WHERE CHANGE BEGINS™

WE GET TO DO REALLY COOL WORK

Our clients are nothing short of inspiring.
It is our honor to help them achieve their goals.

A FEW OF OUR RECENT ENGAGEMENTS
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The Global Fund to Fight
AIDS, TB, & Malaria

The Developing Country NGO Delegation to the Global Fund Board contracted with us for broad management consulting and high-quality facilitation as the delegation evolved into a major force in internal policy debates. We swerved as their policy advisor and facilitated 11 of their official gatherings across the Global South; drafted their policies manual; built their first website; and managed their member selection process.
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Peace Corps

Common Ground was asked to facilitate a pivotal two-day retreat for Peace Corps’ Office of Overseas Programming and Training Support (OPATS) in the wake of a re-organization and significant cuts to staffing and budget. We crafted a retreat agenda that was appropriately calibrated to process what the team had been through, build trust, and help them make thoughtful decisions about how best to move forward.

The purpose of leadership is to remind people what is important. — Warren Bennis

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CARE International

Common Ground was retained to assist CARE’s digital engagement team articulate the their vision and unique value proposition in a way that defines their critical, evolving, and important role within CARE's global operations. We interviewed two dozen people within and outside the department, including CARE's executive leadership. Our findings and recommendations informed next steps for the management team, including, ultimately, new leadership, major restructuring, and a renewed internal focus on diversity, equity, and inclusion.
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U.S. Digital Service (USDS)

It had been 18 months since the 170-member staff of USDS had been together and with a new White House Administration coming in during that time, they really needed to meet and talk about changing priorities, recommit to their core values, and address a variety of structural and staffing issues. CGC talked one-on-one with staff about their expectations and we worked closely with the senior leadership team to design a flexible retreat plan that could address the many facing this very unique government agency.

Good management is the art of making problems so interesting and their solutions so constructive that everyone wants to get to work and deal with them. — Paul Hawken

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National Employment Law Project (NELP)

For 50 years, NELP has sought to ensure that America upholds for all workers her promise of opportunity and economic security through work. Our year-long engagement helped NELP restructure its management and operations to better align with the organization’s strategic plan and its intention to mitigate the effects of structural racism.

Using our Strategy, Action, & Results (S.T.A.R.T.)™ process, we performed a comprehensive review of hundreds of historical documents and conducted one‐on‐one interviews with all of NELP’s staff focusing on leadership, management dynamics, individual job satisfaction, and career development.

This allowed us to evaluate current management structures and make recommendations for improving upon the accountability and efficiency of the institution. As a result of this work, NELP accepted our recommendations for a complete overhaul of their structure, including moving several senior managers into new roles, whereby creating more opportunities for staff mobility—particularly among younger staff of color.

True genius resides in the capacity for evaluation of uncertain, hazardous, and conflicting information. — Winston Churchill

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Civil Rights Enforcement Section of the CA Department of Justice

Common Ground had the privilege of working with SALDEF to create SikhLEAD. One of the first graduates of that program is now a Deputy Attorney General in the Civil Rights Enforcement Section of the CA Attorney General’s Office. At her recommendation, we were engaged to facilitate the section's very first retreat, focusing on leveraging the considerable expertise of a fast-growing staff. The session focused on building high-trust, high-impact teams across their many offices.
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Justice for All Coalition

Common Ground was brought in to design and facilitate a retreat for the Justice for All (JFA) Coalition. The initial plan included reviewing past accomplishments, activities, and challenges; updating the Coalition’s strategic plan and core governance documents; and drafting its annual action plan. Just before the retreat, however, USAID priorities changed, meaning they would no longer support the Coalition. For us, this meant working quickly to ensure the Coalition was prepared to exit the retreat ready to establish themselves as a separate entity.
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Child Helpline International

For more than a decade, we have provided a range of institutional strengthening support to CHI including a rapid assessment of their management systems and concrete recommendations related to infrastructure and future strategic investments. We led strategic planning events; assisted them to better define staff roles and responsibilities; facilitated a conflict-resolution and goal-setting retreat; led workshops focused on cultural competency and diversity, equity, and inclusion; and conducted annual organizational evaluation.
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National Civilian Conservation Corps (NCCC)

Common Ground has a special relationship with AmeriCorps, having been a part of President Clinton’s effort to launch the national service program in the early 90’s. Since then, we’ve supported dozens of AmeriCorps programs and worked closely with NCCC. We lead staff retreats on every NCCC campus and delivered youth development workshops to all staff. We created equity action plans to ensure campus environments were supportive of diverse youth and were the primary providers of DEI training for all corps members.

We must not, in trying to think about how we can make a big difference, ignore the small daily differences we can make which, over time, add up to big differences that we often cannot foresee. — Marian Wright Edelman

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U.S. Embassy in Serbia& Youth of JAZAS

One of our first overseas engagements came at the request of the U.S. Department of State through their International Speakers’ Program. We were asked to provide highly-experiential workshops for youth peer educators from across Europe. The International Summer School to Stop AIDS (ISSSA) was sponsored by the Belgrade NGO, Youth for Jazas. Having exceeded expectations, the State Department sponsored us for two more visits and Youth of JAZAS engaged us separately to completely re-design their school.
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USAID: American Schools & Hospitals Abroad (ASHA)

Through three leadership transitions, we worked closely with ASHA to build and strengthen their team, develop strategy and timelines, adjust staff responsibilities, manage conflict, and evaluate senior staff members through comprehensive 360 reviews. We’ve facilitated annual staff retreats, lead communications training, and coached key staff one-on-one.
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Aga Khan Foundation (AKF) & the AgencyCoordinating Body for Afghan Relief (ACB)

Contracted to develop a complete NGO certification scheme for Afghan civil society, our team initially met with a cross-section of civil society actors to create a baseline against which we could propose strategies for strengthening the sector through self-regulation; and lay the groundwork for a roadmap on how best to assess and benchmark NGOs against global best practice standards. We studied mechanisms for self-regulation and relevant quality standards for Afghan NGOs; and we analyzed international models that would resonate within the Afghan cultural context.

We also lead a study tour to Pakistan to visit the Centre for Philanthropy and the Civil Society Resource Centre (CSRC). Finally, we built support around the effort to implement best practice guidelines for NGOs and designed the architecture for a new NGO Forum, whose primary responsibility would be to certify local NGOs and help them operate efficiently and transparently.

We are all longing to go home to some place we have never been. A place half-remembered, and half-envisioned that we can only catch glimpses of from time to time. Community. Somewhere there are people to whom we can speak with passion without having the words catch in our throats. Somewhere a circle of friends will open to receive us, eyes will light up as we enter, voices will celebrate with us whenever we come into our own power. Community means strength that joins our strength to do the work that needs to be done. Arms to hold us when we falter. A circle of healing. Someplace where we can be free. — Starhawk

LET'S WORK TOGETHER

We promise: We will exceed your expectations.