In 2013, the Mat-Su Health Foundation embarked on a Community Healthy Needs Assessment. As part of this process, 23 community meetings were held across the borough, with over 500 residents and professionals in attendance. An overwhelming majority of the participants of these meetings identified their primary goal as keeping our community’s children safe and well cared for. It was in identifying this priority that R.O.C.K. Mat-Su was conceived; a collective impact project dedicated to Raising Our Children with Kindness. Because there is no singular sector focused on keeping children safe and well cared for, it was clear that a new way of working would be required.

And so, with this in mind, a group of Mat-Su ‘s most influential champions was convened and asked if they would consider joining a movement that required considerable change in the status quo. While each of these champions had been individually committed to improving the lives of children and families within the scope of their organizations, they were now being asked to consider a new, collective approach of working together towards the common goal of building resilient families and ending child maltreatment. From here, R.O.C.K. Mat-Su was formally born.

Comprised of influential individuals representing the varied communities across our borough, the members of R.O.C.K. Mat-Su selected the Collective Impact Framework to focus on building relationships and implementing effective strategies. The framework calls for multiple organizations or entities from different sectors to champion a common agenda, shared measurement, and alignment of effort. Open and continuous communication is needed across the many players to build trust, assure mutual objectives, and create common motivation.

Unlike collaboration or partnership, Collective Impact initiatives have centralized infrastructure – known as a backbone organization – with dedicated staff whose role is to help participating organizations shift from acting alone to acting in concert. The backbone organization in a Collective Impact effort helps maintain overall strategic coherence, and coordinates and manages the day-to-day operations and implementation of work. Backbone organization functions include stakeholder engagement, communications, data collection and analysis, and other responsibilities. Mat-Su Health Foundation was identified as the backbone organization for R.O.C.K. Mat-Su, and continues to serve as such today.

Today, R.O.C.K. Mat-Su operates under the oversight of a Youth Advisory Board, at the direction of a Steering Committee, and under the governance of the Mat-Su Health Foundation Program Committee. The work of the collective is coordinated by working groups and continues to be supported by our dedicated staff.