As communities grapple with the effects of a global pandemic, organizational leaders are being called upon to think of new approaches to providing essential services, protecting vulnerable populations, and fostering community resilience. On June 30, as part of our Healthier Texas Summit Series, It’s Time Texas CEO Amy McGeady spoke with four Texas thought leaders who have been exceptionally creative and effective at collaborating across sectors to address the challenge of dramatically changing circumstances.
During the hour-long conversation, panelist Veronica Rosenbaum, Executive Director of the Brownsville Coalition, spoke about her organization’s work to launch a new Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) program to distribute food from their community garden to those in need. Nishi Viswanathan detailed the evolution of the Texas Health Catalyst Face Shield Project and working to get face masks to smaller, but still essential, service organizations and their workers. Patrick Brandt, co-founder of Shiftsmart, talked about pivoting their platform to place furloughed service workers in shifts at local food banks. Daphne McGee, Staff Attorney at Texas Legal Services Center’s Medical-Legal Partnerships discussed successfully petitioning the public utility commission to provide relief during the pandemic by working with healthcare providers to demonstrate the possible health effects of rising unemployment rates, reduced income and shelter in place restrictions.
While pivoting their organizations’ service models in response to COVID-19 was not without its challenges, our panelists made clear that collaboration was key to their efforts. Collaborating across sectors and engaging community partners built their capacity to apply new strategies and address emerging needs. Here are five key takeaways from “master problem-solvers” on how to rise to the occasion and meet a crisis head on.