United Way realized we needed to be much more strategic with our work and specifically with our community investments (grant-making). So, we took advantage of learning from the Harwood Institute for Public Innovation how to: turn outward, work with intentionality, and use community knowledge and community will to drive our work. Harwood recommends holding Community Conversations—which we call Listen and Learn sessions where we listen to and learn from all walks of life about their aspirations for the community.
The basic road map of a conversation is:
What do you hope for ________(the community, a program, an initiative)?
Why don’t we have those things yet?
What can we do to work together?
How can we overcome those obstacles and get to this ideal?
It’s meant to be a kitchen table conversation. There are no right or wrong answers—this is based on what people know to be true from their personal experiences. At each session, we have a facilitator guide the conversation and we have a note-taker (or two) capture what is heard. It’s done anonymously—so we’re not noting who says what.
After a few sessions, we theme out the conversations and identify those themes that keep recurring and clamoring to the top of people’s hopes, challenges, and ideas. These recurring themes are our Public Knowledge—the areas we want to pay particular attention to as we look for solutions, answers and/or develop a plan. Then, we pair the Public Knowledge captured with expert knowledge and data, to find where we can make the most strategic investment of resources to change community conditions.
Hopes for Henry COunty
United Way of Delaware and Henry Counties wants to listen to and learn from the people of Henry County and work together to build a strategic impact agenda that is unique to Henry County.
As we expand our service area we recognize nearly half of all households in Henry County live in poverty or are struggling to make ends meet. These working families (or ALICE—Asset-Limited, Income-Constrained, Employed) face daily obstacles hindering their health, education, and financial stability. Their lives—and futures—can change, but they need your help. You can help provide invaluable information to United Way which will be used to influence strategies and decision making by participating in listen and learn Sessions.
By strategically funding local programs and working toward community identified bold goals, we are making strides toward a better tomorrow.
Please note, while we value all input, we cannot promise that any new initiatives, programs or action items will emerge from every conversation.
We are on our way, but we need your support. For more information about upcoming listen and learn sessions in Henry County please email Lesley Devine.
What is a Listening & Learning Session?
Safe space where you, as members of the community, are invited to share your thoughts on our future.
We want to hear your::
Hopes for the future
The roadblocks stopping our community from getting there
Ideas for how to remove them
Benefits of participating in Listening & Learning Sessions
You will be providing invaluable information to United Way, which will be used to influence strategies and decision-making
Builds relationships and community connections
Allows local community work to be part of larger initiatives
Provides opportunities for everyone to be part of something larger than themselves
Who can participate in Listening & Learning Sessions?
We want to hear from EVERYONE
and anyone else that would like their voice heard