Community Health Collaborative Toolkit

Welcome to The Community Health Collaborative (CHC) Toolkit!

This toolkit is a free resource that aims to assist you as you work towards building and sustaining a Community Health Collaborative. At It’s Time Texas, we consider a CHC to be a group of community members, leaders, or organizations working together to address the health needs in their community. We believe that CHCs play a key role in creating a culture that values and uplifts health for all members of a community and has the ability to make lasting change.

In this toolkit you will find a wide variety of resources, tools, best practices, and case studies that will guide your Community Health Collaborative at every stage of our CHC Framework.

Our Build Healthier team is here to support you and your collaborative through this process. Along with this toolkit, we provide one-on-one consulting support and host Community Lab, a peer-to-peer, web-based forum providing free, interactive training and support to Community Health Collaboratives throughout Texas.

Community Health Collaborative Timeline

Collaboratives in this stage

We have created this timeline to outline the key characteristics of collaboratives in different stages of development. While every CHC is unique in their own way, we have found there are several key characteristics that put CHCs in the Initiating, Emerging, or Established stage.

Keep in mind that these stages are a guideline based on our research and the experiences of the collaboratives we have worked with. Many factors can impact the amount of time it takes a collaborative to transition from one stage to the next:

  • A leader who inspires trust, instills confidence, is inclusive, and adept at managing conflict
  • Funding and/or staffing provided by the initiating organization
  • Membership with previous experience collaborating
  • Clear definition of roles and responsibilities
  • Frequent communication, flexibility, and adaptability

Collaboratives lacking some of these characteristics can still be successful; however, transition from one stage to another may take a little more time.

Interested in learning the phase your CHC is currently in? Fill out our quiz below to learn more.

Tools & Resources

As you explore each focus area, in addition to the timelines, you will also find links to helpful tools and resources. Some of these tools and resources apply more broadly to multiple focus areas or have been widely requested. These are also included here.

To request assistance with identifying additional resources or to submit a resource your collaborative has found to be helpful, email Kara Prior at


The Framework Explained

Community Health Collaborative Framework

Along with our Timeline, we have created the Community Health Collaborative Framework. This Framework is designed to provide a simple ‘at-a-glance’ overview of the process your CHC can expect to implement when getting started or growing stronger. As with anything that is cyclical in nature, you have to start somewhere. But once you begin, each focus area informs the next in one continuous loop, as demonstrated in the model below.

As you explore each focus area you will also find links to helpful tools, resources, and case studies. Some of these tools and resources apply more broadly to multiple focus areas or have been widely requested

Use the tabs below to read a brief description of each focus area in the Framework. More detailed information, as well as the corresponding timeline and tools and resources, can be found by clicking the “Learn More” button for each focus area.



This focus area is all about assembling your team and creating a positive working process. It is located in the center of the framework because it both lays the foundation for the rest of your collaborative’s work and guides it as your collaborative continues to grow and change. Having a dynamic, well-rounded team and a strong organizational structure are key to your success.

Click Here To Learn More


Focus Area: Develop

Before any work is started, we have to assemble a team and create a working process. We included this topic in the center of our framework because it lays the foundation for your work and guides your collaborative as you continue to grow. There are three things you should consider for this topic: Assembling Your Team, Identifying a Shared Vision, and Developing an Organizational Structure.



Focus Area: Define

Understanding what you mean by ‘community’ and determining who is included in your target audience are important steps when trying to build a healthy community. Take time to get to know those who represent your community, what needs are present, and what resources are already available to the public.



Focus Area: Prioritize

It’s not uncommon to feel overwhelmed by the depth of needs uncovered by a community needs assessment or community feedback. Remember, you can’t do everything at once. Keeping your vision in mind as you prioritize which needs to address first will help you maintain focus and progress towards your goals. No matter how big or small the goal is, it is important that it has a focus on making change at one or more of these levels- policies, systems, and environments (PSE).

By taking a policy, systems, and environmental change approach, your CHC can go beyond programming and make lasting and sustainable changes to the structures in which we work, live, and play.



Focus Area: Plan

Now that you understand your community’s needs, assets and barriers, and have set your goal, it’s time to think through a plan. Proper planning is essential to the success of your CHCs work.


Implement and Monitor

Focus Area: Implement and Monitor

Some of the most exciting work your collaborative will do happens at this stage. This is where the action takes place. The preparations you have completed in the previous focus areas create a foundation for the successful implementation of your plan

Implement and Monitor

Evaluate, Celebrate, Sustain

Focus Area: Evaluate, Celebrate, Sustain

Evaluation, Celebration, and Sustainability are ongoing processes that need to be considered as you set goals, create your action plan, and implement that plan.

Evaluate, Celebrate, Sustain

Additional Questions?

We hope that you find this toolkit to be helpful to your collaborative and the work you are doing. As your collaborative continues to grow and evolve make sure to make your way back through the Framework to help sustain your work.

If you have any questions or concerns on building and sustaining your CHC or would like additional resources feel free to reach out to our Build Healthier Team here.