Enhancing Communication & Connections, by Kim E. Anderson and Tahmida Shamsuddin
Enhancing Communication &Connections: Building the Foundation for a Communitys Engagement & Empowerment Kim Anderson, CEO, Families FirstTahmida Shamsuddin, Director – Neighborhood Nexus, The Community Foundation for Greater Atlanta
The Community Foundation for Greater Atlanta• One of the nation’s top 25 community foundations • Assets: Estimated at $755 million • Gifts: $104 million given to The Community Foundation in gifts to new and existing funds in 2012 • Grantmaking: $95 million distributed to approximately 2,000 nonprofit and faith-based organizations• Vision To be the most trusted resource for growing philanthropy to improve communities throughout the Atlanta region.• Mission The Community Foundation for Greater Atlanta strengthens our region by providing quality services to donors and innovative leadership on community issues.
Goals• Engage philanthropists Provide personalized philanthropic services to individuals and families interested in making a long-term, positive impact in the community through their giving.• Strengthen the region’s nonprofits Support nonprofits through grants and educational opportunities, strengthening their ability to make an impact on critical issues in the region.• Advance public will Lead and participate in collaborative efforts to provide solutions to community problems, often partnering with other funders, nonprofits and individual donors.• Practice organizational excellence Remain a trusted steward of a long-term charitable resource that for more than 60 years has served donors and benefited nonprofits and communities. Values: learning, leadership and transparency Connect passion with purpose.
Community Leadership• Goals 2 and 3 both lead to Community Leadership programs • Neighborhood Fund • 20 years of grassroots grant making • Connecting people, changing communities • Neighborhood Nexus • Online community information system that empowers Metro Atlantans to make information- based decisions
Neighborhood Fund• 20 Years of Small Grants for Neighborhoods • 665 Grants Allocated • 17 Counties in which Grants Have Been Made • $2.7 million Total of Monetary Awards• 225 Number of Residents Receiving Leadership Training
Neighborhood Nexus• The Neighborhood Nexus database houses 500 categories of demographic indicators – and is growing.• Data from the U.S. Census is cross-referenced with state information from sources such as the Department of Education and Department of Public Health• Data is aggregated in “quality of life” categories that initially include health, wealth, and wisdom (education) that are relevant to community decision- makers.• The data is accessible to anyone through the Neighborhood Nexus website (NeighborhoodNexus.org) 24/7 and provides community analytics through tools such as “Weave” and mapping that allow the data to be sorted down to the neighborhood (census track) level.• Neighborhood Nexus reverses the relationship of time looking for data versus analyzing it so that the preponderance of time can be used for analysis, where good decisions are made.
Two Sides of the Story• Neighborhood Nexus • Neighborhood Corner • A data-heavy site • Combines pictures, • New data coming online videos, documents with all the time hard data • Data doesnt always tell • Allows other side of the the whole story story to be told Neighborhoods need information about themselves to determine their interests and take innovative action. Need for new tools: User friendly process to identify and address neighborhood challenges and assets in a creative and dynamic way. 8
Knight Foundation Support• Two great tools • Community Information Challenge Grant to build Neighborhood Corner, a web platform for communities to post blogs, videos and other qualitative information on the Neighborhood Nexus website. • Community Information Toolkit
Three Step Process• Community Information Toolkit is the community engagement process• Neighborhood Nexus is the data collection site communities will use during the engagement process• Neighborhood Corner is the space where the information gathered will be hosted on a website
Five Pilot Communities• NPU-V/Eco-Action group, championed by Annie E. Casey Foundation’s Atlanta Civic Site• Fayette County, championed by Fayette FACTOR (Fayette Alliance Coordinating Teamwork, Outreach and Resources)• Adamsville (NPU-H), championed by Adamsville Business & Community Partnerships (ABC Partnership)• Edgewood community, championed by Families First (Organized Neighbors of Edgewood)• Norcross Mobile Home community (Latino group) championed by Families First
Incentives for the Communities• Up to $2,500 (for stipends, food, materials, honorariums, etc)• Community Information Toolkit outputs (visioning plan; scorecard, implementation strategy; action plan that can be used for fundraising)• Training and community coaching in using the website and data for decision making• Invitation to the 2012 Neighborhood Summit to present the community’s experience and benefits of participating in Neighborhood Corner• Exposure through Neighborhood Nexus marketing and community outreach
Anticipated Outcome• Residents post stories, pictures and videos about neighborhood conditions, assets• Neighborhoods design plans to take concrete action on key issues• Neighborhoods discuss ideas and information and learn from one another about innovative strategies for change
Success Measure• 25 total posts from 5 pilot communities• 25 additional posts from outside the pilot communities• 3 out of the 5 pilot communities will demonstrate progress toward the goals they established for themselves• 200+ hits per month to the Neighborhood Corner website since the launch• 100+ additions to the newsletter distribution list
MISSION AND VISION• Mission: “To ensure the success of children in jeopardy by empowering families”• Vision: “A community where all children and families flourish.” • Served 38,040 in FY 2011-2012
Purpose and impact“We work to create communities where all children have theopportunity to succeed, flourish and give back.”
OUR SOLUTIONS Our solutions focus on three impact areasnecessary for child well-being and family self- sufficiency. Child & Youth Healthy Families Family Permanency & Relationships Sustainability & • Adoption • Counseling, Empowerment • Post Adoption Connections and • Transitional and Services Support Supporttive Housing • Foster Care • Effective and • Community Support • Residential Living Nurturing Parenting • Ways to Work • Permanency • Healthy Babies, Connections Healthy Moms • School Success
PRIORITY 1 Lead a Cultural Transformation to Galvanize Community Responsibility for All ChildrenTo raise & solidify the village we must re-imaginerelationships within communities, engage immobilizedpeople, forging new networks generating a positiveimpact in peoples’ lives.
TOOLKITToolkit serves as a catalyst for community engagementwhich is essential to galvanize community and achievesocial change.
EDGEWOOD COMMUNITY• Median income-$38,192• 21% of households with children (down from 45%)• 11% single parents (down from 30%)• 16% no HS diploma; 33% w/at least BS• 8.75% unemployment; 29% w/income less than $1,251/mo.• 34% white, 59% black or African American, and 3% of the population Hispanic or Latino
NORCROSS MOBILE HOME PARK• In Gwinnett County, suburb of Atlanta; one of fastest growing counties in US with median income of $60,533• Norcross population 9,100; median income-$43,000• 40.8% white, 19.8% black or African American, and 39.4% of the population Hispanic or Latino• Mobile Home Park-225 Latino and Hispanic Families• 100% children receive free or reduced lunch• Average education of parents is 4th grade• All mothers are unemployed
TOOLKIT IN EDGEWOOD• 56 participants• Diverse participation• Different participants in each session• Strictly applied tools, including Community Information Scorecard, Checklist and Scavenger Hunt Community Strategy-Cultural education event for youth
TOOLKIT IN NORCORSS MOBILE HOME• 100 attended orientation• 40 attended all three sessions• Scavenger Hunt questions and all materials translated in Spanish• Modified application to address literacy levels and limited knowledge of community resources: • 2 groups used computer • 1 group used Mundo newspaper • 1 group used phone book • 1 group used “word of mouth”• “Word of mouth” completed firstCommunity Strategy-Development of Resource Guide
LESSON LEARNED• Share ownership of project with community leaders from beginning• Scavenger Hunt too long; questions not always relevant• Computer skills and literacy may skew results• Modification necessary to facilitate participation and to address culture and language differences• Consistent engagement through all sessions important• Survey completion is an unwelcomed, isolated experience• Toolkit design must address ethnic and cultural differences and literacy• Funding to plan and implement ideas and strategies that derive from sessions is essential• Toolkit must align with community, leaders and participants long term strategies and goals