April 12, 2021
Community leaders launch regional goal-setting process in southern Kennebec County
AUGUSTA—Dozens of leaders in southern Kennebec County are spearheading a process to establish 10-year community goals in health, education and financial stability. The Kennebec Valley Goal-Setting Council, created by United Way of Kennebec Valley (UWKV), seeks broad feedback in the form of surveys and community conversations with people who live, work or play in the region.
The Goal-Setting Council is comprised of 17 community leaders from the business, nonprofit and government sectors and is supported by three expert panels focused on health, education and financial stability. Chuck Hays, president and CEO of MaineGeneral, and Katie Doherty, president and CEO of the Kennebec Valley Chamber of Commerce, are co-chairing the Council.
“At MaineGeneral, we’re constantly reviewing and contributing to community health data to better serve our communities,” said Hays. “By putting a regional focus on trends in health, education and financial stability—the primary building blocks for a good life—we can create a foundation for individual and community prosperity. If you remove any of those building blocks, the other two will topple—which is exactly why we all must work together.”
In total, more than 50 local leaders will help set goals, strategies and indicators, informed by community conversations with and surveys of diverse and numerous people. The Council’s ultimate aim is to unite hundreds of organizations and individuals under the community’s shared vision when the goals are announced in 2022.
“For the business community, setting regional goals with measurable results is a sound investment in Kennebec Valley’s future,” said Doherty, who also serves as vice-chair of UWKV’s Board of Directors. “When we all work together to reduce poverty, we generate strong returns to society over time in the form of higher real Gross Domestic Product, reduced expenditures on health care, and improved quality of life.”
The idea of setting long-term goals in southern Kennebec County arose out of necessity during the early days of COVID-19, according to Courtney Yeager, executive director of UWKV. “There is so much good happening all around us, but from where I sit, it’s not always connected and can be difficult to measure,” Yeager said. “The pandemic showed us that cross-sector collaboration is essential to maximizing our community resources, and the concept of regional goals was met with initial enthusiasm from local leaders.”
The Council invites anyone who lives, works or plays in southern Kennebec County to complete a brief survey online or attend one of five community conversations to help inform goal development. Community conversations are currently scheduled to occur at Augusta’s Mill Park on May 5 at 6 p.m.; Gardiner’s Central Fire Station on May 10 at 6 p.m.; the YMCA Camp of Maine in Winthrop on May 13 at 5:30 p.m.; and virtually on Zoom on May 25 at 5:30 p.m. All are welcome, and interpreters will be made available. Participants will be eligible to win local gift cards. To complete the survey or register in advance for a community conversation, visit www.uwkv.org/community.
The Council has also collaborated with Plimpton Research to produce four research papers identifying community demographics, data trends, and existing needs. These papers were published in February 2021 and are available on UWKV’s website. Organizations and individuals are encouraged to use and share this information in order to strengthen their own efforts in Kennebec County.
In addition to Doherty, Hays and Yeager, Goal-Setting Council members include William Bridgeo, City of Augusta; Patricia Hart, City of Gardiner; Patricia Hopkins, MSAD 11; Jeff Johnson, Children’s Center; Roger Katz, Lipman Katz and Boston; Thara Kumarage, Capital Area New Mainers Project; Amanda Olson, Augusta Housing; Monique Roy, Augusta Adult Education; Andrew Silsby, Kennebec Savings Bank; Robyn Stanicki, Kennebec Valley Council of Governments; Lonney Steeves, Winthrop YMCA; Suzanne Walsh, Kennebec Valley Community Action Program; Rep. Charlotte Warren, Maine Legislature; and Dr. Rebecca Wyke, University of Maine at Augusta.
Categories: News | Tags: | Posted by: Mboyer
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