Jeff Raderstrong

Jeff Raderstrong

Jeff writes content for Living Cities to ensure that the organization is achieving its results to close racial income and wealth gaps.

Jeff Raderstrong joined Living Cities in May 2014, and previously worked as a Program Associate on The Integration Initiative and as a Senior Associate. He works closely with Living Cities’ leadership and staff to help them capture what they are learning, and turn those learnings into actionable and digestible content. He has worked on several projects to codify and disseminate key lessons learned, from a community engagement e-course, to the Cross-Sector Partnership Assessment, to the Data and Collective Impact blog series, to the Economic Opportunity Roadmap.

Before coming to Living Cities, Jeff worked as an Associate at Venture Philanthropy Partners (VPP), where he led the assessment of its nonprofit portfolio. He also supported VPP’s communications activities, including the launch of Leap of Reason, a book on nonprofit outcomes management, and Capital Kids, the first report on the state of children and youth in the DC area. Jeff also worked as a consultant, helping organizations disseminate digital products. He founded UnSectored, a community platform for re-thinking social change, and co-founded the Social Entrepreneurs of Grinnell (SEG), which is now a functioning microfinance institution with an over $50,000 portfolio. Jeff has a BA in Economics from Grinnell College and an MPA from George Washington University’s Trachtenberg School.

Jeff Raderstrong

Contributing Articles

Staff Reflections on the Attack on the Capitol

This attack on our democracy was an important historical moment, but it was also a deeply personal one. I am sure that you, like me, have been engrossed in the news about the events of last Wednesday and the tragedy that happened in our nation’s capital. I am shocked, angry and incensed, but as many have said, it is not …

Using Emergent Learning to Meet Challenges and Foster Racial Equity

We have been working to open source social change for about a decade now, and one framework continues to be foundational to how we share our lessons in real time: the Emergent Learning approach. Emergent Learning is a framework for on-going, rigorous learning about complicated and complex challenges. The framework was introduced to Living Cities through our work with 4QP, …

Connecting Communications and Learning for Results

In this first post in a multi-part series, members of our Learning, Storytelling and Results team describe how uniting these three functions has not only streamlined the process of learning but also improved how Living Cities’ communicates about lessons learned — for maximum impact. If you’ve been reading our blog for awhile, you may already be familiar with the concept …

We Were There: Reckoning with Living Cities’ History on Race

Our new interactive movement history timeline lets you interact with Living Cities’ past, including major political milestones and cultural touch points in our history, and envision a future without racial income and wealth gaps. Nearly 30 years ago, Living Cities began as the National Community Development Initiative (NCDI), an organization made up of many of the same philanthropic members we …

Living Our Values as a 21st Century Learning Organization: Lessons from Digital Community Engagement

We spent two years building a digital community engagement tool to help practitioners close racial gaps. We share our lessons learned in a new report. Living Cities has been exploring and defining what it means to be a 21st century learning organization since its inception in 1991. We have always placed a premium on learning over success. Ben Hecht, our …

Connecting Communities to Close Racial Gaps

Living Cities has been committed to ending the systemic challenges to poverty for over 25 years. But despite the best efforts of this organization and our many partners, forty six million Americans are still living in poverty. The field has evolved in the 25 years since Living Cities began its work–and it continues to evolve. But we know one thing …

VIDEO: How Can Employers Overcome Biases?

Increasing jobs and employment is very much in the national discourse right now, but absent from that conversation is an acknowledgement of who gets hired and why. Our partner, and Disruptive Leader, Tawanna Black of the Northside Funders Groups asks a provocative question–how do you get employers to overcome their biases and change their culture to be more inclusive? “While we can …

New Fund Creates a Path for Employment Opportunity in New Orleans

The BuildNOLA Mobilization Fund will allow small businesses to grow their capacity and benefit from the numerous projects happening around New Orleans, ultimately helping to place more African-American men into living-wage jobs. New Orleans is a city of opportunity—but one of barriers as well. More than ten years after Hurricane Katrina decimated many parts of the city, with traditionally poor …

Using Data for Collective Impact Step Five: Change Behavior and Share Responsibility

The fifth step to using data for collective impact is committing to action to change behavior. These resources will help you move your partners to action. We’ve launched our Data and Collective Impact series to help leaders better use data to achieve a shared result. The series outlines the five steps to using data for collective impact we’ve seen in our work. This post …

Using Data for Collective Impact Step Four: Discuss the Data

The fourth step to using data for collective impact is discussing data with partners to determine what the data are telling you. These resources will help you facilitate these conversations. We’ve launched our “Data and Collective Impact” series to help leaders better use data to achieve a shared result. The series outlines the five steps to using data for collective impact we’ve seen …

Using Data for Collective Impact Step Three: Present the Data

The third step to using data for collective impact is presenting data in a way to facilitate behavior change. These resources will help you determine the best way to present your data. We’ve launched our “Data and Collective Impact” series to help leaders better use data to achieve a shared result. The series outlines the five steps to using data for collective impact …

The Only Solution to Our National Epidemic of Violence: Healing Together

After a long week of national pain and mourning, it seems that the only solution to the violence in our country is to slowly come together and end the divisiveness all around us. I write this post at the end of an incredibly and publicly violent week in America. Two black men were murdered by law enforcement officials outside of …

Collective Impact #ToolBox: Collective Impact Element Dashboard

Finding time to reflect on your initiative’s progress as you go is tough! Dashboards provide a simple way to add some structure to your reflection so you can focus on what needs improvement. The Collective Impact #ToolBox is a series of blogs featuring simple, practical tools that members of cross-sector partnerships can use to support their day to day work. …

Using Data for Collective Impact Step Two: Find the Data

The second step to using data for collective impact is finding the data your partnership needs. These resources will help you navigate the complexities of data access. We’ve launched our Data and Collective Impact series to help leaders better use data to achieve a shared result. The series outlines the five steps to using data for collective impact we’ve seen in our work. The …

What Does It Take To Achieve Collective Impact? (May Edition)

Using data to achieve collective impact continues to be a challenge for the Living Cities Collective Impact team. The Collective Impact team at Living Cities is serious about learning in public. We set aside time intentionally every month–sometimes multiple times a month–to reflect on what’s happening in our collective impact portfolio and figure out how we can do our work better. This is …

Using Data for Collective Impact Step One: Agree on the Data

The first step to using data for collective impact is getting buy-in and agreement on what data your partnership will track. These resources will help you do just that. Without continuously tracking and managing progress with data, it is highly unlikely that a collective impact initiative, or any large-scale change initiative, can achieve its goals. That’s why we launched our Data …

What Does it Take to Use Data to Change Behavior in Collective Impact?

A new blog series will walk you through five steps to using data to help you change behavior for collective impact. Without continuously tracking and managing progress with data, it is highly unlikely that a collective impact initiative, or any large-scale change initiative, can achieve its goals. Collective impact initiatives need to use data to help manage progress towards achieving …

Four Ways Open-Sourcing Social Change Strengthened Community Engagement in Collective Impact

By open-sourcing solutions to a key challenge in the field of collective impact–engaging community members–we were able to create actionable and digestible resources that helped practitioners strengthen their work. Our CEO, Ben Hecht, frequently talks about “knowledge as a social good.” This idea is baked into the core of Living Cities operations—we believe that it is our obligation to share …

Just Do It TOGETHER: Rapid Reflections from Day 1 of the Integration Initiative Learning Community

The seven site teams in Living Cities’ Integration Initiative convened in Washington, DC to explore how they can get dramatically better results for low-income people TOGETHER. Yesterday, we kicked off the first day of our Integration Initiative Learning Community, Achieving Change: Just Do It TOGETHER. Teams gathered in Washington, DC to learn from each other and share challenges, using employment as a focus. …

What Does It Take To Achieve Collective Impact? (March Edition)

A new blog series shares what Living Cities’ Collective Impact team is learning about how to best support practitioners and implement the principles of collective impact. The Collective Impact team at Living Cities is serious about learning in public. We set aside time intentionally every month–sometimes multiple times a month–to reflect on what’s happening in our collective impact portfolio and figure out how …

Why Involve Community in Collective Impact at all?

The recent surge of interest and resources around collective impact principles has highlighted an important concern and challenge for many practitioners: given the often grass-tops, institution heavy nature of collective impact, where does the community fit in? To help shed some light on this question, Living Cities has developed an online course that pulls existing resources from across the field to …

Contributing Resources

Learning and Insights Tracker

This resource is used by staff at Living Cities to track progress towards our organizational results. Please download and adapt the template for your own work. The first sheet is a place for you to capture your big-picture learning questions, hypotheses about how your work will have an impact, and assumptions about the work you are doing. It also has …

The Road to Inclusion: How 21st Century Learning Organizations Can Engage Community Online

We created a tool to understand what it takes to use digital technologies to encourage learning and racial equity. This report outlines what we learned from the process. Living Cities has been exploring and defining what it means to be a 21st century learning organization since its inception in 1991. We have always placed a premium on learning over success. …

Sample Action Plan

This sample action plan can be adapted to help your collective impact initiative execute on specific projects and next steps. At Living Cities, we think of the use of data for collective impact as a continuous “feedback loop” that helps you change behavior and create systemic change in communities. The goal of this data-driven feedback loop is learning and improvement. …

Sample: Data Meeting Agenda

This sample agenda can be adapted to help your collective impact initiative have regular periodic check-ins about your on-going data collection and analysis. At Living Cities, we think of the use of data for collective impact as a continuous “feedback loop” that helps you change behavior and create systemic change in communities. The goal of this data-driven feedback loop is …

Collective Impact Element Dashboard

In our effort to apply a more transparent and disciplined process to supporting our Integration Initiative site partners in cities, we developed this dashboard as a tool to capture progress and prioritize resources based on where those partners are in their work. This dashboard incorporates the three elements of what Living Cities thinks it takes to create dramatically better results …

Webinar: Lessons from 500+ Cross-Sector Partnerships

This webinar identifies the challenges most cross-sector partnerships face, and explores cross-sector case studies to help you improve your own work. Structuring and managing a cross-sector partnership can be one of the hardest parts of collective impact. Using data collected from Living Cities’ Cross-Sector Partnership Assessment, this webinar presented on the biggest trends in cross-sector partnerships and collective impact today. …

Week 4: Applying Business Concepts to Community Engagement

In the fourth week of our e-course on community engagement in collective impact, we look at opportunities for collective impact initiatives to apply business concepts to community engagement work. Time: ~ 30 minutes of reading; ~2 hours of group time This is the fourth of five modules to help collective impact initiatives better understand why and how to work with …

Week 2: Amplifying the Voice of Community in Collective Impact

In the second week of our e-course on community engagement in collective impact, we explore the ways in which you can amplify the voices of community members to contribute to your collective impact initiative. Time: ~30 minutes of reading; ~2 hours of group time This is the second of five modules to help collective impact initiatives better understand why and …

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