Collective Impact

By: Whitney Mastin

Midlands Mentoring Partnership (MMP) is a collective impact organization that works in cooperation with mentoring programs serving the Omaha metropolitan area.  According to John Kania & Mark Kramer in an article titled Collective Impact, published in the Stanford Social Innovation Review in 2011, “successful Collective Impact initiatives typically have five conditions that together produce true alignment and lead to powerful results.”

The five conditions are as follows:

Common Agenda, which includes a common understanding of the problem and a joint approach to solving it through agreed upon actions. (Kania & Kramer, 2011)

Shared Measurement, because agreement on a common agenda is illusionary without agreement on the ways success will be measured and reported.  (Kania & Kramer, 2011)

Mutually Reinforcing Activities, which works to encourage each participant to undertake a specific set of activities at which it excels in a way that supports and is coordinated with the actions of others. (Kania & Kramer, 2011)


Continuous Communication which is key to building trust.  It allows time for partners to understand their own interests will be treated fairly, and that decisions will be made on the basis of objective evidence and the best possible solution to the problem. (Kania & Kramer, 2011)


Backbone Support, because creating and managing collective impact requires a separate organization with staff with a very specific set of skills to serve as a backbone to the initiative.  The expectation that collaboration can occur without a supporting infrastructure is one of the most frequent reasons why it fails. (Kania & Kramer, 2011)

Midlands Mentoring Partnership has shown to be an effective Collective Impact organization because the work of the organization catalyzes program adherence to quality mentoring standards and puts a strong emphasis on creating systemic change in order to advance the mentoring cause, including increasing  the number of high-risk youth served by mentoring programs.  MMP also creates a forum for mentoring professionals across the community to collaborate, share and leverage resources, and work together in the areas of research and service. The resulting synergy of ideas and resources makes MMP a powerful mechanism for bringing mentoring to scale in the Omaha metropolitan area. 

One such forum for collaboration is the 5th Annual Mentoring Summit & Youth Development Luncheon scheduled for March 19th at the CenturyLink.  To learn more about MMP and the 5th Annual Mentoring Summit and Youth Development Luncheon, visit

John Kania, & Mark Kramer. (2011). Collective Impact.

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