Safe Futures Collaborative (SFC)

Collective Impact Project to Reduce Relational Violence in Maryland



Launched in 2018, the Safe Futures Collaborative (SFC) is a systemic effort to reduce relational violence and exploitation and create safer communities in Maryland. This cross-sector effort is guided by nonprofit, public and private leaders including funders, advocates, service providers and people with lived experience as survivors of intimate partner violence (IPV), sexual violence (SV) and/or sex trafficking (ST). The Collaborative’s vision is that every person responsibly engages in healthy relationships and has the right to consensual sexual encounters. SFC was made possible due to generous support from a private foundation and YWCA USA.

To realize their vision, SFC used the five conditions for Collective Impact, which include: a common agenda for change, shared measurement for data and results, mutually reinforcing activities, open and continuous communication and a “Backbone” coordinating organization.

Providing a structured form of multi-sector collaboration that includes these key elements:

  • Common Agenda
  • Adaptive Leadership
    (A Due East addition critical to supporting the Collaborative and its member organizations)
  • Shared Measurement Systems
  • Backbone Support
  • Continuous Communication
  • Mutually Reinforcing Activities
Collective Impact (John Kania and Mark Kramer)

The Process

Due East guided the planning process and implementation phases of the collective impact work, in partnership with the YWCA of Annapolis and Anne Arundel County. We helped SFC establish a five-member Design Team who acted as a steering committee for the initiative, representing Anne Arundel County, Baltimore City, Baltimore County, and the Mid-Shore. Due East also interviewed key victim service stakeholders and survivors to help identify major issues, service gaps and opportunities.

With support from Due East, the Design Team developed a Theory of Change and Common Agenda and formed a Guiding Coalition of industry leaders to provide strategic direction for the Collective Impact initiative. The team developed three recommendations to improve the victims’ services continuum of care: 1) Design Learning Centers to lift up and promote best practices and knowledge sharing across the continuum of care, 2) Launch Local Collaboratives to increase community connectedness, coordination and impact, and 3) Develop a shared measurement framework to collect stronger, more consistent local service provider data to aggregate at the state and/or population level.

The Results

The work of the SFC resulted in significant learning about leading a successful and replicable Collective Impact model. Peer-to-peer support helped SFC participants to leverage resources and build leadership, and strategic regional partnerships lead to greater efficiency and effectiveness.

Deliverables included:

  1. The launch of four regional Learning Centers to act as hubs of expertise, including: Knowledge Center, Prevention Center, Response Center, and Empowerment Center.
  2. The development of a shared measurement framework.
  3. The launch of four Local Collaboratives who are engaging leaders and professionals across sectors to develop common agendas unique to Anne Arundel County, Baltimore City, Baltimore County, and the Mid-Shore.
  4. A regional Continuum of Care for victims of relational violence and exploitation to ensure coordination and coverage across prevention, response, and empowerment services.

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