Update from Sno-Isle: Deeply Engaged with Community

The Sno-Isle Library Foundation sent an update on how they are using Bright Spots, specifically the principle of Deeply Engaged with Community. Angelique Leone says:

My Board members were really struck by the Bright Spots that talked about seeing themselves as part of multiple systems, as invested in community, as well as the pursuing meaningful partnerships with others.

From that discussion, I was charged with sharing some of our unique fundraising approaches with other community non-profits (three presentations done; one more scheduled), while Board members are meeting with their counterparts at Everett Public Library to see how we can partner with them as opposed to compete (two meetings and a slew of emails completed).

Also, we charged ourselves with finding new ways of pursuing meaningful partnerships that are part of multiple systems.  We thought that might be a bigger challenge.  However, because Bright Spots is helping us look at things differently, when we read an article about the Little Red Schoolhouse’s Nurse-Family Partnership in the Everett Herald we saw that maybe it didn’t have to be complex or complicated.

I contacted the organization to see if we couldn’t give them (no charge, of course) our Books for Babies kits directly to help reach these families with the importance of early literacy.

We are now partnering with them!  We will be sending them Books for Babies kits for all of their currently enrolled families (100 kits) and we have promised to supply them with kits, in both English and Spanish, for as long as they need or want them.

I love the way they are using the report to engage in deep self-analysis and challenging themselves to see how they can do (even) better. They are really embodying the practice of brightness, which is a constant process.

Focusing on what is working

In a post this week Andrew Taylor talks about his intention to shift his focus from “the large, catastrophic failures” in nonprofit management to “the individuals and organizations who are changing things already, even if only in little ways.” This is, in a nutshell, what the bright spots theory is all about. He links to a great article by Chip and Dan Heath, the authors who first turned us on to Jerry Sternin’s idea of “positive deviance,” i.e. looking for places where things are working.

A bright spot principle a day…

Struggling to figure out how to get your busy board to read and use the bright spots report?    We’re working on a discussion guide and executive summary, among other tools, but until then–how about breaking it down into manageable pieces? Angelique Leone, executive director, and her Board at the Sno-Isle Library Foundation are doing just that. The Board is making one Bright Spot principle the theme for discussion at each monthly meeting.  They use this as a jumping off point to ask themselves how they could be doing things differently to produce results above the norm. Sno-Isle Libraries serves over 20 branches in the Washington state region just north of Seattle. Libraries are among our communities’ most critical cultural resources. We’d love to hear more about how Sno-Isle, or other libraries, are working the bright spot principles to more effectively achieve their purpose.

Angelique also shared the report with the nearby Everett Community Foundation, and all of its board members now have read the report and are using it in a similar fashion.

Thank you to Lisa Arnold at the Paul G. Allen Family Foundation for telling us about this. If you are using the framework, share your story with us at brightspots@heliconcollab.net.