Networks Synergize Mission Impact:

Affordable Housing in Egypt

“The basket with two handles is meant to be carried by two.” Egyptian Proverb

Case Summary

Network leaders recognize that wicked problems confound any single organization. An Egyptian visionary cultivated trust among 25 community organizations that collaborated to build over 15,000 homes in under 10 years. Fully 99.7% of participating families repaid revolving loans on time, most from $2 per day incomes. Harvard Business School researchers concluded that because “most social issues dwarf even the most well-resourced, well-managed nonprofit… it is wrongheaded for nonprofit leaders simply to build their organizations. Instead, they must focus on their mission, not their organization; on trust, not control; and on being a node, not a hub.”

Presentation Video

Values-aligned networks deliver transformational outcomes. David Haskell, Dreams InDeed President and CEO, illustrates four network synergy principles: shared dreams, aligned values, participatory weave, and servant leaders. Haskell presented this case at Harvard, Stanford, Berkeley, Duke, American University of Beirut, and to Social Venture Partners, Social Enterprise Alliance, and Mennonite Economic Development Associates.

Additional Case Assets

This presentation outlines four network synergy principles: shared dreams, aligned values, participatory weave, and servant leaders.  David Haskell presented this case at Harvard, Stanford, Berkeley, Duke, American University of Beirut, and to Grantmakers for Effective Organizations, Monitor Institute, Social Venture Partners, Social Enterprise Alliance, and Mennonite Economic Development Associates.

Read the remarkable story of an unlikely Egyptian visionary with a dream who wove a network with 25 aligned organizations to build 15,000 decent homes in under 10 years with two-dollar-a-day families.

Business professors Wei-Skillern and Marciano argue that small networked nonprofits can achieve far more mission impact by collaborating with aligned partners than by growing their organizations.

Harvard researchers Wei-Skillern and Herman documented a field case in Egypt that illustrates how network leadership harnessed trust to deliver synergistic mission impact against the odds.

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We’ve got some great news to share from the Haskells!  

 However, before we jump into that, allow us to introduce ourselves as the chairs of the US and Swiss boards of directors for Dreams InDeed. 

I am
Rick Williamson, US board chair.  As a clinical psychologist, I specialize in trauma recovery and strengthening individuals and communities against stress impact. I prepare humanitarians and responders worldwide to serve effectively in harm’s way.  Over my fifteen years in this field, I’ve recognized the essential role of those special persons in every community who embrace and build up their most affected neighbors. 

I serve with Dreams InDeed not only because we engage in the world’s hard places, but we also aim to strengthen the “insider” for the truly transformative impact that the world so desperately needs. I am honored to serve along with each of you in support of the Dreams InDeed mission.

And, I am
Joe Campbell, Swiss board chair.  As a mediator in civil and political disputes, I contributed to peaceful resolution of the troubles in my home country of Northern Ireland, leading to the Good Friday Agreement.  I also mediated in Nepal alongside politicians, community activists, and church leaders in the search for a just and lasting peace. In both, I supported Dreamers and have often been a Dreamer myself. 


I know what it means to be affirmed and encouraged by outsiders who make it their business to be informed enablers.  That sensitive participation fosters hope amidst despair.  It is my honour to join in the crucial work of Dreams InDeed.  Together with you, I will do all I can to nurture sparks of hope into lights of joy.

Now, here is the news we just received from David and Janice in the Middle East:


Dear Rick and Joe, 


Thank you for your faithful and effective servant leadership as our US and Swiss board chairs.  We were challenged by the wisdom and faith of both boards setting such ambitious goals this year.  As our fiscal year gets underway now in July, we’re excited that strategic doors of opportunity are swinging open on every aim we agreed together!  


Goal: equip exemplary dreamer cases in the Middle East, Southeast Asia, and East Africa.  Progress: despite escalating violence, dreamers are persevering with six initiatives among the hardest countries of the worldwide Fragile States Index.  This year, we’ll sustain both Dreams InDeed’s unprecedented regional registration and our continuing Jordan residency to strengthen these dreamers, guided by Janice.


Goal: research parable communications to engage closed minds via both word and deed.  Progress: The University of Oxford has approved David for doctoral field research on The Pedagogy of Parable.  To develop this Dreams InDeed training curriculum, David will shuttle between research in Oxford and case work on the ground in the Middle East.


Goal: research publishable Middle East cases on the transformation of pluralist conflict.  Progress: an exemplary Lebanese visionary has volunteered his civil society, public service, and business networks for rigorous field research.  Plus two Oxford professors, experts in values education and intercultural dialogue, will supervise the fieldwork.  


Goal: engage next-generation prospects to serve dreamers in hard places worldwide.  Progress: Kellogg College, with Oxford’s greatest number and diversity of international graduate students, has granted David membership.  Adjacent to Kellogg, Dreams InDeed has secured an operating base in Oxford for us to host and befriend global candidates.


Goal: expand our thought leader networks for aligned advisors and European board members.  Progress: upon review of David’s Pedagogy of Parable research proposal, six professors immediately volunteered their expertise in international development, political science, public policy, economics, leadership science, and character cultivation.



On behalf of the boards of directors of Dreams InDeed, we thank you again for journeying with us on our mission to strengthen dreamers in hard places so the poor thrive as God intended. We look forward to your continuing participation as we accelerate toward our shared vision: “a light in every hard place in our generation.”