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NEW: Federal Government Adopts Vital Conditions Framework

Updated: Apr 4

The U.S. Department of Health and Human services recently launched the Federal Plan for Equitable Long-Term Recovery and Resilience (ELTRR), an actionable, whole-of-government approach to equitably strengthen resilience and well-being in our Nation. It’s notable that there is alignment across dozens of departments, agencies, and institutes to enhance well-being and justice across the United States.

The Plan lays out a government-wide approach for federal agencies to cooperatively strengthen the conditions necessary for improving individual and community resilience and well-being nationwide.

The release of the Federal Plan offers an opportunity for stewards across the country to rethink how they collaborate with government agencies. Now is the time to reach out to your local, state, and federal partners to explore new ways of working and learning together.

The Federal Plan for ELTRR calls for transformational systemic change in the federal government through the following principles:

  • Empower communities to engage in equitable, self-driven discussions of needs and solutions

  • Support equitable access to federal support and identify collaborative opportunities in partnership with communities using trauma-informed approaches and healing processes

  • Redesign existing activities and develop new actions to address gaps and maximize outcomes

  • Sustain cross-agency and cross-department collaborations and advancements that facilitate continuous investment and measurement of change

"This plan represents a sea change for how federal agencies work collaboratively and in partnership with civil society to truly serve communities,” said Rippel Foundation President and CEO Becky Payne, who served as the plan lead during her time in the federal government.

The Federal Plan Adopts the Seven Vital Conditions Framework

The Federal Plan leverages the Vital Conditions for Health and Well-Being as the guiding framework. The interagency plan was designed from its inception to be a governmental counterpart to the Thriving Together Springboard, in which more than one hundred contributors (including IP3!) came together at the beginning of COVID lockdowns to show how unjust loss could be converted into equitable renewal through investments in the Vital Conditions for Health and Well-Being.

The vital conditions identify factors that people depend on everyday to reach their full potential. The framework has roots in community and is centered on the element of “belonging and civic muscle.” That’s because civic engagement is key to building community capacity and because local, self-driven, tailored solutions are critical to addressing local needs—and ultimately to fostering community leadership to build an equitable, thriving future. 

What the Federal Plan Means for Our Collective Work

The Plan’s recommendations arose from years of persistent effort by hundreds of professionals who work in federal agencies, spanning Republican and Democratic administrations. Their desire to break from business-as-usual is inspiring but fragile. Their aspirations must be converted into action; and the rest of us—all of us who work outside of government—must do our part to make the most of this moment for aligned action.

The Plan represents widespread adoption of a new approach to community change work—one that adopts the Seven Vital Conditions framework, emphasizes shared stewardship and belonging & civic muscle, and is built for multi-sector collaboration, and values multi-solving—an approach that can lead to all people and places thriving with no exceptions.

At IP3, our work for over a decade has centered on collective action and community-informed solutions to advance equitable well-being. As a growing cadre of organizations now explicitly focus on leveraging the vital conditions, they report increased ease with which all community partners can see themselves in—and step into—collaborative work to advance equitable well-being. Many of these organizations are IP3 partners—if you’re interested in learning more about how to make the most of the Federal Plan and adopting the Vital Conditions framework, please reach out to us to discuss opportunities for alignment!

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