For the twenty years of our existence, Millennia has been committed to serving and building local communities. This means using our skills and knowledge to help local leaders to build coalitions around key issues and to engage neighbors and other community stakeholders in dialogue. In each of these cases, our goal is to train and build local leadership able to carry on without us.
Early in the life of the company, we worked with the Center for Neighborhood Technology to facilitate and execute community engagement across Chicago’s six county region culminating in the first Citizen Transportation Plan. It was lots of fun and included the Center’s inspired simulation game Transopoly. We worked with the State of Illinois at one point to involve South Suburban communities in a large visioning process for mental health services. We worked with a coalition of six Chicago neighborhoods on the ClearPath project in which these community based organizations worked with the Chicago Police Department to build a portal that would enable residents to access crime information and to weigh in on community policing strategies.
More recently, our consultant Brenda Bannor has led some fifteen school based health center initiatives that engage school leaders, parents, and students in the development of health services housed in high schools around the state. Tom Lenz has guided the creation of the Southland’s Partnership for Resilience and wonderful inclusive collaboration of pediatricians, health systems, schools and social service agencies whose mission it is to create a trauma-informed community, one that systematically addresses Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) helping children to overcome barriers to their health and well-being. Wendy Siegel has been the lead consultant for the Lisle Library District’s Community Engagement process that has included public meetings, focus groups and an e-survey that mines residents’ perspectives and ideas about what they want in their local library.
Why do organizations choose to invest in community and civic engagement processes? Because engaging stakeholders in thinking deeply about the issues in their communities elicits valuable insights about how people perceive the institutions that serve them and the social, political and economic concerns that they find to be most important. A by-product of an organized and facilitated process is often that stakeholders become more educated. Knowledge fosters constituent buy-in without which it is virtually impossible to achieve mission success. Finally, it is the clear-eyed understanding of community context and perception that permits mission-driven organizations to be truly strategic about improving outcomes that matter.
For more information on our strategic, community and civic engagement work, contact firstname.lastname@example.org