2020: A Year in Review
As we head towards the close of a year that we never want to relive again!?!@#$% I wanted to share with you some of the impactful work that our team has been leading this year - our 10th year! I am honored to work with professionals that have been able to cope with all that 2020 has thrown at them. They have survived thousands of video hours at a pace that has been relentless at times. But ultimately, our team has been rewarded with meaningful projects that have engaged countless leaders and guided communities towards recovery.
Had this been any other year, we would have had some stellar parties to celebrate our 10th anniversary, releasing the Equitable Community Planning Toolkit, and updating the Fourth Economy Community Index. We’re proud of this work and are eager to hear your feedback and how you’re using the Toolkit and Index in your work! And nothing says we can’t have a major celebration for our 11th anniversary, right?
We have worked on some incredible projects this year that took a lot of turns. Some of our highlights include:
Community-Wide Economic Development Planning
York County Economic Alliance
Development of the county-wide, 10-year York Economic Action Plan kicked off in November 2019, mere months before protocols to slow the spread of the coronavirus pandemic began ravaging economies all over the world. As COVID-19 began to force business closures in York County, PA, the York County Economic Alliance leadership team asked us to pivot to model anticipated economic impacts of the pandemic on local industries, small businesses, and the vulnerable households who were most affected by the economic shifts. This work helped the County program secure millions of dollars of CARES Act funding to support critical business and community needs.
Ramsey County, MN
We supported Ramsey’s inaugural Economic Competitiveness and Inclusion Plan and had the privilege of collaborating with the renowned Center for Economic Inclusion in its development. Over the past year we have seen some difficult times with the pandemic unfolding and the murder of George Floyd in neighboring Hennepin County in May.
Despite its challenges, the team was able to pivot quickly and respond with a re-invigorated push for widespread community engagement. The result has been unprecedented stakeholder involvement, record-setting community conversations and working groups, and a plan that is deeply rooted in the voices of community members. The planning process is nearing completion and the plan will be released in early 2021.
Networks Northwest, the regional planning organization for the 10-county region of Northwest Michigan, engaged us to help with the development of Thrive North, a Promotion and Investment portal for the region. This work included compiling Community Investment Area site and building investment opportunities in 31 areas of the region that are prime for development and redevelopment, profiling the region’s 8 Opportunity Zones, and more.