Spark’s focus on innovation, creativity and adaptation

Spark’s focus on innovation, creativity and adaptation, combines with a passion for making complex work less abstract and more hands-on.

We combine community and stakeholder-driven research with practical, hands-on experience and best practices, allowing for solutions that bridge sectors, issues, beliefs, and values. By integrating diverse policy systems, we identify and develop the best solutions for all stakeholders.

Toolkits

Developmental Evaluation Toolkit

Developmental Evaluation Toolkit

Making sense of complex systems and creating powerful strategies requires practical insights. Spark leads the way in producing actionable insight through consulting, evaluation, and facilitation - help you move forward meaningfully.

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The Adaptive Planning Toolkit

The Adaptive Planning Toolkit

This toolkit is designed to walk through an adaptive planning process, from defining the results to how to explore the environmental context and assumptions to how to then engage in strategy and action planning.

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The Strategic Learning Toolkit

The Strategic Learning Toolkit

This toolkit is designed to take the concept of data-driven strategic learning and bring it to life, making it accessible to non-profits, foundations, and other organizations or collaborations seeking to improve strategies and learning.

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Farm to School Evaluation Toolkit

Farm to School Evaluation Toolkit

The Farm to School Evaluation Toolkit is a resource to help farm to school programs of all sizes undertake evaluation. Evaluation can serve many purposes for farm to school programs, including helping demonstrating a program’s success or progress.

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The Advocate's Evaluation Toolkit 

The Advocate's Evaluation Toolkit 

Your impact craves capacity to keep pace with change and be sustainable. Spark brings personalized solutions with our hearts, heads, and hands to build your capacity for impact.

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Tools for Engaging Nontraditional Voices

Tools for Engaging Nontraditional Voices

The tools and other resources in this workbook will improve your organization’s ability to establish a culture of inclusion and policies and community practices that respond to the unique needs of your community.

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Tools for Sustaining Funding for Local Programs

Tools for Sustaining Funding for Local Programs

This toolkit provides information on how funds can be used to help support direct services at the local level; how to recognize which services are appropriate for public or other funding; and how to approach funders to advocate for partnership and long-term support

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Tools for Complex Decision-Making

Tools for Complex Decision-Making

This set of tools is designed to help you explore how to structure a decision-making process amid complexity. The tools will make the options available more transparent along with when they are best used.

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The Strategic Backbone Toolkit

The Strategic Backbone Toolkit

This toolkit focuses on the critical, strategic roles and actions a backbone organization – whether part of a collective impact initiative or other collaborative structure – can take to elevate the initiative’s overall work and impact.

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Tools for Integrating an Equity Lens

Tools for Integrating an Equity Lens

This toolkit is designed for groups who tackle complex problems and want to integrate an equity lens into the decisions they are making. It specifically looks at how groups can focus on decisions made at those choice points to increase equity.

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Blending & Braiding Toolkit 

Blending & Braiding Toolkit 

Your journey of equity is good in theory but better in practice. Spark partners with you, communities, and individuals to bring tools to grow impact equitably.

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Courses

Strategic Learning

The Strategic Learning course from Spark provides you with a foundational ability to communicate across your organization what strategic learning is and why it’s important for your company.
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Adaptive Planning

This course lays out and explains each step of the adaptive planning process to enable you to increase utility, relevance, and sustainable and scalable impact. It’s accompanied by robust, tactical guidance and resources that strengthen your ability and confidence to successfully facilitate an adaptive strategy within your organization.
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Collaborative Community

This course is designed for Collaborative Community Action backbone organizations, groups, and initiatives tasked with fostering systems change through stakeholder engagement and collaboration
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Blog

Get in Touch with Our News

Community Navigator Work
March, 07 2019
This last month, in partnership with the Denver Foundation’s M. Julie Patiño, Barclay Jones, and LaDawn Sullivan; Joby Schaffer wrote an article featured in The Foundation Review. The article, Community Navigation as a Field of Practice: Reframing Service Delivery to Meet the Needs of Communities’ Marginalized Populations, calls out lessons learned through the Basic Human Needs Navigator ...
Research has traditionally defined rigor as obtaining an unbiased estimate of impact, suggesting the need for experimental or quasi-experimental methods and objective, quantitative measures in order to obtain trustworthy results.
Economic Growth
September, 22 2018
In continuation of the dialogue on the Unintended Consequences of Systems Change, our July Social Innovators Breakfast focused on Colorado’s Economic Growth. We had three amazing panelists that guided the discussion and that we owe our deepest appreciation: Jake Williams: Healthier Colorado Elizabeth Garner: State Demography Office, Department of Local Affairs Lauren Ris: Colorado Water ...
Housing Affordability
September, 04 2018
Our Social Innovators Breakfast Series summer focus, Navigating the Unintended Consequences of Systems Change, continued in June with a panel discussion on housing affordability. We are grateful to our three panelists for representing a range of perspectives and experiences, and for sharing their expertise and lessons learned: Claire Levy, Executive Director of the Colorado Center ...
In May 2018, our Social Innovators Breakfast Series launched a special summer focus: Navigating the Unintended Consequences of Systems Change. Though we anticipate Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) will be an important component for all events in the series, we decided to kick things off with a DEI-specific topic: Navigating the Unintended Consequences of moving ...
We’ve been busy this Spring! As promised, we want to be transparent in sharing our journey to incorporate Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) principles here at Spark. This blog post describes our DEI updates since May. Tools for sharing and reflection One of the early activities identified in our DEI plan was to develop a ...
Over the past few years, there has been an increasing emphasis on the need for “systems change” to achieve large-scale social impact. As someone deeply embedded in research and evaluation at the systems-level, I fundamentally believe that addressing complex problems requires system-level solutions. An increasing emphasis on systems – including a greater focus on multi-stakeholder ...
In April, I had the pleasure of facilitating the Alliance of Nurses for Health Environments (ANHE) two-day strategic planning retreat. The goal was to chart a path forward that incorporated equity into their work, and we conducted interviews with members of the nursing community who were familiar with ANHE to understand how ANHE could best ...
We are committed to being open and transparent throughout our process of implementing Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) at Spark. We have a lot of progress to share this month and hope it will be helpful to our staff, local community, peers, clients, and the people most affected by our work. After announcing our DEI ...