Grantee Reflections from Collaborative Problem-Solving Convening CPS grantees share post-convening reflections from their time together


On January 27 and 28, 2020, ZSR held a convening in Tarboro, NC to bring together the five grantees of the Foundation’s Collaborative Problem-Solving approach. Collaborative Problem-Solving grants are intended to build collaborative, inclusive and resourceful communities and authentically engage communities in tackling challenges and creating solutions.

As part of ZSR’s Collaborative Problem-Solving approach, the Foundation is eager to learn with and from our Collaborative Problem-Solving grantees. This involves efforts to identify learning questions that both ZSR and our grantees want to explore and supporting opportunities for an exchange of ideas, information, and insights across grantee communities. The convening in Tarboro was an opportunity to introduce the collaboratives to one another to better understand each other’s work, learn from and share with one another as well as to begin to think about ways of supporting one another throughout this process.

Below are post-convening reflections from each of the collaboratives. While each collaborative has multiple community partners, the organizations listed below are the primary program leads for each Collaborative Problem-Solving grant:

The ZSR Collaborative Problem-Solving convening was exciting and eye opening. It really brought to light how geography impacts where we are in doing the work of racial healing, racial justice, etc. We appreciated being in the room with such a wealth of care and knowledge and learning about the approaches and strategies of the other cohorts and having others be able to speak on their experiences. The collaborative nature of these problem-solving groups was also inspiring and has expanded our thinking about the work that we are doing in Asheville. – YWCA of Asheville and Western NC’s Racial Justice Coalition, Asheville, NC

The idea of collaborating with a group that has been proactively working to address issues and whom we can learn from is really exciting. So many best practices are in communities that are so different that it’s hard to translate it to ours. Yet there seem to be similarities there from which we can benefit. – Eastern Carteret County Collaborative, Beaufort, NC

The Collaborative Problem-Solving Convening was an exhilarating experience. To be in the room with individuals and groups that are doing such great work as a contribution to racial justice and equity was inspiring. This was truly a convergence of the minds that allowed for the creation of lifelong relationships and partnerships that can be garnered to enhance impact. During our time, a recurring question streamed our consciousness, "what happens when the collaboratives collaborate?" Well, we're about to find out! There is so much power in this space, so much brilliance, so much passion, so much commitment, zeal and drive. We are excited about continuing this journey with such great trail blazers and continuing to learn from each other as a means of growth and collective impact. Thank you ZSR and thank you friends for the opportunity to contribute and be a part of this relevant journey. – West Side Community Land Trust, Charlotte, NC

Our Healthy Highland Team had a wonderful time convening with the other Collaborative Problem-Solving partnerships! It was exciting hearing the work of others and how their work could be shared to help our own community. Visiting the partnerships and touring the sites was a brilliant way to really connect to the work, see the problems as well as see the possibilities! – Kintegra Health, Gastonia, NC 

The two days were a chance to get real, to bring our full selves and to be seen by others. We felt seen, heard, and connected to the four other ZSR Collaborative Problem-Solving communities. We are grateful for the chance to learn from the other teams’ expertise and wisdom and left the two-day retreat feeling grounded and inspired. – Edgecombe County Resilience Collaborative, Rocky Mount, NC

ZSR’s Collaborative Problem-Solving approach is one of two initiatives under its Community-Based Strategy. Over the next year, the Foundation is committing time and resources to supporting these five Collaborative Problem-Solving grantees and developing a learning agenda alongside of them. As a result, the Foundation will not have a Collaborative Problem-Solving grant cycle in Spring 2020.