We believe that complex public health problems require creative solutions that are data-driven, practice-informed, and collaboratively-developed.
Fifth Star Collective, LLC (FSC) is a public health consulting group that works to address the impacts of health inequity through enhancing the programmatic and technical sophistication of individuals, teams, and organizations in the public health and social service fields. FSC primarily works with nonprofit and human service organizations, providing consultative services that aim to enhance the ability of these agencies to deliver outcome-driven programming that improves the physical, emotional, and social health of individuals, families, and communities. Examples of clients that FSC has supported to date include Diverse & Resilient, an LGBTQ-serving public health nonprofit in Milwaukee, Wisconsin; the North Texas Alliance to Reduce Unintended Pregnancy in Teens (Ntarupt), a capacity-building organization focused on teen sexual and reproductive health in Dallas, Texas; and Austin Coming Together, a collective impact organization seeking to improve education and economic development on the West Side of Chicago, Illinois.
Our story began with a commitment to social justice and passion for creating change.
The seeds of Fifth Star Collective were planted in 2015 when co-founders Mallory Edgar and Connor Williams met while working on a collaborative HIV prevention project through the Chicago Department of Public Health (CDPH). At the time, Mallory was working as the project coordinator for the Evaluation Center at Northwestern University’s Institute for Sexual and Gender Minority Health and Wellbeing. As part of Mallory’s role, she partnered with CDPH-funded agencies throughout Chicago that were implementing a variety of HIV prevention interventions and provided them with individualized technical assistance services focused on evaluation activities. One such project was the behavioral health intervention Connor had designed while working for Care2Prevent at the University of Chicago Medicine. As their work evolved, Connor and Mallory began to recognize the gaps that existed between community-based agencies and academic institutions. Without intentional collaborations, nonprofit organizations are often left without adequate knowledge or technical ability to deliver results-driven programming, and researchers are led to create interventions that may not be aligned with the reality of nonprofit work and its creativity, flexibility, and client-centered approach.
Mallory eventually joined Connor at Care2Prevent in 2016, where they worked side-by-side as mid-level managers of the agency’s behavioral health and outreach and prevention programs. That same year, Connor and Mallory also began offering consultative services independently: Mallory was providing support to a variety of community readiness assessment projects in the Midwest, and Connor was helping develop trauma-informed and mental health-sensitive programming for a collective impact organization on Chicago’s West Side. While they enjoyed their independent opportunities to serve as consultants to different agencies, they both felt a pull to build something more together and create a platform where their individual interests and expertise could be combined to strengthen their ability to meaningfully support a vision that they both valued.
Together, Mallory and Connor explored what a formal partnership could look like, one that reflected Mallory’s close appreciation for details and technical savvy, while also highlighting Connor’s “big picture” approach to program design and implementation. It became clear that any true collaboration between them would have to closely integrate the best practices they learned as program workers with the most up-to-date public health evidence base. With these thoughts in mind and a common mission identified, Mallory and Connor established FSC as a business entity in early 2018.