In the Appalachian region where ASD operates, there is great need for collaborative strategies that make the most of the limited resources available. In addition to the high rates of poverty, unemployment and lifestyle diseases, the people who live in this beautiful area are often geographically and topographically distant from markets, services, and each other.
The challenges in this region cannot be faced by one organization or even sector. They require a collaborative approach that engages the people and communities in solutions that are appropriate for their needs, desires and assets and which brings together resources to have the maximum impact.
An excellent example of the need for collaboration can be found when addressing the health of our region. Health is complex. Education, food deserts, access to health care, tobacco use, transportation, poverty, and other social determinants of health are all factors that must be addressed when seeking to improve the health of individuals and a community. We believe that the answer to making an impact in our region is to adopt a Collective Impact model. According to Collaboration for Impact “Collective Impact is a framework used to tackle deeply entrenched and complex social problems. It is an innovative and structured approach to making collaboration work across government, business, philanthropy, non-profit organizations and citizens to achieve significant and lasting social change.”
ASD is participating in and leading several efforts that are designed to identify the best use of our assets. We are finding great interest in partnering across the community, as many are seeing the same need – do more with less and have greater impact.