Knowledge Communities, Inc. has successfully partnered with many nonprofit organizations and produced results with rich, long-lasting value. Here are a few stories of our successes, to give you an idea of the impact that Knowledge Communities can have in your community. You can also check out our latest testimonials at our blog.
Communities of Practice
Knowledge Communities has facilitated numerous Communities of Practice, often through the generous assistance of external grants: Kehilliyot, Boston Heads of School, Grant Maker Meta-Community, and more.
Case Study: Overcoming competition and creation of a safe space at Boston Heads of School. After approximately six months of meeting, community members articulated what makes the CoP work: "It is a safe place for colleagues to share and process both policy and personal issues." Participants have shared experiences and approaches on highly sensitive areas such as executive coaching, salary scales and board-head relations. Now in year five of working with Knowledge Communities, the heads have created shared standards for admission practices and are working on share practices for board-head relations.
Case Study: The Covenant Foundation supported the formation of Kehilliyot, a CoP "meta-community" for Jewish professionals in the field of community facilitation. Now in its third year, the community has grown to nearly 50 members and is beginning to form subgroups and creating plans to continue the group even beyond the end of funding. Members report that Kehilliyot's activities, which include phone discussions, face-to-face meetings, and e-mail listserv discussions, have substantially aided their own professional development and given them take-home tools for the communities they themselves facilitate. For instance, though many members were initially very uncertain about the use of technology to foster community, Kehilliyot's activities have gradually encompassed technologies from wikis to Twitter to Dimdim, exploring their potential through active practice.
Here are a few quotes from participants in Communities of Practice that Knowledge Communities has facilitated:
"I have to tell you that I was floored by your artful, firm and flexible approach to running yesterday’s meeting. Kudos to you." -- Deborah Grayson Riegel, Jewish Consultants Group
"Each time we meet, we build another layer of learning, connecting, sharing and renewed momentum to keep the energy and the learning flowing." -- Joan Bronspiegel Dickman, Kehilliyot
"We had the case study problem of a group member who felt overwhelmed by the rapid-fire conversation on our conference calls. Thanks to Kehilliyot members Lisa and Caren, we became members of NTEN, which provided a free demo of webinar and conference call technology. We learned about technological solutions which will enable our conference call participants to virtually "raise their hands" and ask questions from their computers while listening/participating on the calls. We think this is going to be a great resource for us and it is all part of our learning curve." -- Brenda Gevertz, Kehilliyot
"Thank you for all the work you have done on behalf of the group. You have helped us take great strides forward and you have really left your mark." -- Rabbi Marc Baker, Boston Heads of School
Knowledge Communities has helped numerous nonprofits achieve success and improved functionality: BJE LA and BJE NY, Communiteen, Darim Online, Congregation Beth Israel (Charlottesville, VA), JESNA, and many more.
Case Study: Knowledge Communities collaborated with Congregation Beth Israel (CBI), the only congregation in Charlottesville, VA, to build their award winning Shabbat Connections Program (SC). The collaboration reaped numerous insights, new ways of working and a program that exceeded everyone’s expectations, supported for two years by funding from the Legacy Heritage Foundation.
Shabbat Connection Groups continue to meet and new groups are forming based on word of mouth. Shabbat Connections has become institutionalized as a regular feature of the congregation. The congregation is working on building a mentoring program that will leverage the internal leadership of each Shabbat connections group and connect the groups to the congregation. The Shabbat Connections groups can be kept going with, as Rabbi Dan Alexander says, “just the right light touch.”
Case Study: Darim Online brought in Knowledge Communities to build Darim's capacity to facilitate seminars for professional and lay leaders of 60 synagogues using the Darim web services. Seminars focused on increasing the use of the web for marketing to members and non-members. Sessions were highly attended by a broad representation of congregation staff; forty congregations downloaded over 250 documents from the community's online home within the first 48 hours after the first session. Participants' initial learning soon grew into active participation, as individuals began to contribute documents to share with peers and propose the formation of shared group resources such as a shared communication staff person among synagogues that did not have capacity for full time staff, and collective negotiation with synagogue software vendors to save on technology costs.
Here are a few quotes from other participants and organizers at nonprofit organizations:
"Naava's pleasant manner seamlessly guided us toward a group focus. Many of us were surprised at what we had accomplished at the end of the day. Our evaluations, both formal and informal, have shown this was a very well received seminar. 'Ownership' has already become part of our common language." -- Lisa Litman, Director of An Ethical Start at JCC Association, New York
"Naava helped us design a format for the initial meeting that we used to introduce the concept of relationship-based peer learning. . . The Learning Teams, now entering their third year, consistently receive the highest ratings of any meeting segment. When the Learning Teams shared highlights from their year at our June meeting we learned that team members regularly contact each other between meetings for resources and information. Several also collaborated to sponsor joint training or service events this year. Without the benefit of Naava’s wisdom and expertise in shaping the Learning Teams, we would never have been able to achieve these results. Learning Teams have become an essential strategy for providing technical assistance and support to our grantees." -- Naomi Weiner, Massachusetts Service Alliance, Boston
"Incredibly helpful -- all learning teams changed dramatically in the last couple weeks. Now they own and drive the meeting." -- Eileen Yang, New Sector, Boston
"Naava was a wonderful speaker and I hope to have the opportunity to participate in more of her seminars in the future. I thought the meeting was a huge success and I certainly feel much more prepared and excited to begin teaching." -- Dani Faith Sahner, Board of Jewish Education, Rhode Island
Knowledge Communities has taught or facilitated workshops at numerous professional conferences; a representative sample of these workshops is below.
Frank, N., Allen, M. L., Miller, L. CAJE 33 “Early Childhood Communities of Practice – Part 1 & 2.” August 12 & 13, 2008.
Frank, N. JCC Association Annual Conference “Building Community Around An Ethical Start®”, July 28, 2008.
Frank, N. Hillel: The Foundation for Jewish Campus Life, Washington D.C. “Introduction to Communities of Practice” and “How To Strategically Leverage Communities of Practice.” January 29, 2008.
Frank, N. New Sector Alliance, “What is Knowledge Sharing.” January 23, 2008.
Frank, N., Rockwell, S. Backman, S. The Network Nonprofit, “Building and Managing On-Line Communities – Strategies for activating your community and keeping the momentum going.” December 11, 2007.
Frank, N., TDC Corporation, “Knowledge Sharing Strategies for Learning Communities”, November 13, 2007.
Frank N. and Colton, L. The Coalition for the Advancement of Jewish Education, “Learning Communities for Professional Development: Case Studies and Best Practices”, August 6, 2007.
Uplift Network: Facilitation of workshop for national leaders in network technology and philanthropy on how networks can be used to promote philanthropy: "Networked Theory of a Better World," Boston, MA, November 20-21, 2005; "How do We Create Patterns of Infectious Good?," Boston MA, August 7-8, 2006.
Frank, N. Nonprofit Technology Enterprise Network: Boston Regional Conference, 2005. “Enabling Technology Funding: Issues for Grantmakers and Grantseekers.” Rated among the top 5 speakers.
Frank, N., Snyder, W., and Elkin, J. Grantmakers for Effective Organizations Conference, Boston, May, 2005. Plenary session. “Communities of Practice: What are they? Why are they valuable? How do we develop one?” Recognized with an award for session design.
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