• Description

This article shares insights from a five-year evaluation of the Oral Health 2020 network, an effort by the DentaQuest Foundation to align and strengthen efforts in service of a national movement to improve oral health. The evaluation helped to place the foundation's journey in the context of a broader field seeking new approaches to achieve deep and sustainable social change. The foundation's approach was informed by several ideas that have gained momentum in the social sector, including collective impact, networks, systems change, and equity – all of which challenged the foundation to take a nontraditional approach that combined the roles of network hub, weaver, and backbone organization. Six years in, the network has achieved notable successes, but along the way the foundation and its partners learned numerous lessons about what it takes to build and sustain a national network. This article shares those lessons, and also considers changes in federal policy and their implications.

Foundations as Network Strategists, Weavers, and Managers: Learning From One Foundation’s Journey and Results