Build Partnerships and Supporting Structures
Build is the first domain of the Social Capital Framework. It focuses on building partnerships and the structures needed to promote social capital organization-wide.
Build the Foundation to Create a Relationship-Rich Climate
The first domain of the Social Capital Framework focuses on actions that organizational leaders can take to ensure that they are able to create the conditions that lead to a social capital promoting environment. Two ways youth-serving organizations can set themselves up for success is by building partnerships with other organizations and building supporting structures that prioritize and promote social capital organization-wide.
Key Principles to Build
Inputs needed to support an organization that prioritizes relationships.
Supporting structures may include hiring practices, programming, policies, and internal communications that emphasize the importance of relationships and social capital, and recognize staff who are great relationship builders and connectors.
Strong relationships with your community and other organizations who can support your mission.
Organizations are embedded in communities, and therefore have the opportunity to build partnerships with other organizations to expand their own web of support. These partnerships can increase access to community resources that may be beneficial for supporting your capacity and youth social capital
Success Stories from the Field
To see what building supporting structures and impactful partnerships look like in practice, see how two youth-serving organizations, Youth Connect and Youth Empowerment Initiative, implemented these strategies into their respective organizations.
In recent years, the afterschool program Youth Connect embarked on a transformative journey to amplify its commitment to supporting the social capital development of young people. The organization undertook a multifaceted approach that encompassed updates to hiring practices, internal communication strategies, and the recognition of staff who demonstrated exceptional skill in fostering relationships and brokering resources.
Youth Connect initiated its transformation by reevaluating its hiring practices, placing a renewed focus on recruiting candidates from the local community who shared similar life experiences with the youth served by the program. These candidates not only demonstrated technical qualifications but also possessed a profound understanding of what drives them to work with young people in their specific community. This innovative approach led to the recruitment of staff who were deeply committed to Youth Connect’s mission and could genuinely relate to program participants on a personal level, thanks to shared life experiences and identities.
Furthermore, Youth Connect recognized the pivotal role of internal communication in reinforcing its commitment to relationship building. The organization established a staff-driven newsletter, serving as a platform where team members could celebrate not only their personal achievements but also the meaningful connections they forged with the youth in the program. To further underline their dedication to authentic relationships, Youth Connect introduced a monthly “Connection Champion” recognition program. This initiative spotlighted staff members who consistently prioritized the establishment of genuine and impactful relationships with the young people they served.
The case of Youth Connect serves as a compelling example of how afterschool programs can effectively enhance their commitment to youth social capital by placing emphasis on staff recruitment, internal communication, and the celebration of relationship-building champions.
The Youth Empowerment Initiative (YEI) is a non-profit organization dedicated to empowering youth in an urban community. YEI offers a variety of programs and services including leadership development and work-based learning, all aimed at fostering the personal and professional growth of local youth. However, YEI had difficulty providing real-world work experiences that would prepare youth for their future careers and struggled to make learning opportunities relevant to the rapidly changing job market.
YEI recognized that it needed to build partnerships with other organizations within the community to address this challenge. YEI formed a partnership with a local business called XYZ Industries that could offer real-world experience and mentoring from industry professionals. XYZ Industries found that engaging with the youth in the community was a rewarding experience and began to see it as an investment in their own workforce pipeline. Through this collaboration, youth participants acquired practical skills and knowledge that were directly applicable to their future career aspirations and expanded their network to include professional mentors.
The Youth Opportunity Checkup