For the last several months, I have been preaching from the book of regional self-interest about the need to invest in our collective future. I
Our comprehensive, holistic model is wholly unique in the field of community development and is based on decades of experience and insights from national thought leaders, including Health Equity Works at Washington University in St. Louis, the Aspen Institute, the Stanford Social Innovation Review, NeighborWorks America, and the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco.
This model is based on the realization that families and communities have many needs that must be met in order to thrive.
For example, thriving families need a living wage, housing that’s affordable, access to healthcare, successful schools, transportation, and more.
Thriving communities need an adequate supply of housing that people can afford, economic development to provide jobs and access to essential goods and services, sound infrastructure from sewers to roads and parks, effective local government and essential services, and an abundance of successful families.
This is why addressing one single need such as housing or education within under-resourced communities rarely produces meaningful results.
What’s also important to understand is that needs don’t exist in silos—they are interrelated and interdependent. Because of this interdependency, it’s important that needs are served in an integrated, holistic manner.
Serving the needs of a family holistically requires that staff work together in case-management style to ensure efforts are coordinated and mutually reinforcing to move families toward self-sufficiency.
Change moves at the speed of trust. Our Ask, Align, Act framework ensures that our actions are guided by the voice of the community. We ask for the community’s input to identify priorities, align resources, and act toward fulfilling a common vision.
The comprehensive, holistic nature of this model also ensures that each effort is mutually-reinforcing to create greater impact—making each dollar invested exponentially more effective.
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This article originally appeared in the St. Louis Business Journal. Among the challenges identified by readers of the St. Louis Business Journal in its AdvanceSTL
When the Save A Lot in Pagedale closed in November of 2021, it was a major blow to a community that had worked hard to