At Elemental Partners, we seek clients who, like us, work in a spirit of community, collaboration and cooperation to serve the best interests of all.
UCSF | Center for Health Care Professions – Building Cultural Capacity
For years, the Center for Health Care Professions (CHCF) at the University of California at San Francisco ran a successful fellowship program, training over health care professionals throughout California in leadership development and organizational skills. However, feedback from the fellows indicated that they wanted more training on cultural competence. CHCF had struggled with integrating the topic into the program, with concerns of scale – what is too much or too little?
CHCF contracted with Elemental Partners to present their curriculum, “The Transcultural Bridge: Building Individual and Institutional Cultural Capacity.” After some trial and error, we settled on a four-hour session focused on building individual capacity in the fall, followed by a four-hour session focused on building institutional capacity in the winter. This allowed time for the fellows practice their skills during the inter-session and return with questions during at the follow-up session.
Since 2010, Elemental Partners has provided the The Transcultural Bridge series to over 500 fellows. The fellows’ evaluations on knowledge of the topic and presentation effectiveness have averaged 4.85 (out of 5.00). The Transcultural Bridge is now a standing part of the CHCF program curriculum.
“I have participated in many cultural competency workshops over the years, including facilitating several myself. I wondered what new information I would gather. I was extremely pleased to see how Kevin provided a unique approach to the topic. The activities offered were engaging, informative and thought-provoking, and I appreciated that they didn’t focus heavily on the notion of stereotypes and generalizations. The workshop topic can be a delicate one, and I sensed that the group was at times a bit apprehensive about the topic, but I felt the approach was a very effective one, not alienating anyone and really creating a very inclusive experience for everyone.”
– Dr. Rohan Radhakrishna, CHCF Cohort 14 Fellow
City of New Orleans – Community Building & Racial Reconciliation
As the Mayor of New Orleans, Mitch Landrieu had a keen interest in racial reconciliation and community building. He and his staff called upon experts from around the country to design and implement a multi-year process to support a racial reconciliation initiative in the city. The result was The Welcome Table New Orleans (WTNO).
Because of our track record in bringing diverse groups of people together to seek common ground, Elemental Partners was asked to be part of the WTNO design and facilitation team. Along with our partner organizations, The Winter Institute and the Urban League of Greater New Orleans, we facilitated seven Welcome Table cohorts throughout the city. The volunteers participated in monthly circle discussions throughout the year, sharing a variety of experiences including exchanging personal histories and perspectives and discussing events that have caught the nation’s attention. Their efforts have helped them to explore their own thoughts and feelings on race and call attention to the need for racial reconciliation in our city and country.
In addition to the neighborhood circles, WTNO had a Civic Leaders Circle, a circle for mothers who have suffered loss due to gun violence, and a Youth Circle. The first cohort of the WTNO Initiative completed their circles in June, 2015 and developed community reconciliation projects to inform, educate and engage the people of New Orleans. Elemental Partners was contracted to train and mentor teams of WTNO Cohort I graduates to facilitate the 2016-2017 WTNO Cohort II circles.
“What I appreciated most was the way in which Elemental Partners worked with us as a thinking partner to create and implement the program. First, working with me to understand and articulate a clear picture of what our goals and objectives were, then providing creative options for how we could reach those objectives all the while thinking about how to adapt to meet the diverse needs of the participants.”
– Judy Reese Morse, Former Deputy Mayor, City of New Orleans
Japanese Community Youth Council – Values Integration
Japanese Community Youth Council (JCYC) is a 40-year old organization serving over 8,000 children and youth annually from all ethnic backgrounds in the San Francisco Bay Area. Over the past five years, the staff doubled in size to over 100 people. With such rapid expansion, the leadership was concerned that the organization was losing touch with its founding principles and values. JCYC approached Elemental Partners to develop and integrate a values-based philosophy and approach throughout the organization that both reflected the historical roots and current culture and needs of the communities they serve.
Elemental Partners first worked with the board and staff to develop an organizational values statement. They then met with each of the ten programs to see how these values were currently reflected in their day-to-day activities, as well as brainstorm how the values can be further integrated. They worked closely with the board and management to insure that the organization’s policies and practices reflect the values. Finally, they formed cross-functional teams focused on each of the six values to develop activities and campaigns to integrate the values throughout the organization.
After two years, JCYC board and staff have fully embraced and integrated their values. Upon entering their new facility, each of their values is proudly displayed on posters in their foyer. The cross-functional teams have mounted activities and campaigns such as: developing a comprehensive composting and recycling program (promoting integrity); creating mentorships between their programs serving older youth and the preschools (promoting community); and coordinating organization-wide food and clothing drives (promoting compassion). Staff evaluations now have a values-based review component, and the organization now only purchases from socially responsible vendors.
“Rapidly expanding organizations would be wise to utilize Elemental Partners’ experience to clarify what the core values are for their group. This process will significantly help evolving organizations to manage growth and stay focused and moving in a productive direction.”
–Jon Osaki, Executive Director, Japanese Community Youth Council
YouthCare – Strengthening Cultural and Racial Capacity
For 40 years, YouthCare has been a leader in providing effective services to Seattle’s homeless youth. The staff of 160 provide a continuum of care that includes outreach, basic services, emergency shelter, housing, counseling, education, and employment training in ten locations. As part of fulfilling their strategic goal in building cultural proficiency, YouthCare engaged Elemental Partners to facilitate a nine-month process to raise awareness and develop healthier practices in regard to issues of race and ethnicity.
Elemental Partners conducted a listening campaign among the residences, departments and programs to ascertain both the universal and unique issues around race that arise in each subculture. Then they developed and presented a four-option process to engage the staff in their programs and departments. Staff could choose any one or all of the options, depending on their needs. The Elemental Partners team paid particular attention to healing and transforming old wounds and stories, while developing new practices toward a more culturally proficient organization.
With the support of Elemental Partners, YouthCare has created an environment that fosters deeper understanding among their staff to nurture connections that go beyond general assumptions and labels. By applying practices in incremental steps over time, people have experienced transformation in themselves and within the greater organizational culture.
“Elemental Partners’ ability turn challenges into opportunities for growth is truly amazing. They remain calm and keep everyone else calm so that you can work to address those challenges.”
– Melinda Giovengo, PhD, Executive Director, YouthCare
Center for Diversity and the Environment – Facilitating Community Forums
Based in Portland, OR, the mission of The Center for Diversity & the Environment (CDE) is to racially and ethnically diversify the U.S. environmental movement by developing leaders, diversifying institutions, and building community. As a new organization, CDE wanted to first expand awareness among the mainstream environmental/ conservation groups and the largely minority-run social justice/ environmental justice groups, with the hopes of building greater understanding and partnerships.
Elemental Partners worked closely with the board and staff to design a series of three community forums to provide participants a space to learn, grow, build relationships, and to organically find solutions to their specific diversity issues. Because there had been some historical challenges between the environmental conservation groups and the environmental justice groups, the forums had to be carefully crafted and facilitated.
The first forum challenged assumptions and moved participants toward a deeper understanding of diversity, equity and inclusion; the second forum allowed the people of color to redefine terms largely used by the environmental movement in order to talk about the issues with their own communities; and the third forum focused on building partnerships.
Over 200 environmental and social justice leaders participated in the forums representing over 100 institutions including: The Trust for Public Land; REI; African American Outdoor Association; and the Farm Worker’s Ministry. In a follow-up survey, all of the participants reported taking some type of action toward diversity and inclusion within their organizations. The Environmental Professionals of Color network doubled to over 100 members, and unlikely partnerships were developed as a result of the relationships built among communities of color and the environmental community. The Center for Diversity and the Environment secured additional funding and has firmly established itself as a major and respected player in the movement.
“The forum was AMAZING. The tools and follow up materials have been incredibly helpful, and I have already begun sharing the fruits of this forum with folks in my position across the country. We will be meeting with our HQ partners to discuss our various efforts to address diversity in our markets; this particular forum was the most successful effort thus far, supported by REI in terms of follow up and next steps.”
– Michelle Emmons, REI
“Elemental Partners has a keen sense for engaging groups to draw upon their strengths and recognize the natural abilities they possess as positive change agents.”
Chair, Dignity Health
“Elemental Partners offered a thoughtful and nonjudgmental process that allowed us to interact with openness. They brought the topic to life with exercises that challenged us to identify internal and external bias. It was a touching discourse on cultural awareness and moral responsibility.”
Dr. John Burkhardt,
Founding Director, National Forum on Higher Education,
University of Michigan, School of Education
“When Kevin taught our team how to balance each other’s leadership styles using The Five Elements, it has resulted in our best year of collaboration. There are times where we all know we can jump head first into a task and finish it quickly, and there are times where we know we need to take a step back and see if we are headed in the right direction or if we need to take a change of course. We communicate better and meet our team goals with less stress for all.”
Santa Fe Public Schools
“The Second Circle creates a safe space for meaningful communication and connection in our frenetic world. Through the masterful guidance of Elemental Partners, we can move beyond the latest email or headline and build bridges to our shared humanity.”
Los Angeles County Commission on Human Relations
County of Los Angeles Commission on Human Relations
City of New Orleans, Mayor’s Office
Oakland Unified School District
San Francisco Unified School District
Santa Fe Public Schools
White House Initiative on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders
Alameda Health System
Asian and Pacific Islander American Health Forum (APIAHF)
Center for Health Care Professions/University of California, San Francisco
Bristol-Myers Squibb Epilepsy Foundation of America
Epilepsy Foundation of America
Providence Health and Services
University of California at San Francisco – California Health Care Foundation
University of Michigan School of Education – National Leadership Academy
Hispanics in Philanthropy
W.K. Kellogg Foundation
National Committee for Responsive Philanthropy
Southern California Grantmakers
San Francisco Japantown Foundation
The California Endowment
The Colorado Trust
The Tides Center
The Wāhea Foundation
ACLU of Mississippi
Asian Americans Advancing Justice|AAJC
Diverse Elders Coalition
Ella Baker Center for Human Rights
National Council on Asian Pacific Americans (NCAPA)
Sikh American Legal Defense and Education Fund (SALDEF)
William Winter Institute for Racial Reconciliation
Bay Area Community Services (BACS)
Elder Financial Protection Network (EFPN)
My Sister’s House
Our Family Coalition
Bay Area Video Coalition (BAVC)
Destiny Arts Center
National Museum of African American History and Culture – Smithsonian Institute
Sacramento Gay Mens Chorus
World Arts West
American Library Association
California Alliance for Education
Campaign for High School Equity
Japanese Community Youth Council (JCYC)
San Francisco Department of Children, Youth and their Families (DCYF)
Tools for Peace
The Little School
Vietnamese American Young Leaders Association – New Orleans (VAYLA-NO)