23 Feb What’s New with Thriving?
We’re your new neighbor! And we wanted to take a moment to introduce ourselves to you. We are Thriving Grant County, Thriving Mill Township. Through Collective Impact, we work to address complex social issues through cross-sector participation within three networks: Community Development, Family Well-Being, and Talent Pipeline. This is the core of our mission. We’re not a moment but a movement!
Collective Impact is a process that enables communities to address complex social issues such as education, poverty, and health. As the name implies, it takes the collective effort of community stakeholders to make an impact on such problems. “Collective Impact” is not just another name for “collaboration,” it requires communities to meet these five specific conditions for achieving success: 1) a common agenda, 2) shared measurements, 3) collaborative action, 4) continuous communication, and 5) backbone support. It provides missing ingredients that often cause efforts at collaboration to fail.
In 2015, we learned that Grant County was #1 in childhood poverty in the State of Indiana. This was devastating news. After years of steadfast work and with the support of our donors, we are thrilled to announce that Grant County has now moved down to 7th. The Kids Count Data shows that we graduated to 22.7% of our children living in poverty from 31% when the data was released last year. We did the math—not counting the 80 children that moved out of the county—and are happy to report that 1,024 more children are thriving this year than this same time last year. That forward movement is worth celebrating!
We realized that it’s not solely because we’ve placed a spotlight on our poor child poverty statistic when we first learned the statistic. And it’s not only because we’ve been laser-focused on this issue ever since. It’s because multiple nonprofits and their donors (including ours!) are all working together and doing their part, progressing toward a thriving community. Thriving was born out of the abundance of the collective impact model—focused, determined, strategic; everyone doing their part. That’s how you fight systemic issues like poverty and why we continue to seek donations to continue our work in Grant County.
This news of our decreased poverty rates revealed some exciting next best steps for Thriving Grant County. 1) We are now a supporting organization of the Community Foundation of Grant County—enabling us to pool our resources and work together in combating childhood poverty. 2) We are now a team! We hired Ashley as a Resource Navigator and Hannah as an Administrative Assistant. 3) We recently changed our focus (and name!) to Thriving Mill Township. This change is a result of data which found Mill Township to be the greatest resource desert in the county. Our hope is to partner with people like YOU who are choosing to grow your roots in Mill Township! We can’t do this work alone. We people like YOU who believe in investing in their community.
Thriving may only be 3 years old, but the help of our partners has already made a big difference in our community. Over 115 Grant County residents have engaged in Working Groups focused on the different topics outlined in our Thriving Wheel above. These groups focused on revitalization projects, supported the creation of ConnectGrantCounty.com a public database of local resources, and exciting new partnerships are forming with the Grant County Rescue Mission and Mississinewa Community Schools. Plus, we are proud to say that we now have a building in Gas City that will soon hold our offices and provide space for the working groups and other important community resources. Your support can help us continue down this path.
What’s next for the future? Working groups will begin resuming soon, including two new groups: Financial Literacy and Food Insecurity. Are you interested in joining a Working Group? It will take all of us collectively working together, beginning again, each good day and every bad day. Because of our collective efforts, our child poverty rate is the lowest it has been since 2006—15 years ago! But we’re not finished yet.
Thriving’s work is designed to create lasting change in Grant County, so when you give of your time, talent, and treasure to our mission, YOU become a vital part of creating a movement of change in our community. Join us by donating online today at www.GiveToGrant.org/Thrive or mail a check to 505 West Third Street, Marion, IN 46952. And call us at 765-662-0065 if you’d like to learn more about how you can be involved in supporting this important work.