The System exChange
The System exChange provides powerful tips and ideas for transforming your local community.
The last issue of the System exChange introduced photovoice and provided a series of tools and resources to help bring resident voice into local efforts. Click here for past issues.

This week's System exChange describes how to launch a local resident coalition to help promote community change.
Engage Diverse Perspectives:
Launching a Resident Coalition
A resident coalition is a group of local residents who work together to address issues affecting their lives, such as keeping their families healthy and safe and having a job to keep food on the table.

Resident coalitions can help bring about community change in many ways - both independently and/or in partnership with local organizations or collaborative groups. 

For example, resident coalitions can:
  • understand needs in the community and why they are happening
  • strategize what to do about these issues
  • take action
  • learn about whether those actions are starting to make a difference to inform next steps

Resident coalitions can also influence community decision-making, for example by helping local organizations decide which programs to launch or which staff to hire.
Why are resident coalitions so important to community change?

Residents have experience with what’s working and not working in the community system – this knowledge is crucial for designing solutions that work.

Residents coalitions can take actions to impact the community in ways organizations simply can’t. This is essential for addressing complex community problems like health equity. 

Resident coalitions members can also become a strong network of local leaders, and this can help to sustain change across the community.
ABLe case study of a resident coalition launched in North Carolina to improve children's health and wellbeing.
How to develop and recruit for a resident action team to help pursue your Shared Vision. 

 How do you develop a resident coalition?

Check out this series of short videos describing how to launch and sustain a resident coalition.

If you find this publication useful, forward to your colleagues and encourage them to subscribe !

Want access to more information about community transformation? Check out the Michigan CHIR Learning website ! This website includes information, tools, and resources to help support local collaborative efforts.
April 2020
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  • Foster-Fishman, P. G., Watson, E. R. (2010). Action research as systems change. In H.E. Fitzgerald, D.L. Zimmerman, C. Burack, & S.Seifer (eds.) Handbook of Engaged Scholarship: The Contemporary Landscape. Volume Two: Community-Campus Partnerships. East Lansing, Michigan State University Press.
  • Foster-Fishman, P. G., Law, K. M., Lichty, L. F., & Aoun, C. (2010). Youth ReACT for social change: A method for youth participatory action research. American journal of community psychology, 46(1-2), 67-83.
  • Foster-Fishman, P., & Watson, E. (2018). Creating habits for inclusive change. The Foundation Review10(4), 8.
  • Boston’s Children’s Hospital (2013) Families as Advocates and Leaders. Retrieved from