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Collective Impact extends community-building reach

Collective Impact extends community-building reach

  • Updated
Near South drone photograph

The Near South neighborhood is one of six areas covered by Collective Impact Lincoln.

Collective Impact Lincoln, a partnership to lift up the city’s core neighborhoods to empower resident-led positive change, extended its reach in its third year. Organizers engaged with more than 6,000 residents, trained more than 120 neighborhood advocates, and activated dozens of Lincolnites in advocating for pro-neighborhood policies at the city level.

The initiative launched in 2017 after earning Woods Charitable Fund’s first-ever Breakthrough Initiative Grant. Collective Impact Lincoln focuses on building quality of life in six historic Lincoln neighborhoods: Belmont, Clinton, Everett, Hartley, Near South and University Place.

“In our first three years, we’ve met thousands of people who care deeply about this community and who are taking action to make it better,” said Nancy Petitto, Collective Impact Lincoln’s program manager.

“We’ve helped empower residents to map their neighborhoods’ assets, challenges and opportunities, and we’ve worked directly with the city to tackle the common thread through all of our listening sessions – concerns about affordable and adequate housing.”

In year three, Collective Impact Lincoln:

• Made contact and conducted deep discussions with 5,901 residents in the focus neighborhoods through door-to-door canvassing, conversations at community events, or, following the onset of COVID-19, digital banking;

• Hosted seven in-person and virtual community listening sessions on housing affordability;

• Generated 49 community comments to city leaders regarding the City of Lincoln’s 2020 Affordable Housing Coordinated Action Plan;

• Hosted or participated in 86 neighborhood and community events;

• Conducted seven Community Builder workshops, which trained 124 neighborhood residents and provided the tools and resources to identify opportunities and issues, build consensus, launch neighborhood improvement projects and engage with city power structures; and

• Coordinated 15 neighborhood projects in the focus neighborhoods, ranging from music festivals designed to forge new community connections in the Clinton Neighborhood to helping University Place businesses collaborate on community and economic development initiatives.

In addition to activating Lincolnites to speak out about how to improve the city’s affordable housing plan draft, Collective Impact Lincoln is among the founders of the Tenant Assistance Project, a community-driven program that provides free legal representation to those facing eviction.

Collective Impact Lincoln members also created the Nebraska Housing Advocacy Collaborative, a collaborative of nonprofit organizations, advocacy groups and community stakeholders advocating for the affordability, safety and health of Nebraskans' housing choices.

Woods Charitable Fund recently renewed its commitment to Collective Impact Lincoln, awarding the partnership a three-year, $900,000 grant to continue expanding its work.

“We’re pleased with the progress we’ve made in our first three years, and we expect to use what we’ve learned to accelerate our policy goals and focus our neighborhoods on lasting, meaningful, positive change,” Petitto said.

Collective Impact Lincoln (Civic Nebraska, Nebraska Appleseed and the South of Downtown Community Development Organization) creates resident-led investment and positive change in the city’s core neighborhoods. Through canvassing, community events and Community Builder workshops, Collective Impact Lincoln helps residents examine their neighborhoods’ natural strengths and adopt new ways to improve their quality of life. For more information, visit


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