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.
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!
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 are gathering all of your feedback and creating a report that our Board will use 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 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.
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.
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
Colleton County Library, 600 Hampton Street, Walterboro
Thursday, April 12th
Moncks Corner Library, 1003 N. Highway 52, Moncks Corner
Thursday, April 19th
Coastal Community Foundation, 635 Rutledge Ave., Ste. 201, Charleston
Saturday, April 21st
Beaufort County Library, 311 Scott Street, Beaufort
Thursday, April 26
Palmetto Electric Community Center, 1 Cooperative Way (on 278), Hardeeville
Tuesday, May 29th
Hampton County Library, 12 Locust Street, Hampton
Questions? Contact Edie Blakeslee, our VP of Grantmaking and Community Leadership, at (843) 723-3635.