Featured projects illustrating our work

Let’s Have A Disruptive Conversation About Death :

In work with serious illness, the big taboo is still death. Policymakers speak of death as a topic that is ‘radioactive.’ Patients see Doctors, when they raise the topic of death, as giving up, extinguishing hope, promoting fear. Schwartz Foundation sponsored a gathering and website to launch a next generation of dialog around death. A courageous circle of leaders – doctors, nurses, administrators, educators met as “themselves” – to publicly speak of the whole picture of life and death. They gathered to see how to transform their practices, their language and understandings – to make friends with Death in a new way – then to go home courageously and lead within their healthcare settings and communities.   This website is full of videos, insights AND a BIG invitation. Come join the conversation and start one of your own!  . We know we will host other gatherings with this topic, depth and exquisite wisdom. Sign up on the site to be connected.

Olympia Summit on Homelessness:

It’s time to have a different conversation about homelessness in Olympia, one that acknowledges the complex nature of the issues and seeks to build an atmosphere of mutual understanding, learning and innovation. One that helps us work better together as we address these challenges in our community. One that shapes next steps in a powerful way. During the day and a half long summit over 40 people representing service providers, law enforcement, downtown business owners, developers, elected officials, funders and individuals formerly experiencing homelessness engaged deeply around the question, “How can our community respond to the homelessness issue in a healthy, compassionate way that will transform the status quo and lead to wise actions?” The Graphic Record from the gathering was hosted across sites in Olympia and Harvest Document and Agreements used to advance the conversation, launching the next chapter of the work.

Risk Boldly the Future: 2013 General Assembly :

Every five years, the Franciscan Sisters of Perpetual Adoration (FSPA) enter into a long term planning process whereby they set the priorities & direction for the Community, update their governance, and elect a new leadership team. Tenneson Woolf and I had the gift of working with the community through a 2 year process highlighted in this 2 page Case Story.   The newsletter  from the General Assembly reflects the spirit and news from the 5 day event. The General Assembly a harvest document – Assembly In Review became a cornerstone document as the community looked to elect their leadership team for the next term.   The FSPA community is known for teachings in spirituality (e.g. new cosmology, care of creation, meditation, simple living, Franciscan spirituality, Interfaith dialog), founding and sponsoring Viterbo University and the local Mayo hospital, as well as leading many social justice efforts in the region (e.g. earth stewardship, homelessness, food access, human trafficking, etc).

Quinault Indian Nation Strategic Plan:

The Quinault Indian Nation has created an innovative model of governance, strategic planning, and budgeting for results. The planning process deeply engages the staff and community to create preferred future conditions and strategic goals in the areas of Governance, Learning, Land, Prosperity, Community and Wellness. These visions and plans created in partnership with the community and the General Council to form the Nations priorities for the coming 2-5 years. These goals are integrated into work plans with the staff and held by the community. I partnered with Sono Hashisaki on this 8 month community engagement project to create the 2012 Quinault Strategic Plan.

Casey Foundation Early Learning Symposium:

We held a two day event on the future of Early Learning in the State of Washington. The first day was a National Think Tank for key researchers, scientists and policy experts determining what we will recommend for the state and how to move the field forward nationally. The second day brought together statewide leaders across the field of early learning. Washington State was recognized throughout the morning plenary sessions for its leadership in implementing practices and programs that are aligned with an understanding of neurobiology and Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACE’s) research. During the afternoon we discovered key innovations underway in the state and planned for how we will move these efforts forward at the level of policy AND practice. Check out the graphic record of the National Think Tank and the second day statewide Symposium.   Highlights and key insights from the afternoon World Café working session were captured as well as  the  harvest poem to feel the spirit of the day.

Youth Against Violence: Listening Together… To Be Heard…To Create Change:

This county wide effort in Tacoma Washington was sponsored by the Greater Tacoma Community Foundation. We held a series of community dialogs to build youth and adult partnerships and develop strategies to address violence in the City. We discovered a) Youth are the Experts on Youth, b) Everyone is a Peace Maker, it’s about relationships with key people that keep youth safe, c) Arts are a tool for social change and a direct alternative to violence, d) Moving from stereotype to story to discover the powerful paths forward. These community dialogs led to the creation of a Youth Philanthropy Board and a year-long effort called “Be the Spark” which included a series of events in 5 high schools, and a wildly successful event with Archbishop Desmond Tutu.  YAV Full Report –  Year 1 Harvest and Next Steps.

Healthier Healthcare Systems:

Daring to Create What the Needed New Can Be” — For the past several years, many of us have been paying attention to the future of healthcare. We’ve been able to work with some fantastic pioneers, innovative people with imagination. Real human beings that feel the pain of the system, yet hold to the hope of change and are working courageously to lead that change. Some of those stories are featured in Berkana’s E-news for November 2011. The first Healthier Healthcare Systems event was held in Utah in January 2012. We are planning for another event in Seattle in 2012 bringing together statewide leaders working for change. See: Healthier Healthcare Harvest Document Final

Art of Hosting Illinois: Creating Healthy Communities So Children, Youth and Families Thrive.

Since 2009 we’ve been working in close partnership with an awesome group of non-profit leaders, Illinois agencies and community organizers working on behalf of kids and families in Illinois. They are a statewide Community of Practice looking at “How can we strategically offer each other support, partnership, and inspiration to boldly move forward with our work on behalf of children and families?” We’ve held 3 Art of Hosting training sessions to build the community and move the work forward at its next level. Here is the Harvest Document for the 2010 gathering. It was created as a record and artifact of the experience. As invitation to support learning in this Illinois community, as well as other coalitions working on what they care about. We also created a several video harvests including: Melissa Nealy and Christina Westerlund: On the Impact of Turning to One Another; Tenneson Woolf with Liz Rickert on Purpose and Possibility of the Art of Hosting.