This is the third in a series of monthly blog posts highlighting the activities and other work of APACC members, APACC working groups, and the collaborative as a whole.
As the Anacostia Park and Community Collaborative looks to Year 3 of our Chesapeake Bay Funders Network Capacity Building Initiative funding, the most important challenge for APACC is balancing two needs. Internally, members must work together and build trust and a common commitment so members own and lead APACC. APACC's internal activities are required to solidify membership, develop leadership, and gel around a common goal. Externally, APACC as a network must lead and organize on issues affecting the Anacostia River Corridor. APACC's external activities are necessary to move public policy and practice solutions to many long-standing challenges in and about the community. Both are essential if changes the community deserves are to be realized.
In 2017, APACC established a steering committee and capacity building working group to implement community projects and programs focused on advancing a shared priority of the network and improving communication and coordination among members. Although the agreed upon structure—known as the project implementation framework—provides a structure for decision-making, project development, and role assignment and leadership, APACC as a network still struggles internally. The biggest, deepest felt challenge is less than optimal participation of non-Steering Committee members.
Community and member participation
Successful implementation of the Project vision requires multiple strategies, but fundamentally must have resident and stakeholder buy-in to succeed in the long-term. The problems at the heart of APACC’s work rarely lend themselves to easy answers. In areas ranging from education and environmental protection to social services and housing affordability, achieving real and lasting impact often means changing complex and dynamic systems. No single organization can succeed in this work on its own. Many APACC leaders understand this and are making collective policy action a priority in 2019.
Goals and objectives
With continuing support from the Chesapeake Bay Funders Network, the APACC Steering Committee submitted on September 25 an updated 2018-2019 collaborative capacity building work plan to increase the organizational capacity of members, and increase our collective capacity, both organizationally and individually, to understand and connect with the Wards 7 and 8 communities and to work with each other in order to better achieve our goals and work towards our vision.
Our primary objectives for 2019 are to:
Develop a member-informed APACC Principles: These will guide fundamental decisions—such as which kinds of organizations can be members and on which issues APACC will work—to allow the network to work together more effectively and clarify issues at the outset
Create a member- and community-informed Policy Action Agenda: This will outline the public policy solutions and action steps necessary to implement the APACC vision
Establish policy development, outreach and engagement, and capacity building Project Teams: The teams will collect information on community views about the Anacostia River Corridor—Anacostia Park, Anacostia River, and the communities closest to the river and park—as part of APACC’s public policy development objective
Support project implementation activities and project teams through the APACC Fund: The fund will support internal and external vision-directed work.
APACC is not actually waiting until Year 3 to kick off this important work. Starting with the October member meeting, we will begin drafting the APACC Fund parameters and launch work on the network principles. In addition, we will continue gathering community input for the Policy Action Agenda.
Written by Michael Bochynski, Standing Chair, APACC Steering Committee and Chesapeake Program Manager, Clean Water Fund