Our Results Network cohort, a part of our Results Innovation Lab, is a dynamic nine-month learning collaborative that brings together leaders from across the Lutheran Services in America network to explore and innovate new strategies and approaches that will reshape how we engage children and families, with a specific focus on racial justice.
Thanks to a new partnership between Lutheran Services in America and the ELCA, grassroots faith-based ELCA church-led organizations and congregations have joined our 2023–2024 cohort to help us answer the question: “What will it take to stabilize families in their communities, ensuring families remain intact, and children do not enter out-of-home care?”
The Results Network is designed to accelerate innovative approaches, revamp how we engage families in crisis, and create pathways to keep families together, especially children, youth, and families who are over-represented in the child welfare system.
This proven approach has produced tremendous results in past years, and we believe that this year’s cohort will contribute immensely to our efforts, having already reached over 25,000 children and families in our Lab to date.
Organizations that have joined this transformative journey will have the opportunity to:
Throughout the year, participants will create results-driven action plans through a step-by-step process by delving into key themes, incorporating and amplifying lived expertise, and utilizing plain language to engage a wider audience in addressing disparities. They will also examine and pursue opportunities to shift policies, practices, resources, and power structures all aimed at supporting and sustaining equitable outcomes for children, youth, and families. The goal is for each organization to consistently achieve measurable and impactful advancements by increasing equitable access to supports and strengthening community networks through a racial equity lens, advancing diversity, equity, and inclusion as a social norm.
Stay tuned for more information on this incredible journey of impact and transformation.
Renada Johnson is Senior Director of Children, Youth and Family Initiatives at Lutheran Services in America.
Lutheran Services in America is currently seeking grassroots, faith-based organizations and initiatives affiliated with an ELCA church or community to join our 2023–2024 Results Network cohort, which starts September 28. Participation is free. The Results Network is a transformative opportunity for teams to advance racial equity for children and families in a high-support and high-accountability hybrid cohort experience. Participants work in fields as varied as child welfare, housing and economic empowerment, but are united by the goals of preventing or stabilizing families in crisis, strengthening communities and addressing racial disparities. Learn more about this opportunity and how to join.
Five years ago, I hit a wall professionally. I was exhausted by a four-year effort to transform an early childhood organization in Indiana and questioning my ability to lead teams. I did something that felt scary. With a second child on the way, I took a professional role with a lot less pay, but the flexibility to join a virtual cohort of changemakers I had long eyed as an opportunity to reinvigorate and refresh my purpose and my skills in advocacy and organizing.
The cohort, which was university-organized and crossed global boundaries, was a transformative experience that gave me the space to learn and safely practice new skills. One of my closest cohort relationships was with a young person working to create a new political party in Eastern Europe. We explored common challenges and solutions, despite our disparate focus areas. We provided each other candid, but empathetic coaching. I found my skill set growing exponentially, almost day-to-day. When the cohort ended, I used my new skills—and new energy—to grow a campaign to end smoking related death and illness in Indiana to 10,000 advocates.
Professional cohorts are amazing vehicles for change, in part because the act of joining one is motivated by courage. Courage to put yourself into a new and unfamiliar community. Courage to admit you need to grow professionally. Courage to explore what it means to move from the transactional (most of our day-to-day work, often by necessity) to the transformational.
I’m honored that Lutheran Services in America is host to the Results Network—a powerful annual cohort of child and family-serving organizations working toward transformative outcomes rooted in a focus on race equity.
In the past year, 41 Lutheran social ministry leaders across 10 U.S. communities took the courageous act of joining the Results Network and working through professional challenges. The results at the end of the year? Transformative change for over 8,300 children and families!
In coming together, participants in the Results Network—who work in teams of three—make the courageous commitment to:
When these commitments are made and supported by the cohort’s facilitation and coaching, transformation happens. Here are just a few of the remarkable results from last year’s cohort:
One of the amazing elements of the Results Network cohort is the integration of peer leadership. In the most recent cohort, six diverse peer leaders were engaged to formally share their expertise, coaching and guidance.
The coming year of Results Network—which begins September 28—holds such high promise. Through a partnership with the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA), we are thrilled to welcome grassroots, faith-based organizations and initiatives affiliated with an ELCA church or community to join, contribute and transform. Their courageous work and presence will deepen and expand the experiences, expertise and diversity of the Results Network, yielding unexplored results. I cannot wait to see what results emerge from this coming together of the Lutheran Services in America and ELCA communities!
If you are a grassroots, faith-based organization or initiative affiliated with an ELCA church or community that is interested in joining this year’s Results Network, please take a moment to learn more about participation and reach out to Renada Johnson, Senior Director of Child, Youth and Family Initiatives (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Onward, together, with courage!
Kent Mitchell is the Vice President of Strategy and Innovation at Lutheran Services in America.