Monday, April 15, 2013 – By Naava Frank and Lara Nicolson
JCSA Journal of Communal Service, March 2013
How can you take a group of local federated agencies working in a similar fi eld— some competing, some working in synergy, some unaware of the others’ existence—and bring them together to have a profound impact on a critical sector of the Jewish community? This article tells the story of 12 months in the life of a Community of Practice (CoP) that shaped a collaborative culture among seven agencies of THE ASSOCIATED: Associated Jewish Community Federation of Baltimore and led to a shared grant for a project maximizing the impact of their work with Jewish families with young children. This article shares the successes, challenges, and learning from the perspective of the community facilitators and members. We hope that it will help other Jewish organizations use the CoP model of collaboration to strengthen professional networks. Although work with human systems may not always be replicable, the CoP model described here can be adapted with thoughtful consideration to differences in context.