Common Good Collaborative

DownloadThe Common Good Collaborative is the umbrella under which ALF brings the resources of its vibrant network and its organizational philosophies and practices to the larger community.

In 2012, ALF introduced a new publication, Common Ground/Common Good, based on its learnings from the first three years of the Common Good Collaborative initiative to help changemakers leverage their work.


Common Good Collaborative Context

The current culture of advocacy and polarity has compromised the public space for dialogue. ALF and the James L. and John S. Knight Foundation formed the Common Good Collaborative in June of 2008 to develop the skills and leadership capacity needed to nurture participative dialogue in Silicon Valley.

The work of the Collaborative is based on the belief that ineffective and/or unsustainable outcomes are rarely the result of too little action, but rather action that is not grounded in a deep understanding and use of diverse views.

The Common Good Collaborative is working with community partners to develop dialogues, forums, an initiative around state reform called “Reviving California” and the “Uncommon Exchange” conversation series. These events are addressing pressing societal issues, exploring principles of the common good anddeveloping a framework for setting priorities in the community. The goal is to create a new way for Silicon Valley to address issues and affect positive change.


Year One

Over the course of the first year, ALF held a series of Public Square Dialogues which explored topics of importance to Silicon Valley: immigration, global markets, religious extremism, race and global warming. These small group dialogues, open to Senior Fellows, not only provide a forum to delve into the complexities of the topics, but they provide the potential to spark further action among the participants.

Also in the first year, ALF held the forum: Realizing the California Dream. This two-day forum provide Senior Fellows with the time and space to discuss in-depth the seemingly intractable barriers in our state government that are prohibiting meaningful progress on many of California’s most pressing issues.

These events inspired several actions that are being carried forward with the assistance of the Common Good Collaborative. Additionally, ALF is participating in community change efforts that have been championed by Senior Fellows and in which ALF can play a specific role.

Year Two

ALF launched the Uncommon Exchange conversation series, a new take on the traditional speaker series, structured around a general theme of courage in leadership; what it means to make difficult decisions in a high-profile environment, especially when they might seem unpopular. Acting in the interest of the common good does take courage, and this is a topic to explore more deeply, utilizing the ALF concepts of dialogue.

As part of the effort to engage the Silicon Valley community around the issue of reforming California’s governance and budget structure, ALF built on the energy and ideas of the Realizing the California Dream forum and created Reviving California with specific goals to:

  • Bring diverse groups of people into a common dialogue and collaboration through nurtured community partnerships;
  • Be an actively engaged Silicon Valley community that remains a strong voice for the common good;
  • Join forces in engaging the community on the issue of California reform in 2010 and beyond; and
  • Inform organizations proposing reform about Silicon Valley ideas and collective input in a “bottoms-up” approach.

Reviving California organized Town Hall meetings, Public Square Dialogues, monthly speaker lunches and a series of community dialogues. ALF has also partnered with more than 25 Silicon Valley organizations to form the Silicon Valley Collaborative for Reform to educate, engage and empower the community on issues related to reforming the governance of California.

Year Three

The Common Good Collaborative was involved in the following projects, some of which were in an exploration phase.

  • Reviving California/California Governance
  • Green Tech as a Path Out of Poverty
  • Safer San Jose
  • Corporate Social Responsibility
  • Education/Eliminating the Achievement Gap
  • Step Up Silicon Valley Campaign to Cut Poverty