United Way Leads Monterey, CA in Collaborative Approach to Community Building

The answers weren’t obvious but came out as the community rallied around the issues. Public- and private-sector leaders came together to look at problems from all angles. They focused the community on finding solutions. They implemented long-term, multifaceted strategies that attacked the problems on many fronts. – Kent Hansen, United Way Monterey County Board Chair

blogimage_ImpactMontereyCounyIn Monterey County, California, a collaborative initiative among non-profit organizations, businesses, and public agencies is uniting residents to determine priorities for improving life in the community.

Through a series of surveys and “community conversations,” Impact Monterey County will “listen to the hopes and aspirations of our county’s diverse residents and identify the most effective ways to improve the quality of life here in Monterey County” said Kent Hansen, Board Chair of United Way Montery County in announcing the program.

The information gathered will define the “common agenda for our county’s priorities, which will drive where we focus our resources to achieve those goals,” according to the United Way. Impact Monterey County hopes that 3,000 to 4,000 people will take the survey and that another 400 to 800 people will participate in “community conversations,” which involve five to 10 people discussing these issues for 90 minutes.

With its survey and “community conversations,” Impact Monterey County partners are engaging in a process The Intersector Project Toollkit refers to as Build a Common Fact Base — the development of consensus among collaboration partners as to what facts relating to the issue to be addressed by the collaboration are most relevant to its efforts. Joint recognition of what data is relevant to the collaboration allows participants to determine how best to proceed. In this case, Impact Montery County is gathering not only data on the education, economic stability, and health of its residents, but also their ideas for how to improve these areas in their community.

Funded through a $300,000 grant from Capital One, Impact Monterey County plans to gather data through the end of October and then begin a process of developing its “common agenda” in areas like health care, jobs, seniors, literacy, drug and alcohol abuse, crime, and more through town hall meetings in November and community goal setting in February and March.