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August 17, 2016

What is the big idea in Dearborn County


What's the big idea? That’s the question United Way of Greater Cincinnati – Dearborn and Ohio Counties (DOC) and the Community Building Institute (CBI)* have begun asking.

Their goal? A better understanding of how to make Dearborn County an even better place to live, and where it should focus time and energy in pursuit of that goal.

A series of interviews with key leaders in nonprofits, hospitals, government, education, business, media, and others took place over the past several months.  The “Big Ideas” that emerged focus on the areas of substance abuse, mental health, leadership, and workforce development.

“There’s already a lot of hard work going on in the county, and we can’t tackle all of it,” says Karen Snyder, director, DOC.” But now, CBI will be mapping the data obtained from the interviews to get a clearer picture of our area’s strengths and gaps.

“By bringing out the most important things people want to work on and identifying what issues  may bubble up that everybody would agree on, we can maybe tackle issues in a systematic manner,” she says.

United Way as the Convening Organization

LightbulbSnyder says the idea for the project began last year. She looked at the work CBI had done in Clermont County when it led a community-wide visioning process and wanted to take things a step further. She says that, with United Way as the convener of the project, now called the Dearborn County Community Implementation Strategy, “we’ll be looking at where we can take the lead or where we can provide support.

“How can we wrap our goals in the areas of education, income and health around what the community wants to do in the areas of workforce development? What are the different schools doing, and how can we help bring all those efforts together?”

Patty Baker, grain analyst manager, MGP Ingredients, Inc., and DOC Action Council Chair, has been a key volunteer in convening the project.

"The Dearborn County Community Implementation Strategy that is being developed is a positive for the community, particularly due to the expertise and data gathering tools that will be shared by both institutions United Way and CBI," said Baker. "There is a lot of great work going on within the community, and  this partnership will help strengthen and streamline data already collected for better program implementation."  

The next step is to have a set of recommendations by December 1 and establishing committees to lead the work.

*The Community Building Institute (CBI) is a partnership of United Way of Greater Cincinnati, which provides a majority of its funding, and Xavier University, which provides support services and educational resources.

Since it was established in 1995, CBI has worked successfully in many different communities throughout Southwest Ohio, Northern Kentucky and Southeast Indiana to help get communities and neighborhoods on a path toward sustainable growth and stability.

It’s also a partner of place matters, implemented by LISC of Greater Cincinnati & Northern Kentucky, a comprehensive community investment strategy to create strong schools, steady jobs, stable housing, and safe neighborhoods.

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