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Community of Hope: Opportunities
Community of Hope

Community of Hope: Opportunities

At the Community of Hope Summit, we came away with 1,260 statements from 200 participants representing dozens of Boulder County safety net organizations. We organized the statements by objective. Then we used a “word cloud” analysis for each objective to determine the top keywords used in the discussions. In the word cloud, the larger a word appears, the more frequently it was mentioned in a table’s discussion.

During the summit, 22 groups of 8 participants tackled 4 major objectives: with regard to our collaboration on Boulder County’s safety net, identify 1) what’s working well today, 2) our areas of greatest opportunity moving forward, 3) the major challenges we face, and 4) the support that’s needed to overcome these challenges.

Above is the word cloud for the second objective, opportunities; view the raw data.

In this word cloud, community comes up 41 times, primarily in reference to working collectively as a community. Similarly, collaboration was referenced 21 times. Here are some of the statements:

  • Create a mechanism for better understanding of community resources
  • Share more information: make sure all community partners know which other partners are involved with each family
  • Create a community plan that’s family driven
  • Expand Boulder County’s community-united voice in advocacy at the legislative level (rather than continuing an approach involving numerous individual voices)
  • Ensure mechanisms and systems are in place to connect community partners more deeply
  • Provide and create more education opportunities on community resources
  • Create community conversations around topics like agencies, healthcare, and unintended pregnancies
  • Find ways to increase community knowledge of prevention
  • Strengthen cross-community-based organizations’ work together on government grant funding applications, lobbying, and legislative advocacy
  • Ensure we are finding and creating leaders from within our community – provide support and training for them
  • Work more closely with the Boulder County business community – find new and innovative ways to support each other

Education was another very frequent mention as an opportunity (28 times), and when viewed alongside another popular term, communication
(mentioned 15 times), some messages begin to take shape.

  • Focus on coordinated case management by providing enhanced education about programs, services, and referral processes, and sharing information about the population across the county
  • Create comprehensive education opportunities about services to avoid duplication
  • We need education about programs, services, and referral processes across the county
  • With a prevention-oriented focus, ensure that we are using data to create models for outreach and education to help identify service gaps and risks for families and individuals
  • Create a 30 minute educational video that highlights agency programs; the primary audience would be clients
  • Provide much more comprehensive and accessible education on community-wide resources
  • Focus on prevention: provide client education on health and well-being before crisis occurs
  • Create and provide opportunities for education around health insurance: how to use it, and the importance of preventive care
  • Ensure we have better collaboration and communication between private and public agencies in Boulder County
  • We need more communication to help reduce duplication and redundancy
  • We should increase communication opportunities across the county
  • With a focus on transparency, enhance communication of specific program eligibility regulations
  • Strengthen communication with clients about preventive services according to identified intervention points
  • Construct a common communication that accurately conveys the county’s (and partners’) services framework
  • Provide more communication community-wide about our successes: let’s tell the stories of our work
  • Increase and enhance inter-agency communication, education, and collaboration

There are ample opportunities for us to work with our partners collaboratively to educate each other – and our clients – about the prevention oriented services we provide and how clients can qualify for and access them. Alongside this, increasing communication – both from us to our partners and from all of us to our clients – would clearly be beneficial for our community. And yet another message is that many safety net organizations across Boulder County are eager for more regular communications between community partners about the opportunities for collaboration that are ahead of us.

Funding came up 21 times in the opportunities section, particularly around the need to coordinate funding decisions strategically using community indicators. Participants also mentioned the need for creatively leveraging funding, and identifying and funding new ways to stabilize families and individuals earlier (including funding incentives for greater collaboration). It was also clear that many participants want to see less restrictive funding and the removal of “silos” that keep funding streams separate.

And increasing the county’s supply of affordable housing (mentioned 17 times) will also clearly need to continue to be a focus of our collaborative work across the county. Participants had a variety of more specific suggestions around housing, as well, including incorporating other programs at the county’s (and partners’) housing sites, and establishing a county-wide collaborative approach to advocating for more funding for low-income housing.

Another quick note: Data came up often in the table discussions across all four objectives, particularly with regard to the utilization of shared data and building a system of analysis of the data that will help us better understand how our work is impacting our community. We understand that the collaborative development of common shared data-sets alongside community-wide indicators is a critical next step in this work.

Look for additional communications from us in the weeks and months to come. While we have a fair amount of work ahead of us as a community to make our safety net more family driven, prevention oriented, and holistic, it’s clear we have an excellent start to the next phase of this work provided by the information the summit generated. Our deepest gratitude to those who participated and our thanks, as well, to all our partners who have helped get us to this point as a community. In 2015, we envision the creation of work-groups to begin to prioritize the summit information, develop sets of indicators to help drive our work, and ongoing communication and feedback loops between you and us.

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