Nov. 17 Webinar: Applying the Network Lifecycle Model to a Cross-Section of Network Investments


Think about a network you are supporting and/or participating in:
  • Reflect on where the network is at in its lifecycle. (See lifecycle model below.)

  • What supports have you been providing the network? What else might you consider?
  • What role(s) are you playing in the network? Has this changed over time? Are there additional roles or ways of interacting with the network you might consider? (See list of common roles.)

Please enter your pre-work below, preceded by your name:

Name: Jane Isaacs Lowe , Robert Wood Johnson Foundation
Network: Social Determinants of Health
Lifecycle stage: Knowing, Knitting
Supports (current and potential): We are mapping all the conversations, blogs, etc that are specifically having conversations related to social determinants and connection to health. We employed a firm to do listening posts, synthesize date and map the organizations people who are engaged in discussions. We are moving towards beginning to knit groups together. We are also beginning to discuss the parameters of the network and the proposition for moving it forward. We already have key nodes for the network. We have allocated approximately $50,000 for this early work.
Funder role (current and potential):At the moment, we are taking the lead in developing network as it emerges from our work in the Commission to Create a Healthier America. We serve as the catalyst now, engage individual weavers, and eventually step back from lead role.

Name: Janet Shing and Susie Polnaszek, Community Foundation for Monterey County
Network: Literacy, Environment, Greenfield, Youth, and LEAD (Leadership Education and Development)
Lifecycle stage: Growing, Knitting, Organizing, Growing, Knowing
Supports (current and potential): All were or will be mapped. Lit: convening, coordination, and individual weaver support (lifecycle, facilitation, tools for engagement, etc.). Env: weaver support. Greenfield: convening and weaver support. Youth: weaver support, additional presentations. LEAD: convening, nurturning stewards, defining value. CFMC's two-year Social Network Support project (2009-2010) involved mapping four networks and providing support and training to individual network weavers from the four networks. Five weavers will continue in the National Weaver Community of Practice. In the future, we expect to continue are our role as catalyst, sponsor, and to some extent weaver and assessor.
Funder role (current and potential): Literacy: catalyst, sponsor, assessor, weaver, coach. Env: catalyst, sponsor. Greenfield: catalyst and coach. Youth and LEAD: catalyst. The Environment and Youth networks existed before they were mapped and therefore CFMC played less of a role other than mapping and sharing information. In the other networks (Literacy and Greenfield) where CFMC helped convene and coordinate the network, additional support was given to individual weavers and support them to share more responsibilities around coordination and organizing.

Name: Kathy Reich, Packard Foundation
Network: NatureServe
Lifecycle stage: Transforming/transitioning
Supports (current and potential): In addition to project support for NatureServe's work, we just made a grant for them to conduct an assessment of their network, which will prepare them for strategic planning next year. We may consider supporting that planning effort and additional project support.
Funder role (current and potential): Sponsors and coaches. We really are trying to provide the resources and get out of the way.

Name: Sofia Michelakis, SVP Seattle
Network: our own SVP Seattle members/donors - goal is to have a stronger, more connected core of donors and also expand our community to have more voices, lots of loose ties, including our alumni
Lifecycle stage: Knitting the network
Supports (current and potential): This year we've decided to hire a consultant to train network weavers from within our membership - the donors themselves become the weavers of the network that they belong to. This is just getting off the ground. It's also an interesting time to knit the net as we've also launched efforts to expand our membership from just donors who pay $6000 per year, to giving free memberships for our grantees and reduced fee memberships for Under-35 professionals who want to be part of our mission AND reconnect with our alumni. So that's changing the composition of the network at the same time we're more intentionally weaving it.
Funder role (current and potential): Catalyst right now, later sponsors and coaches.

Name: Marie Sauter, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation
Network: Washington State Family Policy Council Community Health and Safety Networks
Lifecycle stage: Transforming/transitioning
Supports (current and potential): We have made small grants directly to the Family Policy Council to support data collection, and somewhat larger investments in the work of several of the community networks. Our staff has long been a thought partner in their work, helping them connect with other key stakeholders. We are encouraging them to employ consulting resources to help plan for a new governance and support structure, and will consider support for this planning process. There are talks underway with the Washington State Department of Social and Health Services, which currently governs the Council, about the possibility of transitioning the Council’s governing structure to a public-private partnership, in which we would likely invest if that is the direction chosen.
Funder role (current and potential): Sponsor, coach, assessor.


What are you taking away? Post a reflection from our conversation.

Name: Janet Shing
Reflection: I liked one of the last questions, "How proactive should we [funders] be?" In terms of grantor-grantee relationships, I think funders should be clear and transparent with their interests and also be engaged in networks but not drive the network. Each situation will be unique. It is most authentic when the network members mobilize and drive its work. However I also think that the power of philanthropy can be used in a positive way to encourage shared knowledge and action.