Community Possibilities

Tom Wolff and the Power of Collaborative Solutions

December 14, 2021 Dr. Tom Wolff Season 1 Episode 18
Community Possibilities
Tom Wolff and the Power of Collaborative Solutions
Show Notes

"Doing together, that which we cannot do a part." That statement is the core of this episode. Dr. Tom Wolff is a community psychologist and expert in coalition building who has spent a lifetime working in communities in seemingly intractable social problems.

We talk about how he got started working in communities and the power of coalitions. We dig into the challenges of working with community coalitions and the "tricky business" of community change.  We talk about what real community change is - involving people most affected by the problem - and how to do that. 

Changing the status quo is hard when systems seek to maintain themselves. Tom explains why he has been so critical of one  popular approach, Collective Impact, and how collaborating for equity and justice is a better alternative. 

In this age where we no longer talk to those with whom we disagree, the "Hands Across the Hills" initiative might be a model for all our communities. People from Tom's hometown and those in a community in Kentucky, came together in the wake of the 2016 election to seek common ground.

Dr. Tom Wolff's Bio
Tom Wolff, Ph.D. is a nationally recognized consultant on coalition building and community development, with over 30 years’ experience training and consulting with individuals, organizations and communities across North America. His clients include federal, state and local government agencies, foundations, hospitals, non-profit organizations, professional associations, and grassroots groups.

Tom has published numerous resources to help communities solve their own problems. His most recent book is The Power of Collaborative Solutions – Six principles and effective tools for building health communities  published by Jossey Bass-John Wiley in early 2010.His earlier writings on coalition building include From the Ground Up: A Workbook on Coalition Building and Community Development (with Gillian Kaye, 1997) and The Spirit of the Coalition (with Bill Berkowitz, 2000; American Public Health Association). He is passionate about looking at issues from a community perspective and empowering local communities to solve their own problems. His writings combine theoretical understanding with rich stories and on-the-ground experience.

Links Mentioned in this Episode:
Tom's website
Hands Across the Hills
Ten Places Where Collective Impact Gets in Wrong
Collaborating for Equity and Justice