(This article originally appeared in the Akron Area Eutopia Report.)
Building up a “Good Place”, or a good city, is something that we are very passionate about. So any time that we hear about an organization working to improve our city, we want to report on it. Especially if it includes collaboration, which we believe is the best way to get things done.
The Healthy Summit 2020 is a beautiful example of community collaboration. The Healthy Summit 2020 got its start as Healthy Summit 2010, with the intention of helping the community improve the coordination of its health and human services.
Many community members gathered to bring this together, forming a thriving collaboration that has produced positive results.
The Healthy Summit, a community collaborative, came to be with the intention of collecting and looking at data, as well as areas of improvement within the county.
The group’s goals included improving economic, health and social conditions in the community. The best part of all was that foundations, nonprofits, faith-based organizations and government agencies all came together to work on these things.
The intention wasn’t to start up a bunch of new projects, but to build up and polish the ones that already existed.
Summit County Public Health (SCPH) was one of the original agencies contracted to work on the project when it began in 2003 as a community-based needs assessment.
“The initial reason we started it up was because we had a very forward-thinking county executive, Mr. James McCarthy, who really felt that the community could operate better if it had one set of data and some actual plans, or community guidelines, to help individuals know what the greatest concerns were and areas we needed to concentrate our work in,” Donna Skoda, Deputy Health Commissioner for Planning at Summit County Public Health, said.
SCPH is a member of Social Services Advisory Board, a group that makes recommendations to the County Executive regarding social service issues in Summit County.
“They were at the table in the very beginning,” Skoda explained.
SCPH organized the community with many of the significant players in town, brought them together, completed 250 community interviews, reviewed more than 138 different data sets and decided on a core group of 20 that they would use as monitoring indicators over time.
They continue to look over that set of indicators to check progress and make adjustments.
The group’s goals were big, overarching ones like poverty, graduation rates and housing affordability, to name a few.
From there it organized what was known as a Health and Human Services Plan, which includes a focus on youth. The group also organized a Work-Force Development plan and a Finance Forum, which seeks funding for other parts of the plan.
“We kept reporting on the indicators, how we were doing and what was happening next,” Skoda explained.
Watch for Part Two next week where we share their development of 5 Initiatives and their accomplishments!
For more on the Healthy Summit please visit www.healthysummit.org.