Impact Academy - Battle Creek

The Impact Academy is designed to promote the effectiveness of change efforts pursued by community-based organizations. Too often, organizations pursue projects that include targeted problems, solutions, implementation processes, and evaluation & learning efforts significantly misaligned with the authentic needs and aspirations of local residents and the system or place conditions affecting their targeted problem. As a result, well-intentioned projects often fail to achieve their intended outcomes.

Through the Impact Academy’s training and coaching series and peer-to-peer learning network, participants learn how to enhance their strategic design, strategic implementation, and strategic learning efforts.  Participating organizations can engage up to 5 members from their organization in this learning and capacity-building experience. In each training and coaching session, participants work with others from their organization to apply key concepts to their work and future project plans.

The Impact Academy includes a three day training experience that introduces participants to core concepts and promotes their capacity to apply these capacities to their efforts. Follow-up booster training sessions are also available to support the continued development of key capacities. On-going coaching is available during and after the Academy to facilitate successful transfer and use of core content. The core content covered in training, booster sessions, and coaching efforts includes:

Strategic Design (Academy, day one) with a focus on:

  • defining a targeted problem with authentic resident voice;
  • understanding root causes of local problems;
  • understanding the importance of targeting systems (place) conditions; and
  • designing powerful change strategies. Coaching supports participants as they conduct a root cause analysis and develop strategies to target root causes

Strategic Implementation (Academy, day two) with a focus on:

  • developing a logic model;
  • understanding outputs and outcomes;
  • linking strategies to outcomes;
  • developing short, intermediate, and long term outcomes;
  • creating a climate for effective implementation; and
  • tracking and adjusting implementation efforts. Coaching targets the development of a logic model and creation of SMART outcomes

Strategic Evaluation and Learning (Academy, day 3) with a focus on:

  • understanding different evaluation approaches, methods, and designs;
  • making sense of evaluation data; and
  • using evaluation findings to promote continuous improvement. Coaching supports participants as they develop appropriate evaluation plans

To date, 98 individuals, representing 34 community organizations serving Battle Creek and/or Calhoun County, have completed the Impact Academy training.