Communities have been hard at work building more diverse, inclusive and resilient economies and the mounting costs of the COVID-19 pandemic are demonstrating just how critical this work is. Now more than ever, Community Builders is committed to helping places across the West take on the urgent work to minimize the near-term impacts of COVID-19 on local businesses and working families, while simultaneously engaging in the longer-term work of economic recovery.
To us, there is no doubt that to succeed in this moment, communities and local leaders must commit to building stronger than before. The COVID-19 pandemic demonstrates not only the importance of building more resilient communities and economies, but also the many underlying weaknesses of the status quo.
We are energized and inspired to learn how many communities see this moment in this same light. Together, we can and will do better.
As a starting point, we are organizing our efforts into 5 projects to most effectively and sustainably help cities and towns plan for recovery from this crisis:
- Direct Assistance. We are partnering with Gunnison and Eagle Counties in Colorado to work hand-in-hand on economic recovery and long-term resiliency planning and implementation. We will share lessons learned and create resources from this work that can be scaled up and applied to communities across the country.
- Roadmap to Recovery. We are listening to the needs of communities to build a clear “roadmap” for local economic recovery efforts. This tool will be a web-based guide for local leaders to navigate the stages of local and regional economic recovery planning with the ultimate goal of long-term resiliency. This tool will be released in the coming weeks.
- Cohort-based Learning. We are exploring the concept of creating a facilitated resiliency series to guide groups of leaders from cities and towns that share similar economic and demographic characteristics through a curriculum to build more resilient economies. Local leaders will share their experiences, road blocks, and breakthroughs to support one another through this time and build a more resilient West together.
- Virtual Engagement. Planning local responses at a time when people cannot safely meet face-to-face is a challenge for the majority of our community partners. We are using virtual engagement tools to facilitate strategic dialogue and drive public participation in an online environment. We will share virtual engagement insights with our network and beyond.
- Economic Recovery Communications. We will continue to share our takeaways on what communities and change makers can do in this moment through clear, simple, and actionable storytelling across various platforms.
Our mission, as always, is to bring communities together to build healthy, equitable, and prosperous places that improve people’s lives today and ensure a sustainable tomorrow. Our team continues to work toward this mission every day, while adapting the ways we work to support people through the deep unease and uncertainty they may face.
The work Community Builders does to build greater local ownership, economic resiliency, safer and more accessible housing options, and better ways of connecting places, is more crucial now than ever. Our team remains flexible to creatively meet the needs of this new reality in partnership with cities and towns.
The work that needs to take place to recover and build resilience will require everyone’s participation, and we thank you for your ongoing support and engagement with us.