FRIDAY, MAY 18, 2018

OFBYFOR ALL: Let’s Build Organizations that are OF, BY, & FOR our Communities

Today, I’m thrilled to announce the launch of a new global initiative, OFBYFOR ALL.

OFBYFOR ALL is a framework to help civic and cultural organizations become OF, BY, and FOR their communities. We’re building tools, trainings, and hopefully, a movement for a more inclusive world.

This project is led by the MAH but global in scope. We’re launching it with partners at community-based libraries, parks, museums, and cultural centers around the world. Our contexts are different. Our organizations are different. But we share a common passion for making our institutions of, by, and for our communities. We see OFBYFOR ALL as a way to share and spread that passion–and to convert it into action.

Many organizations think they have a “for” problem. They want to be for more people, or for different people, than they currently serve. I believe that in many cases, the best way to be “for” people is to become “of” and “by” them.

That’s what we did to spark transformative change at the MAH. As our staff and board became reflective OF our community, more people felt represented. As we developed programming co-created BY the community, more people felt ownership. As we focused on being welcoming FOR the community, more people wanted to participate. The result? We turned a struggling museum into a thriving community center that is of, by, and for our county.

We are building OFBYFOR ALL to share this playbook for transformation, through proven tools and strategies piloted at the MAH and other community-based organizations around the world. We are building OFBYFOR ALL to help you:

  • assess your organization’s current strengths in OF, BY, and FOR work (try it free right now)
  • articulate goals for who you most want to involve and develop a plan of action to do so
  • tackle change, access creative tools and strategies, and get support
  • track your progress as you change
  • connect with supportive colleagues at a global network of organizations who are also taking action to become of, by, and for their communities

I’m excited to share the strategies we use at the MAH to be of, by, and for our community. But I’m even more excited to learn about strategies used by innovators around the world who get involved. We see OFBYFOR ALL as itself a project that must be of, by, and for the community of cultural and civic changemakers. We’re building a global network across sectors, organizational types and sizes. I can’t wait to learn how rural librarians are doing this work. How national parks leaders are doing it. How cultural activists are doing it. How you’re doing it.

People all over the world, in many sectors, are talking about demographic change. Talking about inclusive practices. That’s great. But I want to see more organizations doing it. I want to help make that future a reality. That’s what OFBYFOR ALL is all about.

Excited? Here are three ways to get started:

  1. If you work or volunteer for an organization, try the free OFBYFOR ALL organizational self-assessment. In 5-10 minutes, you’ll get a baseline “OFBYFOR ALL score” for your current work.
  2. If you are ready to take action, sign up for an OFBYFOR ALL bootcamp. In a two-day training, we’ll help you map out a vision for community involvement and an action plan for change.
  3. If you have a network of friends who need to hear about this, share it. Share the website, or this blog post, or one of our posts on TwitterInstagram, or Facebook.
Happy International Museums Day. Let’s celebrate by getting to work to make our institutions of, by, and for all.