By Chris Bavender
Community Foundation of Boone County has finished collecting data in the first phase of its community-wide needs assessment and recently launched a listening tour to share results of the survey.
“Attendees will have the opportunity to write down their thoughts, ideas and suggestions and turn them in to CFBC staff at the end of the meeting,” said Julie Reagan, CFBC development and communications director. “This way, community members can still be engaged through the brainstorming part of the process. The more ideas we can gather up, the better.”
Reagan said response to the first phase of the assessment was encouraging and described it as “hopeful engagement.”
“This community really wants to be involved with what is done and have an active role in it. It was great having community partners come alongside of us to promote and participate in the assessment,” she said. “Several nonprofits, churches, businesses, government positions and community safety leaders jumped in to provide feedback. It was great.”
A large number of online surveys were completed from diverse populations, a wide age range and from a variety of Boone County communities.
“The reported needs from the survey were all areas of opportunity CFBC and community partners were aware of. While that was good to see we are in touch with the community needs, it was still very helpful to see the varying needs broken up by Boone County communities,” Reagan said. “I was surprised to see that 86 percent of survey respondents donated to an organization and 73 percent volunteered in the last 12 months.”
One area of the assessment asked residents what their top needs were.
“Without sharing too much, I will share that the top three needs for overall Boone County aligned for the most part with the top needs for each Boone County community,” Reagan said. “While there is variance from community to community, which differs from the overall Boone County needs, there is still consistency in what is needed.”
As for what Boone County residents are most happy about, one of the most “powerful” stats, Reagan said, was that two out of three respondents see themselves living in Boone County in five years.
“Public safety and family friendliness are two of the items respondents are most happy with, which is very touching to see that our community is this happy with our public safety,” she said.
The final two stops on the listening tour are set for Nov. 19 at Stookeys, 125 E. Main St., Thorntown; and Nov. 20 at CFBC headquarters, 102 N. Lebanon St., Suite 200, Lebanon. Both meetings are from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. Lunch will be served at each. Guests are asked to RSVP to jreagan@communityfoundationBC.org.
The official reports will be posted on the CFBC website at the conclusion of the listening tour. The next step will involve identifying an area of need CFBC can take a community leadership role in filling.
“There will be two to three months of research and planning. CFBC will then send a grant proposal to Lilly Endowment, Inc., proposing the innovative big idea, in March 2020,” Reagan said. “At the same time, CFBC wants to ensure awareness is raised on all areas of need, not just the one we plan to take a leadership role in filling. As a result, CFBC plans to work with community partners to collaborate in addressing the various needs in the survey.”