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November 15, 2016 | AAI has been nominated for the Excellence in Innovation Award as part of the Heart of Marin Awards produced by the Center for Volunteer & Nonprofit Management (CVNL) and presenting sponsor Union Bank. The Heart of Marin Awards recognizes outstanding nonprofits and the committed individuals who serve them.

The Excellence in Innovation Award and $5,000 will be presented to an individual, organization or partnership that has developed new, creative and effective strategies for advancing solutions to critical issues in our community

AAI has been nominated because of our unique collaborative approach to addressing the needs of Marin’s rapidly aging population.

1. Inclusion as Innovation
From start to finish, AAI engages in a comprehensive, collaborative process. Nearly all of the county’s aging service providers and many other related government and nonprofit agencies such as Marin Transit, The Agricultural Institute of Marin,, the Marin Community Foundation and Marin Housing Authority (just to name a few) are working together as members of AAI. This inclusive process has initiated a paradigm shift in the way that planners, nonprofit executives, and government staff approach both the way services are provided and how they are funded.

2. A Ready Fire Aim Strategy
Unlike many collaborative endeavors that get mired down in long-range strategic planning and analysis, AAI intentionally focuses on action. A Ready Fire Aim strategy was employed so that implementation could be planned and launched in a year (or less). While the action items chosen by the four initial workgroups leveraged existing needs assessment data, the collective wisdom of the group, and the individual organizational strengths of the agencies involved, the underlying premise is based on learning by doing and building relationships through actions not just words. This rapid prototyping strategy allows participants to act quickly, learn from those actions, and then be ready to implement course corrections as problems arise.

3. The Collective Impact Model

Rather than relying solely on County leadership or a key funder, AAI participants are following the innovative and successful Collective Impact model. This model is based on the idea that in order Aging Action Initiative Heart of Marin 2017 Excellence in Innovation Award Nominee  for organizations to create lasting solutions to social problems on a large scale, they need to coordinate their efforts working cross-sector. Unlike collaboration or partnership, Collective Impact initiatives have centralized infrastructure – known as a backbone organization – with dedicated staff whose role is to help participating organizations shift from acting alone to acting in concert. AAI is supported by a cross-sector Steering Committee composed of leaders from: Marin County’s Aging and Adult Services Department, Marin Community Foundation (MCF), Whistlestop, Jewish Family and Children’s Services, Senior Access, Marin Commission on Aging, West Marin Senior Services, and a community leader involved in older-adult multicultural issues. The overall process is supported by MARINSPACE, a neutral, cause-agnostic, backbone organization with 20+ years’ experience developing and managing collaborative infrastructure and co-location facilities. The White House Council for Community Solutions has recognized the potential of the Collective Impact model to play a major role in transforming the ways in which communities approach their social problems.

The Heart of Marin Awards Luncheon will take place at the Marin Center Exhibit Hall from 11:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m on Thursday, January 12, 2017. To purchase tickets, click here.

About Aging Action Initiative

Aging Action Initiative (AAI) is a collective effort of over 65 different agencies, grassroots organizations, commission and neighborhood groups, funded by the County of Marin and coordinated by MARINSPACE, collaborating for an age-friendly environment. For more information visit or connect with us on Facebook.