MDC, its partner the United Way of Greater Greensboro (UWGG), and community stakeholders across Guilford County, N.C., are partnering to design and build a technology-enabled network of nonprofit and public providers called the Greater Guilford Network.
This network will create an aligned system to deliver integrated services to connect and empower low-income households with resources and integrated services proven to reduce poverty and improve economic success.
The vision for the network is that households in Guilford County will live in a state of sustainable economic sufficiency. To move toward this vision, the network will provide a connected system of support assisting individuals and families as they move to increasingly higher levels of economic sufficiency and stability.
The network will build on existing programs and services to strengthen collective outcomes. Using an online service, the network will be an aligned system for implementing ISD community-wide, enabling providers within the network to conduct central intake and assessment, enable and track referrals between providers to deliver integrated services, and measure and report on outcomes.
Integrated Services Delivery
The Greater Guilford Network will use MDC's Integrated Services Delivery (ISD) approach, which sequences, bundles, and delivers services to low-income households across three core areas:
- Work, health, and income supports
- Education and career advancement
- Financial education and coaching
Research and practice show that ISD improves education, employment, income, and financial security outcomes for low-income households when implemented at physical locations. Examples from across the country include Financial Opportunity Centers, United Ways, community colleges, career centers, and the Family Success Center in Greensboro.
These outcomes represent factors that are recognized as social determinants of other important social outcomes such as health and early childhood development. In this sense, for example, the community-wide implementation of ISD through the Greater Guilford Network is also a health improvement strategy.
The network is being designed to take the same basic ISD approach implemented at physical locations, such as Greensboro’s Family Success Center, and apply it to the broader community of Greater Guilford County through the planned network of nonprofit and public providers working together to deliver integrated services through a “no wrong front door” approach.
The design process included a Design Team (consisting of about a dozen representatives of nonprofit and public providers), an Advisory Council (consisting of over 50 representatives of similar agencies), and listening sessions with low-income residents. These stakeholders have identified multiple barriers to economic advancement, which network strategies aim to overcome.
A core function of the network will be a virtual ISD system. Implementing an ISD Network will require a shared technology platform, as well as agreements, shared protocols, and training.
Effective community engagement with the network is imperative. The network should include three important community engagement components: participant engagement, external communications, and advocacy and public policy. These essential components represent a bi-directional continuum of communications, which at its core values the voice of participants at every level of the network’s development.
The network structure will include Network Membership, Network Service Providers, Network Governing Council, and the Network Coordinating Organization.
The first phase of implementation will engage a modest number of service providers in implementing and testing systems for streamlining and integrating intake, assessment, referral, and delivery of integrated services. Over time, the group of Network Service Providers will expand to include more and more of the network’s member organizations.
The Network Coordinating Organization will determine the organizations to engage as Network Service Providers in the first implementation phase and make every effort to ensure that all required services are represented.
The Network Coordinating Organization for the pilot phase is recommended to be United Way of Greater Greensboro.
Outcomes and Evaluation
The network will measure and report on its progress to its members and community stakeholders in relation to benchmarks, outputs, and outcomes.
UWGG, MDC, and community stakeholders will begin preparation for implementation in 2018, aiming for the first phase of implementation in 2019. Many providers across Guilford County have already indicated their willingness to participate.
For more information, contact MDC Senior Program Director Ralph Gildehaus.