The Full Frame Initiative has new opportunities to join our amazing team! We are looking for a new Human Resources Manager and an Administrative Assistant in our Greenfield office, and a Training & Capacity Building Manager and a Community Engagement & Capacity Building Manager in Missouri. Work with us to increase access to wellbeing to break cycles of poverty and violence. Are you, or do you know, someone who thrives in a fast-paced environment, is passionate about social change and eager to grow with a growing organization? Apply now or share widely with your networks! Learn more on the Jobs & Internships page.
For me and perhaps for you, Martin Luther King Jr. Day was particularly relevant, resonant and poignant this year. In the face of forces and messages that can erode people’s access to wellbeing, we’re all called on to take peaceful action to hold the line. Many of us are joining larger conversations, groups, events and public statements, and there is an energy around many of these that is positive and infectious. Some of us are reclaiming our activist voices, and others, like my kids, are just discovering theirs for the first time. I find myself newly hopeful but (I think) not naive.
Yesterday, as news of activist voices in protests, counter-protests and marches dominated, I took a moment to reflect on where so much of access to wellbeing is enhanced or blocked: in seemingly small, invisible actions that are important and meaningful that have nothing to do with political party or polarities.
As an imperfect person, some of these are harder for me to do consistently than I like to admit, which is exactly why I need to engage in them: I need to own where my deep, fierce commitment to access to wellbeing isn’t always matching up to my actions. Hard work. I’d love your company.
So here are my first two commitments for January:
1) Have a conversation with someone who sees the world very differently from how I see it, do less than half the talking, and really listen for how that person’s perspective makes sense even if I disagree.
Why this increases access to wellbeing: Our drive for social connectedness to others is strong, as is our related need to feel we belong. But this drive can create echo-chambers and bubbles, and that fuels division.
2) In settings and situations where I feel safe as a straight, white, middle-class woman, taking a moment to try to identify whether there are things occurring that might make someone else feel less safe, and remedying those as much as possible, even if that pushes me to be less comfortable.
Why this increases access to wellbeing: Safety is a combination of external situations and our personal perspectives and histories. What is safe for one person many not feel or be safe for another person.
The response to my earlier post, Why It’s Time for a National Right to Wellbeing, was inspiring and galvanizing, and reaffirmed FFI’s deep belief that it is, indeed, the time for a right to wellbeing. So I invite you to join me in taking your own first steps in the small spaces of individual interactions in addition to whatever actions you’re taking in a larger sphere. FFI is working on simple ways to collect and disseminate actions people across the country are taking to build access to wellbeing; in the meantime, please feel free to share by email, Twitter (tag @FullFrameInitv and we’ll retweet it!) or on Facebook (@FullFrameInitiative).
You can also help seed a national right to wellbeing movement by sharing Why It’s Time for a National Right to Wellbeing with your friends, colleagues, allies, and those with whom you disagree, too. And please share with me resonant posts, organizations and work.
FFI is pivoting quickly to steer into this work more intentionally and explicitly. We all need to keep calling for change, and being the change we want to make in this world.
I look forward to hearing from you again.
Too often, we treat wellbeing as something that’s nice to have. An extra.
It’s not: wellbeing is vital. It’s what we’re all hardwired for.
When it’s treated as an extra, we’re sicker, lonelier, less safe. Our families fare worse, too.
When it’s taken seriously—when systems, services and communities enable us to access wellbeing and to follow our inner drive for wellbeing—we have the fundamental ingredients for health and hope.
That access to wellbeing requires infrastructure. Not roads and bridges, but the places and spaces that support social connections and belonging; where the color of a young person’s skin or the language in which a parent prays for a child doesn’t increase or decrease their safety; where people actually can be agents in shaping their destinies, and more. This is the infrastructure of wellbeing.
The Full Frame Initiative is dedicated to increasing access to wellbeing for the people and families who have been struggling at the margins, often for years or generations. People who are caught in systems designed to solve specific problems that, in reality, often create new roadblocks to wellbeing, furthering downward spirals instead of helping people break cycles of poverty, violence, trauma and oppression.
Imagine a young mother mandated to attend parenting groups that conflict with her job, so she loses her job and then she can’t afford home heating oil in the winter. Her kids get sick when she tries to heat the house by turning the stove on all day, and the spiral continues.
This was never the intent of the parenting class mandate, but it is the impact when we don’t have the required infrastructure to support real change and progress.
Right now, more and more people in America feel the onramps to wellbeing are blocked or riddled with potholes, and their attempts to move forward only create more problems and less wellbeing.
We—together—can fix this: we can build a national wellbeing infrastructure so that everyone has equal opportunity for wellbeing, including those who are now the most marginalized. For that young mom, this means that instead of a mandated parenting class that creates more harms for her and her family, she is supported in finding a way forward that is meaningful and sustainable for her.
For FFI, this means continuing our groundbreaking work with government systems, nonprofits and communities that seek to transform themselves to be more effective, efficient and aligned with what people need and crave.
We can’t do it alone. It takes allies and advocates, champions and friends.
And it takes funding.
FFI’s work is more urgently needed and more relevant than ever. If you believe that wellbeing is essential, please give generously to pave the potholes and remove the roadblocks so that everyone has equal access to wellbeing.
Katya Fels Smyth
Founder & CEO
The presidential election surfaced fissures that carve deep into the ideal of a common identity of America.
We at FFI are chilled, frustrated and outraged by the illumination of hate and base instincts of division and intimidation, and we are scared for and with each other and all the people across our country who are less safe than they were two weeks ago. We stand in solidarity with the many people writing and speaking about these real fears.
We are committed to being part of not just something that restores, but a movement that actually moves us all forward.
And we believe that an essential piece of the puzzle is wellbeing: a set of core needs and experiences we universally seek, in combination, and that we universally need for health and hope.
We all seek to be in relationships where we get and give value, to feel a sense of belonging to things bigger than we are; we need to know that core parts of our identity don’t expose us to danger or hatred; we need to know there are rhythms in our days and stability we can count on; we need to see that our actions and our work matter: that we have impact and can shape our future, our relationships, our environment; we need to be able to meet our and our children’s needs for food, clothing, shelter, school, health care, and more without shame or danger. And we all seek progress for ourselves and our loved ones, but in ways that don’t create havoc in other parts of our life.
These universal needs bind us all. Far from a nice extra, wellbeing is vital.
What the election surfaced is that across the country, and far more pervasively than many otherwise knew, people feel their wellbeing is thwarted and threatened. One possible response is to keep turning on each other and on the systems and institutions that should protect us, but that so many Americans no longer trust.
FFI rejects this, and we believe that many of you do, too. It’s a zero sum game if one person’s wellbeing is only increased when someone else’s is diminished.
The other possibility is actually a responsibility.
We all have a responsibility to steer into the magnificent and sometimes disquieting truth that we are more alike than we are different—not to excuse hate, vengeance, intimidation and oppression, but instead to address it head on and disarm it. To see each other in the full frame of our lives and align our interactions, practices, policies and institutions with what is required to provide equitable access to wellbeing. To create a space where one person’s wellbeing enhances another’s—not a zero sum game, but an exponentially more powerful and positive one. To leverage this moment not to get us back to where we were two weeks ago, but to really increase access for everyone, particularly those who grapple with poverty, violence, trauma and oppression.
FFI’s purpose is more relevant than ever. We will continue to support change that brings a wellbeing orientation to organizations, systems and communities, and we will accelerate our work to, in coalition and collaboration, assert a national right to wellbeing.
We cannot and must not do this alone. If you believe that we all have a right to wellbeing, please be in touch as we, together, shape a bright, urgently needed way forward.
FFI is experiencing increased demand for our work around the country, so we are again growing our team to support, shape and enhance our purpose. We are excited to announce four new open opportunities to join us and become part of a high impact social change organization that is working to increase access to wellbeing.
The open positions are Administrative Assistant, HR Generalist and two Training and Capacity Building Managers. Find out more and read the full job descriptions here!
The hunt is on for passionate, dedicated new talent to add to our already amazing team! Deadline to apply is May 30.
Our first newsletter in 2016 highlights what happens when you start from what’s going well in order to support lasting community transformation. Read it here to learn about our new toolkit for philanthropy, find exciting updates about the project in California, meet our newest superstar team members and more!
We are delighted to announce the release of SHIFT: FROM SHORT-TERM CHANGE TO LASTING WELLBEING THROUGH THE FULL FRAME APPROACH A toolkit to help the philanthropic community support transformative practice.
This toolkit was developed for the philanthropic community and other stakeholders interested in supporting long-term, sustainable change for people living at the intersection of poverty, violence, trauma and oppression.
An increasing number of organizations are moving beyond short-term fixes to support wellbeing by applying the Full Frame Approach. The Full Frame Approach is a way of working with people facing multiple challenges that supports them in the full frame of their lives, recognizing that people who face complex problems need support as multi-faceted as the lives they lead. Through the Full Frame Approach, programs attend to the Five Domains of Wellbeing—social connectedness, safety, stability, mastery and meaningful access to relevant resources—while minimizing the tradeoffs that come with change.
By focusing on whole people and wellbeing—not discrete problems—programs that take the Full Frame Approach are able to support deep and lasting change, even for people and families who have been previously involved in systems and services for years.
- Learn more about the Full Frame Approach, and how it supports wellbeing and lasting change
- Identify Full Frame Approach indicators in practice, through case examples
- Find concrete tips and actionable steps for supporting the Full Frame Approach
- Reference sample grant guidelines, application questions and grantee reports
FFI created this resource through a collaborative effort with our partners in philanthropy and with four exemplary community-based nonprofit organizations in Greater Boston—Julie’s Family Learning Program (South Boston), On The Rise (Cambridge), REACH Beyond Domestic Violence (Waltham) and The Salasin Center of Western Massachusetts Training Consortium (Greenfield).
The goal of the toolkit is to inspire a meaningful transformation in the way in which human service programs operate and are supported so that many more people and communities facing multiple challenges can break cycles of poverty, violence, trauma and oppression. We hope you find it thought-provoking and inspiring in our shared goal to successfully address the entrenched social problems that prevent people living at the margins from achieving their full potential and wellbeing.
We welcome your feedback on the toolkit and invite you to continue the conversation with the Full Frame Initiative by sharing your insights, expertise and questions. Let us know your thoughts and reactions, and how you plan to use this toolkit to support this transformative practice.
For more information, please contact:
Our latest newsletter showcases the ways in which our partners are breaking down silos, pushing beyond organizational boundaries and unleashing the potential for change, all to increase access to wellbeing for people living at the intersection of poverty, trauma, violence and oppression. Read it here to learn more, catch our latest blog post, meet new faces and find out who’s spreading the word!
Our latest newsletter focuses on the ways our partners are using the Five Domains of Wellbeing framework to make change happen in systems, programs and communities. Read it here to learn more, catch our latest blog post, and meet our newest team member, plus other exciting updates!