Adene Sacks is a senior program at the Jim Joseph Foundation.
I have had a privileged month.
It began at the Grantmakers for Effective Organization’s (GEO) gathering for funders and closed at a convening for Jewish networkers hosted by the Charles and Lynn Schusterman Family Foundation. At one event, funders from all corners of the social sector grappled with how to grow social impact by harnessing the power of networks. At the other, skilled Jewish professionals explored the power and possibilities of networks within our Jewish Community.
What is clear to me, as I navigate these two worlds, is that the use of networks to build community and grow impact is an emergent practice. We are definitely in the experimental phase of what it means to pursue social change in a networked world.
I leave both conversations convinced of their import. On the Jewish side, networks have the potential to be a powerful vector for imbuing the multifaceted identities of today’s Jews with meaning and connection sourced from our tradition, community and values. And practically, networks offer funders and organizations a construct that encourages innovation and expands participation. The potential of that combination is hard to ignore.
At the close of the GEO conference, funders were asked to capture their ‘top ten’ takeaways. This video was produced by the conference participants (who came to be known over the two days as the “people formerly known as the audience”). While not having a video camera on hand, I thought I’d use the #jnets Twitter feed to capture some of the key takeaways from the rich conversation from two days spent with funders, activists and professionals at the Schusterman Foundation’s gathering on Networks.
In the spirit of collaboration, I will try to capture the top tweets and invite my able colleagues and partners in crime to edit away and then, in the spirit of David Letterman, develop our top ten list from TEN to ONE.
Here goes …
10. Networks are about more than just connection. They are about creating dynamic systems that drive change. @sethcohen33
9. “We may not know where we’re going, but we’re making good time” (Charles Schusterman) @yonigordis
8. Organizations are siloed but those they serve are not. @adenesacks
7. All organizations are networks. What varies is the level of centralization and distribution. @shaulkelner
6. Close curated networks are safer than open self selected networks @rabbiyonah
3. With a network, you have to trust the collective wisdom and let go. The more we do that, the more it builds a greater whole @eliwinkelman
2. Don’t just build the network for connectivity, build it to scale action @stevekuperberg
1. Jews have been using networks for communal action for centuries (see: building the mishkan) Rabbi Stephanie Kolin @urj