When Kym R. Johnson took the helm of this multi-pronged 40-year childcare organization in 2016, she brought a passion to create a more impactful organization with programs deeply responsive to the BANANAS community’s current needs. In late 2017, she determined that developing a theory of change could get the organization on a path to meaningful organizational change. With three other BANANAS leaders, she and I designed and implemented a highly participatory process with a diverse planning team comprised of a few Board members, senior staff leaders, key division heads and others.

In several sessions, the team grappled with such important questions as ‘Who is BANANAS’ core target for change–parents, childcare providers or children?” and “What does our ultimate vision of change for these people look like?”.  After I guided the team to consensus on these issues, subgroups developed several parallel “pathways of outcomes” (or results chains) that they deemed necessary to reach the ultimate vision or “destination.” The group then drafted a one-page flow chart depicting the ultimate social impact and three synergistic pathways. BANANAS Board and staff are continuing to flesh out, in more detail, their theory of change’s outcomes pathways and determining the metrics they will use to assess their progress on achieving the results for the families and childcare providers they serve.

Development & Community Services Director Tara Bartholomew said, “Eleanor worked with our team on our theory of change last year. She was amazing. She made sure that everyone’s voice was honored and heard. In the end, the staff and leadership have a product we can be proud of and stand behind.”

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