100% New Mexico County Survey
The 100% New Mexico Mural Project
The 100% Family Services Directory
The Anna, Age Eight and 100% Community book clubs
The 100% New Mexico Summit
Hiring grant writers to develop proposals for funding the 100% Family Center and other priority projects
Build a shared space online to communicate: Local initiatives use a variety of technologies to create a shared space to communicate across action teams. Facebook is one option. Our initiative has two websites housing courses that also act as places for local initiative members to share ideas in discussion areas. The 100% New Mexico Initiative Training Center (where you are right now) is a great place to share insights in a variety of discussion rooms. “The Child’s Right to Survive and Thrive” course also provides discussion areas for sharing ideas, concerns, questions, and insights: www.100nm.org/course. These courses are built on the Mighty Networks platform. It is also possible to create a version that works like a better version of Facebook in order to focus exclusively on coordinating action teams. You can visit 100% Chaves to take a tour of their Mighty Networks site: www.100percentchavescounty.com.
Celebrate Achievements: Celebrate milestones and achievements to acknowledge the collective effort and boost morale among stakeholders. Motivation and self-care support are key activities to sustain the local initiative in its long-term work.
Remember that creating interest in the local 100% New Mexico initiative among diverse populations requires an ongoing commitment to building relationships, listening to community voices, and adapting your strategies based on feedback. By embracing inclusivity and respecting the unique experiences of different groups, you can create a collective impact project that truly reflects and serves the entire community. Despite an often toxic mass media and social media that attempts to make our differences divide us, we focus on how our differences unite us in a common cause focused on 100% thriving.
Holding the collective vision is a priority
Coordinating a local 100% New Mexico initiative requires maintaining the vision of 100% of children, students, and families thriving. Add to that strong leadership, effective communication, and a commitment to collaboration. The coordinator, working with the leadership team and action teams, can create meaningful and lasting change in the county. Please consider the above steps as a serving suggestion rather than a strictly designed set of rules. Activities work best when customized by local stakeholders to meet local needs. Please contact the Anna, Age Eight Institute with any questions, concerns, or bold ideas for improving the process.
Coordinators and the local teams can reflect on these questions
- The university that sponsors the 100% New Mexico initiative is a repository of research on reducing service barriers, increasing effective and transparent government, and preventing adverse childhood experiences. This research (turning science into real-world solutions) can guide local initiative work. As a local initiative participant, what support might you welcome from the Anna, Age Eight Institute regarding research, programs, and policies?
- What might be the biggest challenges monitoring the progress of ten action teams and what support might you welcome?
- What support from the institute can help you with the quarterly 100% New Mexico update as well as sharing insights, concerns, and successes with the evaluation team?
Join the discussion with other initiative members
If you’d like to join in the conversation across New Mexico, you can go directly to the 100% New Mexico Training Center and explore the “How to 100%” course. There, you will find a course on all initiative activities and a general discussion area connecting you with other initiative champions across New Mexico. For a view of the entire initiative’s progress please visit our research briefs.