young men and women to their organizations and help these recruits learn anti-social
approaches for adapting to poverty and violence.120 Very few other people help these
youth make sense of circumstances that, all too often, lead to maladaptive coping
behaviors.121 In the absence of compelling local alternatives, however, young people turn
to gangs for a sense of identity and belonging, a false sense of protection, a source of
material resources, and emotional support in the absence of other role models.122 By
emphasizing community supports such as investment in youth development programs,
access to mental health services, and investment in the community, the strategies of SCY
and IPSSJ offer opportunities for alternative identity formation, development of positive
coping skills, and additional opportunity pathways (e.g., expanded college access, career
C. Collective Impact
No matter how influential or well designed, no single organization has the power
needed to shift the community contexts in which violence occurs. Without the
government as a fully-invested partner, even multiple effective civil society organizations
will struggle to create change at the scale that is needed to better align youth development
and community safety outcomes. To advance the strategies named above—reducing the
impact and likelihood of trauma and building human capacity—it is therefore necessary
to work from a fundamental commitment to collective impact.
As defined by the non-profit firm FSG, a global leader in social impact
consulting,124 collective impact “is the commitment of a group of actors from different
sectors to a common agenda for solving a complex social problem.”125 Compared to a
mainstream paradigm of “isolated impact,” collective impact approaches are built on the
idea that “no single organization can create large-scale, lasting social change alone.”126
Though strong organizations and programs are an essential part of effective social
Their Roles in Gang Membership, in CHANGING COURSE: PREVENTING GANG MEMBERSHIP 135, 135–36
(2013) (discussing how gangs meet different needs for youth of different races, but are not limited to any on
racial or ethnic group).
120 Taylor & Smith, supra note 118, at 22. Young people in gangs often engage in illicit activity, such as
“selling stolen goods or drugs to maintain a livelihood.” Id. at 24. Additionally, gang affiliation provides
a sense of security to gang members, allowing them to believe they are less likely to be victimized by
members of the community. Id. at 22. Nevertheless, “[r]esearch indicates that the risk of being victimized is
greater for gang members” as a result of violent encounters within and across gangs. Id.
121 Id. at 21–22.
122 Id. at 20–22.
123 Focus on Five, supra note 111. The interventions supported by these organizations are aligned with best
practices. McNeill et al., supra note 117, at 7 (outlining six key factors in desistence work); Carr, supra
note 97, at 237–42 (outlining critical factors in treatment of individuals with PTSD).
124 SHARED VALUE INITIATIVE,
https://www.sharedvalue.org/ (last visited May 5, 2014) (describing FSG’s
work with a global network of funders to drive adoption of shared values); Global Impact, FSG,
http://www.fsg.org/tabid/226/Default.aspx (last visited May 14, 2014). FSG provides consulting regarding
collective impact strategies on six continents. Id.
125 What Is Collective Impact?, FSG,
visited Mar. 7, 2014).