Success Stories

Knowledge Communities has successfully partnered with many non-profit organizations and produced results with robust and long-lasting value. Here are a few stories of our successes, to give you an idea of the impact that Knowledge Communities can have in your community. You can also check out our Blog and Testimonials tab.

Taking the Fear Out of Data

Knowledge Communities partnered with the Experiential Jewish Education Network (funded by the Jim Joseph Foundation) to present a four-part Learning Lab entitled “Data is Not a Four-Letter Word.” Read more about the Learning Lab on our blog. Read the EJE Learning Lab Report Final – Naava Frank LLC .


A Family Engagement Community of Practice

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. JCSA Journal – Family Engagement CoP (1)

Boston Heads of School Community of Practice

Knowledge Communities has facilitated numerous Communities of Practice, often through the generous assistance of external grants: Kehilliyot, Boston Heads of School, Grant Maker Meta-Community, and more.

Case Study: Overcoming competition and creation of a safe space at Boston Heads of School. After approximately six months of meeting, community members articulated what makes the CoP work: “It is a safe place for colleagues to share and process both policy and personal issues.” Participants have shared experiences and approaches on highly sensitive areas such as executive coaching, salary scales and board-head relations. Now in year five of working with Knowledge Communities, the heads have created shared standards for admission practices and are working on share practices for board-head relations.

Click below to see the 5-year journey of the Boston Heads of School CoP! (PDF, 20k)

Click here to see the Logic Model of the Boston Heads of School 2008-2009 (.doc, 40K)

 Click here for an article about the CJP Boston Heads of School CoP

Covenant Foundation Community of Community Facilitators

Case Study: The Covenant Foundation supported the formation of Kehilliyot, a CoP “meta-community” for Jewish professionals in the field of community facilitation. Now in its third year, the community has grown to nearly 50 members and is beginning to form subgroups and creating plans to continue the group even beyond the end of funding. Members report that Kehilliyot’s activities, which include phone discussions, face-to-face meetings, and e-mail listserv discussions, have substantially aided their own professional development and given them take-home tools for the communities they themselves facilitate. For instance, though many members were initially very uncertain about the use of technology to foster community, Kehilliyot’s activities have gradually encompassed technologies from wikis to Twitter to Dimdim, exploring their potential through active practice.

Teacher Communities of Practice

Case Study:  External professional communities can play an important role in connecting local peers with essential learning about the craft of teaching, research, and practice.  This article highlights examples of external peer communities and suggests ways that school leaders can help strengthen the connection.

“External Professional Communities for Teachers: The Community of Practice Approach” by Naava Frank, John D. Smith and Linda Cappabianca

External Teacher Communities

Nonprofit Organizations

Knowledge Communities has helped numerous nonprofits achieve success and improved functionality: BJE LA and BJE NY, Communiteen, Darim Online, Congregation Beth Israel (Charlottesville, VA), JESNA, and many more.

Case Study: Darim Online brought in Knowledge Communities to build Darim’s capacity to facilitate seminars for professional and lay leaders of 60 synagogues using the Darim web services. Seminars focused on increasing the use of the web for marketing to members and non-members. Sessions were highly attended by a broad representation of congregation staff; forty congregations downloaded over 250 documents from the community’s online home within the first 48 hours after the first session. Participants’ initial learning soon grew into active participation, as individuals began to contribute documents to share with peers and propose the formation of shared group resources such as a shared communication staff person among synagogues that did not have the capacity for full-time staff, and collective negotiation with synagogue software vendors to save on technology costs.

Synagogue Based Community of Practice

Case Study: Knowledge Communities collaborated with Congregation Beth Israel (CBI), the only congregation in Charlottesville, VA, to build their award-winning Shabbat Connections Program (SC). The collaboration reaped numerous insights, new ways of working and a program that exceeded everyone’s expectations, supported for two years by funding from the Legacy Heritage Foundation.

Shabbat Connection Groups continue to meet and new groups are forming based on word of mouth. Shabbat Connections has become institutionalized as a regular feature of the congregation. The congregation is working on building a mentoring program that will leverage the internal leadership of each Shabbat connections group and connect the groups to the congregation. The Shabbat Connections groups can be kept going with, as Rabbi Dan Alexander says, “just the right light touch.”

Click here to see our white paper about Shabbat Connections at CBI

Professional Conferences

Knowledge Communities has taught or facilitated workshops at numerous professional conferences; a representative sample of these workshops is below.

Frank, N., Allen, M. L., Miller, L. CAJE 33 “Early Childhood Communities of Practice – Part 1 & 2.” August 12 & 13, 2008.

Frank, N. JCC Association Annual Conference “Building Community Around An Ethical Start®”, July 28, 2008.

Frank, N. Hillel: The Foundation for Jewish Campus Life, Washington D.C. “Introduction to Communities of Practice” and “How To Strategically Leverage Communities of Practice.” January 29, 2008.

Frank, N. New Sector Alliance, “What is Knowledge Sharing.” January 23, 2008.

Frank, N., Rockwell, S. Backman, S. The Network Nonprofit, “Building and Managing On-Line Communities – Strategies for activating your community and keeping the momentum going.” December 11, 2007.

Frank, N., TDC Corporation, “Knowledge Sharing Strategies for Learning Communities”, November 13, 2007.

Frank N. and Colton, L. The Coalition for the Advancement of Jewish Education, “Learning Communities for Professional Development: Case Studies and Best Practices”, August 6, 2007.

Uplift Network: Facilitation of workshop for national leaders in network technology and philanthropy on how networks can be used to promote philanthropy: “Networked Theory of a Better World,” Boston, MA, November 20-21, 2005; “How do We Create Patterns of Infectious Good?,” Boston MA, August 7-8, 2006.

Frank, N. Nonprofit Technology Enterprise Network: Boston Regional Conference, 2005. “Enabling Technology Funding: Issues for Grantmakers and Grantseekers.” Rated among the top 5 speakers.

Frank, N., Snyder, W., and Elkin, J. Grantmakers for Effective Organizations Conference, Boston, May, 2005. Plenary session. “Communities of Practice: What are they?  Why are they valuable?  How do we develop one?” Recognized with an award for session design.