Futures Project

Unified Storytelling

Converting data into decision-making strategies

The Initiative

Often, we haven’t explained the impact that Community Action has had in engaging the whole community; looking deeply at systems; and developing new opportunities and solutions in communities to create pathways to exit poverty. The Futures project is about equipping the Community Action agencies so that they can tell those stories collectively and powerfully. Using continuous learning, the Futures pilots have evolved as well as the processes in what we have learned from their participants.

“Since I love to work with people and am not a numbers person, I thought that Futures would not be for me, but it is!
Seeing that for case managers is really important – I see the relevance of the data.”

— Pilot Cohort Case Manager


In 2014, two Community Action agencies from each of the three states began piloting Futures work. In August 2017, analysis of the pilot project data was given to the Steering Committee and Futures moved to the next phase of implementation.

Now, 53 agencies in the three states have begun creating and analyzing their data to understand the mechanisms within communities that support individuals and families. Once finalized, agencies will be able to clearly describe to their clients the outcomes they must meet to become resource adequate. Additionally, funders will be able to see the impact of those programs. Agencies will be able to assess their value based upon the outcomes their clients achieve, as opposed to the outputs of the work the agencies undertake.


Letting data tell the story

In an effort to operationalize the Futures Theory of Change, we learned the following:

  • Change attitudes and practices toward the poor (gaining confidence of community).
  • ‘Stabilize and equip’ strategies don’t succeed without community work.
  • Convert data into decision-making strategies.
  • Move away from a transactional service model to goal-oriented relationships.

Status of the project:

Starting in July 2017 and continuing through January 2019, our goals are to continue the alignment of Futures with National performance indicators and results-oriented management & accountability, grow participation of Community Action Partners in continuous improvement process, and expand marketing and technical assistance of Futures resources.

Are you in Idaho, Oregon, or Washington?
Would you like to join the next Futures cohort?
Contact Kim Tully for information.

Outside of Idaho, Oregon, or Washington?
Contact Merritt Mount for more information
about joining Futures.