Sustaining Gains

Sustainability and Systems Building

For the Long Haul: Maintaining Systems of Care Beyond the Federal Investment (Chris Koyanagi and Darienne Feres-Merchant, Bazelon Center for Mental Health Law, 2000).
This paper provides an in-depth description of sustainability strategies used by Comprehensive Community Mental Health Services for Children and Their Families Program sites. It examines the fundamental strategies that were used to sustain systems of care and maintain long-term financial stability beyond the end of the grant. This paper is based on a review of non-federal funds secured by sites, and on conversations with site directors, policymakers, and others concerning the most successful strategies to ensure long-term stability for the sites. 

Tools and Guides

Beyond Sustainability to Resilience for Community Action Agencies and Other Community Based Organizations (Julie Jakopic, iLead Strategies, 2012).
iLead Strategies developed this tool to help community-based organizations, specifically community action agencies, understand and assess their capacity in terms of six elements of sustainability: vision and mission, results orientation, strategy, strategic resource development, resilience, and a sustainability plan. It provides an in-depth description of each element and its importance to sustainability and resilience over time. A self-assessment worksheet is provided for each element.

Racial Equity Toolkit: An Opportunity to Operationalize Equity(Julie Nelson and Lisa Brooks, Updated December 2016).
This toolkit offers guidance for jurisdictions as they develop strategies that promote racial equity.

Program Sustainability Assessment Tool (Washington University in St. Louis Center for Public Health Systems Science, 2012).
This sustainability framework and assessment tool was developed at the Center for Public Health Systems Science (CPHSS). The work began in 2003 with Project LEaP, a rigorous process evaluation examining the effects of funding reductions on eight state tobacco-control programs. Recognizing that sustainability is a significant challenge for not only public health, but also social service and clinical care programs, in 2010 CPHSS began work on developing, refining, and disseminating the sustainability framework and assessment tool. The final tool has been reliability tested and can be used by programs in various levels and settings to better understand and plan for their sustainability. The tool walks programs through a four-step process: understanding sustainability, assessing sustainability, reviewing results, and developing an action plan to increase the likelihood of sustainability. 

The Road to Sustainability (National Center for Community Education and the Afterschool Alliance, 2002).
This workbook was designed to help afterschool programs understand and plan for the three major components of sustainability: building collaboration, advocating for support, and finding funding. It describes each component and why it is critical to sustainability, outlines strategies, provides examples and case studies of successful programs, and includes various worksheets to apply the information and plan action steps.

Sustainability Planning Template - (Office of Adolescent Health, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, n.d.).
This template is an easy-to-use document that outlines key steps in sustainability planning and implementation. It helps users identify goals, actions, roles, responsibilities, and timelines. 

Sustainability Planning Workbook (Barbara Hanson Langford, Margaret Flynn, and the Finance Project, 2003).
This workbook contains several worksheets and tools to help support and organize the sustainability planning process. It includes a sustainability self-assessment tool, a logic model template for developing and measuring sustainability efforts, and a workplan template. It also contains planning worksheets for key sustainability framework areas, such as financing strategically and leading change with others. 

Sustainability Rubric: A Tool to Help State Education Agencies Assess Their Current Efforts to Sustain Reform Strategies to Meet Student Achievement Goals and Sustainability Rubric for Local Educational Agencies (U.S. Department of Education Reform Support Network, 2015).
The sustainability rubrics were developed to help state and local education agencies assess the sustainability of a specific priority reform—a body of work that an agency is undertaking to achieve priority goals for student outcomes. The rubric covers 19 elements of sustainability and what characterizes “inadequate” to “exemplary” for each element.

Sustainability Self-Assessment Tool, SLDS Sustainability Planning Guide, and SLDC Sustainability Toolkit: Best Practices and Resources (Statewide Longitudinal Data System Grant Program State Support Team, 2013).
This set of resources was designed to help states as they plan to sustain their state longitudinal data systems (SLDSs). Each resource is built on a four-part framework for sustainability: stakeholder support, ensuring widespread use, financial support, and return on investment. The self-assessment tool is meant to provide states with a reflective process for identifying areas of strength and areas in need of improvement, as well as short- and long-term goals. The planning guide offers practical suggestions and resources for each step in the process of maintaining a sustainable SLDS. The toolkit offers additional resources and best practices. 

Sustainability Self-Assessment Workbook and Sustainability Self-Assessment Workbook for Local Educational Agencies (U.S. Department of Education Reform Support Network, 2015).
These workbooks were designed to support the use of the sustainability rubrics. They outline five exercises that will help state and local education agencies conduct an initial self-assessment of the sustainability of their reforms. 

Videos and Podcasts

ECDataWorks Community Podcast

“Maximizing Appropriate Involvement of ECIDS Community Members” (September 11, 2020)
Many leaders in states, territories, and Tribes have done work on Early Childhood Integrated Data Systems (ECIDS), which includes strategic planning and stakeholder engagement. In this episode, ECDataWorks coprincipal investigators Missy Coffey (SRI International) and Phil Sirinides (Penn State Harrisburg) speak with two early childhood data leaders about their experiences building community engagement in Texas. They also discuss their recommendations for ECIDS teams across the country.

Our American States Podcast

Episode 120: “Let’s Make a Deal: The Art of Legislative Negotiation” (n.d.) In this episode, Monica Giannone—a consultant and trainer specializing in negotiation and conflict resolution—discusses the importance of negotiation skills to the both the legislative process as well as almost everything you do in life.

Strategy and Leadership Podcast

Episode 93:  “How to Turn Your Strategy into Action and Make It Real with Tara Rethore” (March 10, 2021) In this episode, a strategic advisor shares her experience of working with organizations to help them make their strategies real and actionable so that they can create the change they want to see.

 TED Talk: How Diversity Makes Teams More Innovative (2017)  In this TED Talk, Rocío Lorenzo shares data from a survey of 171 companies to find out if diverse organizations are more innovative. The survey results show that diverse companies are in fact more innovative. Lorenzo explains how companies are getting more creative when they treat diversity as a competitive advantage.