Today, policy makers, funders, and government agencies alike are grappling with the need to use resources efficiently and effectively in order to make a measurable difference in addressing some of today’s pressing significant social, cultural, and educational challenges. When dealing with such complex and “wicked” problems as global warming, hunger, substance abuse, education and skills development (including competencies in STEM disciplines), it’s not enough for an organization to deliver results that contribute only to its bottom line. Increasingly, civic and philanthropic leaders are promoting a "collective impact" approach that moves beyond individual organizational effectiveness to foster (and even require) multi-organization collaboration to drive systemic change. This paper describes collective impact and its evolution in the policy, philanthropic, and programmatic arenas, with a focus on STEM learning.
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