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What is the Civic Engagement Agenda?

Building the capacity to tackle some of our region’s most challenging issues is a complex process. A year ago, Coastal Community Foundation (CCF) took the first steps toward focusing concerted efforts on important issues in the communities we serve. We decided to plan and conduct work to create a guiding document—the Civic Engagement Agenda—to serve as a tool for strategic planning that sets the course for our future. The Civic Engagement Agenda is a framework to help us make a concentrated, positive impact on our communities.

Civic Engagement Summary – Community Conversations and Regional Data

The Community Conversations

CCF embarked on a major undertaking in the fall of 2017 as part of our CEA work.

In collaboration with 1000 Feathers, a Columbia-based strategy and implementation consulting firm, we brought together 50 individuals for a two-day training from the Harwood Institute, in order to learn their Turning Outward model of community listening. Newly trained facilitators conducted Community Conversations between September and February. Group sizes were intentionally capped at 20 participants to allow for all voices to be heard and create the environment of a “kitchen table” conversation. In all, more than 400 individuals participated in these conversations.

Instead of taking a participatory role in these conversations, facilitators simply kept the conversation on track, spotlighting the voices of our community. The goal of these conversations was not oriented in providing immediate solutions, but to gather a broad understanding of community issues.

We thank everyone who took the time to share your voice with us!

What’s Next

We have been honored by what was shared—very powerful words, ideas and experiences—and humbled by the openness and willingness to shoot straight from the hip. We have completed 36 Community Conversations, capturing the broad perspectives and voices of citizens along the coast of South Carolina, CCF’s service area. We received great preliminary feedback and community members have thanked us for “getting out there” and simply asking for input.

So what’s next? We gathered all of your feedback and have created a report that our Board has used to forge a strategic plan this spring…one that will bring with it a focus—of the resources at hand—on some of the key issues you helped us define. The report (summary above) includes the community wisdom gleaned from our Community Conversations threaded with some data about our region, provided by our partners at the USC Upstate Metropolitan Studies Institute.

Five clear themes emerged from this work, and our Board and staff have defined three of these themes (the first three on this list) as critical areas needing our attention.

  • Access to Economic Opportunity
  • Education
  • Affordable Places and Inclusive Spaces
  • Connected, Livable Communities
  • Community Safety

We are holding several regional Town Hall Meetings (schedule below) to share the results of the report with the community and “interview the data.” We want to make sure our information resonates with our participants and community members. We will also share what CCF hopes to do in the future, in partnership with others, so that we can work toward strengthening and amplifying the good that happens when we come together.

Over the summer of 2018, we will be conducting additional Community Conversations in Georgetown and Horry Counties along with our partner organizations and affiliate foundations in that region, in order to further define their areas of community focus. We are staying open, listening, creating engagement opportunities, and we want all of you to be our partners. We welcome your feedback and engagement, so please feel free to contact us to discuss our latest news.

Town Hall Meetings

We invite you to the meeting that works best for you—these events are free and open to the public, and we would love to have you be a part of this process. Feel free to invite others! (Download a PDF of our flyer.)

Tuesday, April 3rd
6:30-7:30 p.m.
Colleton County Library, 600 Hampton Street, Walterboro

Thursday, April 12th
6-7 p.m.
Moncks Corner Library, 1003 N. Highway 52, Moncks Corner

Thursday, April 19th
6-7 p.m.
Coastal Community Foundation, 635 Rutledge Ave., Ste. 201, Charleston

Saturday, April 21st
2-3 p.m.
Beaufort County Library, 311 Scott Street, Beaufort

Thursday, April 26
3-4 p.m.
Palmetto Electric Community Center, 1 Cooperative Way (on 278), Hardeeville

Tuesday, May 29th
5:30-6:30 p.m.
Hampton County Library, 12 Locust Street, Hampton

Wednesday, May 30th
noon – 1:00 p.m.
Online Virtual Town Hall! Stay tuned for more info!

Questions? Contact Edie Blakeslee, our VP of Grantmaking and Community Leadership, at (843) 723-3635.