Visioning a Greater Racine | Coordination and Mobilization 2016
The mission of Visioning a Greater Racine is to engage the community in creating a vision of what Racine can be 10-15 years from now, and developing a road map for how to get there. This effort will produce an economic development strategy based on community engagement and quality of life.
Accomplishing this goal requires community-wide input from:
- All sectors of the community, including business, government, education, non-profits, faith-based groups, and individuals
- Various ethnic groups at many socio-economic levels
- Residents living in the city of Racine and the villages of Sturtevant, Caledonia, and Mt. Pleasant (East of the Interstate)
The outcomes of the Vision will cover a wide range of initiatives that inspire a truly great place to live, work and play. Some of these initiatives are already underway but need broader support and some will be newly inspired; some are small and immediate, and others are long-term and comprehensive. Ultimately we will develop a community in which we and future generations thrive.
Many studies have featured Chattanooga, Tennessee, as one of the “best turn-around” stories in the nation. In the spring of 2015, a delegation from Racine visited Chattanooga to learn how its revitalization process got started. A visioning process in 1984 resulted in 34 goals that were fully or partially accomplished in 8 years. An initial investment of $793 million to accomplish those goals has resulted in over $5 billion of economic investments in recent years, including VW’s North American plant locating there in 2008
FEASIBILITY STUDY August-October 2015
Following the visit to Chattanooga, VGR invited Dr. Eleanor Cooper to Racine to conduct a Feasibility Study to determine if there was interest in and support for undertaking a similar visioning process in Racine. Dr. Cooper is the former Executive Director of Chattanooga Venture, the organization that led the Chattanooga visioning process and its implementation. She has a doctorate from the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga and has conducted research on how and why Chattanooga’s process worked. Dr. Cooper conducted 44 interviews with a wide range of individuals and community leaders in Racine. The results of the interviews revealed a “split personality” in Racine, a great deal of hope and potential but also a troubling level of pessimism, as demonstrated by many comments such as “we are our own worst enemy” or “we don’t do what we say we are going to do.” Although significant interest in and support for Visioning a Greater Racine was expressed, Dr. Cooper recommended a period of coordination and mobilization in preparation for the visioning.
COORDINATION AND MOBILIZATION Starting January 2016
We consider it essential to coordinate our efforts with the other groups striving to bring long-term improvements to Racine, including Higher Expectations, Racine Revitalization Partnership, Root Works, Greening Greater Racine, and others. Coordinating with these groups will result in better outcomes for everyone. VGR is also reaching out to community and ethnic groups to build broad participation. We seek to work with three types of partners: prominent business/political leaders, leaders of non-profit organizations, and grassroots organization leaders. This applies to Racine, Mt. Pleasant, Caledonia, and Sturtevant.
THE ROCKFORD, IL MODEL OF TRANSFORMATION February-March 2016
Rockford’s vision to become a top-25 community is led by Transform Rockford, an organization that coordinates 14 task forces resulting from their own visioning process. VGR brought 40 Racine leaders from the groups described above to Rockford to learn Rockford’s transformation strategy. Upon return, VGR held a meeting to review “lessons learned” and to involve people who were unable to go on the trip.
EDUCATING THE PUBLIC April-May 2016
In order to inform a broader audience in Racine, VGR has invited Transform Rockford to present its strategy for change at a workshop that will train participants to create “Shared Values,” do network mapping, and create a plan for visioning and implementation. A presentation at the Golden Rondelle for the public is planned during Transform Rockform’s visit. CREATING SHARED VALUES June-August 2016 Throughout the summer, VGR will continue to build partners and expand our base of support for the visioning. A growing group of volunteers will participate with us in developing Racine’s Shared Values as the foundation for creating a culture of change.
VISIONING PROCESS September-November 2016
Working with our partner organizations, VGR will lead the visioning process in the fall of 2016. The Shared Values will provide the guidelines for participation. A trained group of volunteers will provide the manpower. And the growing web of interconnected relationships across the community will provide the outreach necessary for broad participation.
IMPLEMENTATION Starting January 2017
The overall vision for the greater Racine area will be a unifying theme that will both inspire our community and also attract visitors and investors. Specific goals will each have a task force responsible for maintaining momentum and building support for the initiatives.
PROPOSAL FOR PHASE 2
We are asking your support for Phase 2: Coordination and Mobilization.
Your support will enable us to host the EDUCATIONAL PROGRAMS and training workshops in April and May, to develop the SHARED VALUES during the summer, and to continue the COORDINATION and MOBILIZATION efforts in preparation for the VISIONING in the fall.
This phase is critical to our success.
The budget for this phase is $80,500 to pay for our consultant, Dr. Cooper, and a Coordinator. We have already secured $21,000. We are building a broad base of support from funders like you who believe in the Racine community and have a vested interest in seeing it thrive. Other funders include the City of Racine, Racine County, Gateway Technical College, and Racine Community Foundation. We invite you to join us in this exciting challenge.
Please consider a gift of $3,000 – 5,000 to become a funding partner of Visioning a Greater Racine. United Way of Racine County serves as our fiscal agent. All donations are considered tax deductible.