about the commitments
"Organizations do not achieve impact by accident, but through dedication to rigorous practices."
--Alliance for Strong Families and Communities
MAKING THE CASE:
Over the past 2 years, Illinois’ budget impasse has been a disaster for our state’s human service infrastructure. The most respected and prominent human service providers are being forced out of our state, and entire programs are in danger of going extinct. Our communities depend on a strong base of nonprofit human service organizations to thrive and succeed but instead are facing dire risks due to depleted funds. These nonprofits serve youth, persons with disabilities, children, or persons with mental health or substance use problems. Two departments alone have lost $383 million in program funding. IDOA providers have been hurt badly. More than 200 human service providers contract with the Illinois Department on Aging, and their support from state government is plummeting. Some downstate companies have lost close to – or more than – half of their program support. From 2015 to 2016, programs lost 29.8% of their total funding. More than 1,200 providers contract with the Illinois Department of Human Services, and it is this group where the largest losses of support from state government have occurred. Altogether, these providers lost 31.4% of their funding.
Rural Illinois has experienced mass exodus of its professional workforce of counseling/mental health professionals as population continues to decline, especially throughout Southern Illinois. According to Illinois Issues (10, August, 2017), “the increasing proportion of young people pursuing higher education has also led many to leave, or not return to, rural communities. In addition to relatively fewer employment opportunities for those with four year degrees, the growing wage differential between rural and metro areas encouraged graduates to seek high-paying jobs in expanding metro areas.”
ADAPTING TO A NEW REALITY:
With these volatile climates are specific conditions that nonprofits must understand and use to inform their present work and future plans: demand for effective practices and evidenced-based tools to pursue them; rapidly emerging, changing, and improving science and technology; health care reform; substantial demographic shifts related to age and ethnicity; erosion of government funding streams; movement away from fee-for-service to third party payer models; questions regarding the nonprofit value proposition; redefinition of the social contract; and changing leadership paradigms.
Organizations must embrace an adaptive planning process that is based on continuous forecasting, beta testing, and course correction. They must commit to rigorous practices around leadership, advocacy and execution if they are to achieve their missions in the current operating environment. Organizations will achieve impact through dedication and rigorous attention to ambitious, research-based practices and values. The Commitments of High-Impact Nonprofit Organizations serve as a framework and pathway for lasting impact-advancing change and supporting the vision for success defined by the children, families, and communities with whom they work.
APPLYING BEST PRACTICES:
The Southern Illinois Commitments Cohort will infuse the Commitments framework into nonprofit organizational performance and practice. it is intended to assess and benchmark each nonprofit’s current levels of competency in each of the Commitments, and provide tools and technical assistance to elevate agency proficiencies in each of the Commitments competencies. The project will offer participants opportunities for peer learning, shared experiences and broadened perspective among the cohort members. By the conclusion of this effort we expect to see a stronger core of high impact nonprofit providers in the Southern Illinois community.
The cohort will bring together leaders from up to ten human service organizations jointly selected through engagement with the Illinois Partners for Human Service and the Alliance for Strong Families and Communities. Additionally, SIU - Center for Rural Health and Social Service Development will act as the research arm of this cohort. Learn more about the partnership with SIU.
This nine month learning journey is structured as an executive-level, post-symposium, cohort experience by creating an environment that provides content, but ALSO largely draws on the knowledge and experiences of the participants. The cohort participants will utilize the Commitments Assessment tool to develop individual organization transformation plans and engage in peer learning opportunities. Learn more about the Commitments Assessment Focus Areas.
Documents and Resources for More Information