Theory of Change

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What’s a Theory of Change?

A Theory of Change defines an organization’s trajectory.* It’s more detailed than a mission or vision statement, yet higher-level than a typical strategic plan. Our Theory of Change includes multiple elements, which together paint the picture of who we are, what we want, and how we plan to get there.

Rainbow Street uses our Theory of Change as a way to introduce ourselves. Internally, it helps us remain focused and true to our intended impacts.

The ideas in this document were developed by Rainbow Street field volunteers from throughout the Middle East and North Africa during a team summit in May 2019. The Board of Directors then synthesized the results of that summit during their own retreat in California the following month. A collaborative editing process produced this final product.

The constituent parts are: Issue, Focus, Strategies, Commitments, Anticipated Change, and Values. While the Theory of Change speaks for itself, below are concise descriptions of the purpose of each individual element.


The conditions we aim to change.


The people among whom we will focus our efforts and resources.

Organizational Strategies

Our own cross-cutting approach to this work. Some are descriptive. Others are aspirational. Combined, they make us unique.


The obligations to which we hold ourselves.

Anticipated Changes

What we want: Observable changes that indicate that the issue is being solved in collaboration with a diversity of organizations, movements, and approaches.


Fundamental beliefs that undergird all we do.