What We Do
Our mission is to unleash the power and capacity of people to create change.
We are dedicated to sharing lessons, participatory planning that can mobilize the natural gifts and talents of people and achieve shared ownership of action, and building the teamwork and resources needed to make dreams a reality.
After leading philanthropic and non-profit organizations focused on economic development, health, education, child welfare, place-making, and resident-led community transformation for 40 years, we believe in the power of sharing the lessons learned. We have a long history of leading learning exchanges and sharing events, and have written or participated in numerous case studies, books, and articles.
Today, we remain dedicated to expanding the conversation about the issues of economic inclusion, social justice, stakeholder engagement, innovation and inspired action.
We participate on teams distilling lessons, as well as facilitate workshops on building a culture of innovation and trust, forming and managing effective teams, and achieving social change through large-scale citizen action.
We also write articles and contribute papers on the topics of philanthropy and community change.
A book about philanthropy and community change, told through the voices of residents and over 50 thought-leaders in the field, shares a comprehensive look at what works and what stands in the way of change.Read More
Change is best implemented when stakeholders bring their unique gifts and talents to the table, are well-informed, and share the responsibility for plans.
As a process design partner, VanicaCummings works with teams in developing or refining their guiding principles for engaging stakeholders, setting planning goals and values, and involving constituents upfront in setting out the engagement strategy. This begins with listening and culminates with feedback and reporting.
VanicaCummings can help your team:
- Insure inclusive and diverse stakeholder participation
- Lift up the aspirations, concerns, and priorities of your stakeholders
- Support and strengthen the stakeholder engagement capacity within your organization or institution
- Inventory, connect, and coordinate engagement assets in your organization, community, or institution
- Develop an informed constituency
- Build broad ownership of a plan and strengthen your partnership with your stakeholders
- Develop intentional structures for shared ownership of assets, as part of an overall wealth-building strategy
The Village at Market Creek (San Diego, CA)
Stakeholder strategies blended vision organizing, working teams, the development of resident-centered resource networks, and a first-of-its-kind Community Development IPO.Read More
People who are deeply engaged and contribute to a plan make a commitment to action and own the approach for moving forward. At the heart of building dynamic teams and collaborations that can achieve transformational change is enabling people to learn and plan together across differences in a way that can break down resistance to change and give strategic focus to achieving a new future.
VanicaCummings uses a hybrid process that combines theory and practice from the Instititue for Cultural Affairs (ICA) Participatory Strategic Planning and David La Piana’s Real-Time Strategic Planning.
This process is based on:
- The power of participation
- A commitment to rapid response
Participatory plans are not detailed long-range plans, but rather emphasize broad strategic directions for action that will catalyze movement and create a magnified impact. The group experience of exploring alternatives for remaining competitive or expanding impact together is how innovation occurs and creativity is released.
ACCION San Diego (San Diego, CA)
With new opportunities for expansion regionally, VanicaCummings was a key strategic partner for ACCION.Read More
Capacity Building & Resources
To initiate and sustain change, organizations need practical and coordinated resource and capacity building strategies which can keep pace with a rapid rotation from planning to action, meet a social and economic bottom-line, operate across sectors, and blend various types of capital, from tax credits to philanthropy.
VanicaCummings uses the principles of its Inside-Out Leadership Model, Finders Keepers Staffing Strategy, Rapid Resource Planning Process, and Innovative Capital Strategies Matrix to provide coaching and facilitation to organizational leadership teams.
VanicaCummings can help you:
- Clarify and strengthen a culture of risk, respect and innovation
- Build creative and inclusive teams
- Listen to and plan with your stakeholders
- Recruit, develop and retain inspiring leaders
- Develop a portfolio of diverse financial resources
- Set the leadership, structure, and strategy in motion for your capital campaign
The Elementary Institute of Science (San Diego, CA)
In a bold and nontraditional fundraising campaign, VanicaCummings partnered with the EIS team to launch a Youth Leadership Board and initiate a new strategic plan.Read More