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Our Impact

C4CW strives to help our partners improve and sustain their positive impact in the world, and their ongoing  experience of joy, generosity, and wellbeing. For us, these two foci are inextricably intertwined: large-scale change efforts can better sustain and improve their impact in the world when they consciously tend to the wellbeing of participants and partners as an ongoing, integral part of their work.

We regularly assess and reflect on C4CW's impact using a variety of measures, including data gathered from online surveys, pre- and post-assessments, and individual and small group interviews. What follows are brief descriptions of a few of the many change efforts we have designed and helped lead, and some data speaking to the impact of some of our immersions and early academies.

Examples of Our Work

C4CW is committed to helping our partners significantly improve their impact in the world and increase their experience of joy, generosity, and wellbeing. We have led a wide range of large-scale change efforts in partnership with foundations, public systems, and communities. Examples of these efforts, and some of the papers and assessments :

  • Partnering with the Behavioral Health and Recovery Services Department in Stanislaus County, California from 2013 through 2015 to develop and lead a custom-designed leadership development initiative for a cohort of behavioral health non-profit organizations in Stanislaus County, California.

  • Partnering with five Los Angeles County funders—the California Endowment, the Parsons Foundation, the California Community Foundation, the Hilton Foundation, and First 5 LA— to support a multi-year effort from 2017 to 2021 to promote trauma and resiliency-informed systems and community change across LA County.

  • Partnering with First 5 LA, the largest First 5 in California, from 2018 to present to help transform its role from being primarily a funder of services and supports to becoming a systems change catalyst elevating equity in all that it does.

  • Between 2014 and 2020, partnering with the Stanislaus Community Foundation, the Stanislaus County Office of Education, the County CEO’s office, Modesto Community College, California State University, twenty-six school districts and dozens of community-based and non-profit organizations to help design and implement an ongoing cradle-to-career movement to improve countywide educational and wellbeing outcomes for children and young people.

  • Partnering with The Angell Foundation from 2007 through 2009, and again from 2012 through 2015, to develop and lead custom-designed, signature leadership development initiatives for two cohorts of non-profit organizations in Los Angeles County.

  • Redesigning behavioral and mental health systems in Los Angeles, Stanislaus, and Placer counties in California to evolve systemic strategies and structures focused on prevention and promoting community-wide wellbeing. This work was sponsored in part by the California Institute for Behavioral Health Solutions from 2007 through 2011.

  • Helping multiple United Ways in the US and Canada develop more effective community engagement and capacity-building strategies to improve community wellbeing.

  • Designing and facilitating diverse stakeholder processes for county government leaders in California and North Carolina, to help develop consensus recommendations on projected major budget shortfalls in ways that balanced the budgets and improved the effectiveness of these systems.

  • Supporting the emergence of over thirty countywide movements in North Carolina to ensure children enter kindergarten healthy and ready to succeed as the centerpiece of Governor Hunt’s Smart Start initiative. This initiative inspired similar efforts around the country, including Proposition 10 and the First 5 movement in California.

Quotes from Immersion and Academy Participants


The entire training was transformative - especially the idea of adaptation within living systems, and the idea that complexity is natural and not something to be resisted or solved ‘perfectly.’ Also that adaptation happens in real-time and the fluidity of our responses to issues … all groundbreaking realizations for me. And this is the perspective that we need over the long haul as we build our movement.

Academy participant

Assessments from Early Academies

An ongoing, multi-sector initiative to build a countywide Cradle to Career movement adopted  Living Collective Wisdom® to guide the early stages of its development. A 2020 report documents the progress and developmental edges of this remarkably ambitious effort. Evolving Together for Profound Results: A Learning for Adapting Report for Stanislaus Cradle to Career. Center for Collective Wisdom, 2020.

In a three-year initiative with a cohort of behavioral health organizations, participants reported an increase in their organization’s capacity to have a positive impact on the people they serve, reflect on the impact of their work using data, and adapt to challenges. They also reported an increased capacity to better adapt to current policy and fiscal changes affecting the larger system; to nurture a stronger and more positive internal environment; and to more effectively collaborate among each other and with the system’s funder. Cultivating Cultures of Collective Wisdom: Assessing the Impact and Lessons Learned from the Wisdom Transformation Initiative. Center for Collective Wisdom, 2016.

In a two-year initiative with 11 non-profit organizations, participants surveyed by an evaluation firm reported that their engagement with C4CW increased their organizations’ capacity to realize their mission and goals and nurture a healthier working environment for staff. In particular, participants reported statistically significant increases in: (1) their organizations’ capacity to effectively address adaptive dilemmas; (2) their understanding of foundational concepts of Leadership for Collective Wisdom; (3) their capacity to embody a majority of the self leadership commitments and all of the collective leadership commitments; and (4) their experience of generosity towards others and oneself. The Angell Foundation’s Organizational Spirituality Initiative: Telling the Story, Final Report. Applied Survey Research, 2015.

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