Learning Through Challenges

In our experience, the development and maintenance of community resilience coalitions is not an easy task.
Throughout the Los Angeles County Community Disaster Resilience (LACCDR) project, we encountered bumps in
the road as we strove to integrate partners and successfully achieve community goals. Here we share
lessons learned during our five-year multi-agency collaboration.

Rand Corporation image of 4 levers of community resilience

Credit: RAND Corporation created the eight levers of resilience and designed this image. The original has been changed to circle education, engagement, self-sufficiency and partnership as a point of emphasis.

Organizational Leadership

In the early phase one of our key leadership accomplishments was figuring out an operational structure for working with communities, selecting communities for participation, and determining how we were going to use the four levers of community resilience—education, engagement, community self-sufficiency, and partnerships—as our conceptual framework. More>

How Do We Gain Buy-in from Partners?

As one member of the project put it during a debriefing interview, “If you want something to outlast your money – and your involvement – you have to be really thoughtful about how you gain the buy-in of from people.” To operationalize this concept, our solution involved ensuring an alignment of goals and finding agreement on the best approach to meet those goals. This was achieved by listening to the interests and needs of partners. More>

Credit: Yurtville table top exercise conducted by ISTS. Photo used with permission.

Round table brainstorming

How Do We Get Coalitions to Focus on Vulnerable Populations?

Identifying the right people to bring to the table and building relationships is a process that takes time. Our solution was to get people to talk about their community in a facilitative manner, across lines of language, race, or other community divisions. Our goal was to encourage all voices in decision-making. More>

How Do We Support Implementation?

The most important lesson that surfaced from the LACCDR process is that you cannot come in with an agenda to the community. You have to listen to the community and, if you listen, people will participate. “You can always tie in emergency preparedness later on if that’s your goal but you have to listen to people first,” offered our focus group. More>

Participants of LACCDR

Credit: Los Angeles County Community Disaster Resilience Project.