The Power of Networking

Jamie Rasberry
Policy Coordinator
MS Alliance

Helen Keller said, “Alone, we can do so little. Together, we can do so much.” There is a certain power that we all have at our disposal if we use it appropriately – the power of networking. The more people you know, the greater opportunity you have to share whatever message you want to get out to the world, and the greater influence you have to see change take place in systems that make our communities stronger.

Our affinity groups include rather than exclude. They offer a space for nonprofits and philanthropies to come together and learn from each other and foster collaboration to impact change in systems and policy. Through the relationships and networks members have built within our affinity groups, we can identify issues and work alongside each other, rather than apart from each other, to make these changes.

In 2020, the Alliance was instrumental in reducing the inequities created by the “digital divide,” the gap between those who had access to digital technology and those who did not.

Along with the Mississippi Department of Education, The Alliance served as a key champion and contributor to the Mississippi Connects initiative. Because the Education Affinity Group network was already functioning, we could move forward to help get students and families online.

The Alliance, in conjunction with the Barksdale Reading Institute, developed a cost model and framework to drive comprehensive, equity-based planning and funding conversations and was a key participant in meetings with MDE, legislators, and the Lt. Governor’s team resulting in a funding mandate for getting over 400,000 devices in the hands of students across the state. Mississippi deployed the most comprehensive 1:1 technology project in the history of the United States with a driving focus on equity for all students in public schools.

This is what that power looks like.  Bringing people together to problem solve a specific issue that results in success for all. 

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