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Transforming communities through collective impact discussed at City-County Conference
City, county and local government leaders convened in at the 14th Annual City-County Conference in Lake Arrowhead on March 24-25 to discuss unique ways to collaborate and bring innovative ideas to meet challenges in our communities.
The conference themed “Partners in Progress” began with a presentation on the benefits of collective impact in solving society’s complex problems.
Collective impact occurs when organizations from different sectors agree to solve a specific social problem using a common agenda, aligning their efforts, and using common measures of success, said Jennifer Splansky Juster, director of the Collective Impact Forum at FSG, a nonprofit consulting firm.
Juster highlighted the use of collective impact used in by officials in New York state who were struggling with recidivism of their juvenile offenders. By tapping state resources in the areas such as mental health, housing, and corrections, the state reduced the number of juveniles in state custody by 45 percent.
This model has been used across the country to tackle some of the most serious social issues, including the education system in Cincinnati, malnutrition in low socioeconomic status communities, substance abuse in teens, and childhood obesity. This model holds promise as a successful approach to the Cradle to Career goal of the Countywide Vision.
San Bernardino County Director of Public Health Trudy Raymundo led a lively discussion about healthy communities using artists who drew a mural showing what healthy communities look like based on a wish list received from conference attendees.
Their answers ranged from clean air, to a general plan that promotes diversity in housing amenities, to bike and walking paths and recreation centers.
Barbara Alejandre, assistant to the County Superintendent of Schools joined San Bernardino County Director of Preschool Services Diana Alexander to talk about education’s role in the economy of our region.
Education is an excellent investment in a region’s overall economic vitality, and improves social, environmental, and cultural factors as well. The Countywide Vision Cradle to Career Roadmap was developed to bring all sectors of our community together to support every child’s path to the workforce.
Already underway in the Colton Joint Unified School District are Community Cabinets of educators, parents, community members and business leaders working together to develop concrete goals -such as reading by third grade – to help children excel in school and build the skills necessary to sustain themselves into adulthood.
Board of Supervisors Chair Janice Rutherford and the County’s Chief Executive Officer Gregory C. Devereaux discussed County government’s roles and responsibilities and how those duties relate to a county’s incorporated cities.
Cities and counties have major differences in function and they are not the same in structure and legal abilities, Devereaux said. However, cities and counties can find ways to collaborate and work with each other on major issues to reach common goals.
The conference was sponsored by the County of San Bernardino, San Bernardino Associated Governments (SANBAG) and the South Coast Air Quality Management District.