Communities Count Partnership
Sustainable Seattle and Communities Count are partnering together to promote more effective dissemination and communication about the main social and health trends in King County. Communities Count is a collaboration of stakeholders across King County who are committed to improving community health and well-being through information advocacy—providing accurate and timely reports on conditions that matter to King County residents. Every three years, Communities Count reports on 38 social, economic, health, environmental and cultural indicators. The report is used by city and county governments, public agencies, foundations, human service funders, non-profit agencies, community-based organizations, and residents. The next Communities Count report comes out in December 2008. Much of the Communities Count information is available on B-Sustainable. The Communities Count Community Action Agenda Coordinator (Megan Horst) is housed at the offices of Sustainable Seattle but her work revolved primarily around promoting an Action Agenda based on Communities Count indicators.
In her role as Community Action Agenda Coordinator, Megan's work consists of the following:
a. REPORT DISSEMINATION and BRIEFINGS. Megan is working hard to strategically disseminate the 2008 reports and Communities Count information to those individuals, groups, and agencies poised to take action. To request a copy of the report, or to schedule a briefing of Communities Count 2008 data tailored to your group's needs, please contact Megan Horst at megan(at)sustainableseattle(dot)org.
b. B-SUSTAINABLE. Megan is working to consistently integrate Communities Count information into other important regional data sources, including B-Sustainable.
c. ACTION PARTNERSHIPS. Megan seeks out and develops Action Partnerships with interested community-based organizations and government work groups. If your group is interested in taking action towards the Communities Count Action Agenda, please contact Megan. Some of the current Action Partnerships include:
City Club. City Club is working to promote community action to improve our level of community strength. The Action Agenda Coordinator worked with City Club to compile existing information about our civic engagement - from involvement in community organizations and voting to volunteering rates and participation on arts & culture. We used that information to plan the 2008 Community Matters Campaign, in which the goals were to explore the barriers and opportunities to civic engagement and to move citizens from talk to action. The Report from this Campaign will be available in 2009 on the City Club website. Megan continues to work with City Club, which has been inspired partly by Communities Count to promote a civic report card and to track the organization's own impact on peoples' levels of civic engagement.
Sustainable Communities All Over Puget Sound (SCALLOPS). In this growing partnership, our Action Agenda Coordinator is supporting Sustainable Communities All Over Puget Sound (SCALLOPS).in its growth and in its efforts to promote neighborhood-level action towards sustainability. Megan is continuing discussion with SCALLOPS on how to make regional-level data applicable at the neighborhood-level. She also is exploring ways to strengthen these groups' capacities to act, such as the development of a Toolkit for Action, including a list of promising best practices and local resources.
South King County Committee to End Homelessness - Political Will-Building Group. This group is working to bring attention to the issues of homelessness and affordable housing in South King County. Megan is working with the group to develop "Call to Action" materials for South County cities and other means of building political will.
Sustainable Seattle. The Communities Count Action Agenda Coordinator's role in direct partnership with Sustainable Seattle is many-fold, and includes: assisting with the ongoing development and outreach of B-Sustainable and assisting with the development and implementation of key program areas designed to develop action potential, including the Leadership Lab, Policy Hub, and imagine Tomorrow. Megan will bring a Communities Count perspective to these and other ongoing Sustainable Seattle activities.
University of Washington Students/ United Way of King County/ WA Fair Tax Coalition. This partnership continues to evolve. Megan developed a partnership with the College of the Built Environments at the University of Washington, and has worked with a professor of Urban Planning and 5 Master's Students to develop a project to address the issue of income inequity. The group is currently working as tax prep volunteers through the united Way. In addition, they are collecting data to and will release a report on the local multiplier effect of the Earned Income Tax Credit in King County. As part of this report, they will offer suggestions for stakeholders about how to improve our local EITC uptake and impact. Finally, this group seeks to support the advocacy efforts of the Washington Tax Fairness Coalition and their work in promoting the Washington Working Families Rebate and in addressing other issues affecting working families.
d. ACTION TRACKING. Our Action Coordinator will lead an effort to track the impact of Communities Count on decision-makers and action-takers around the County. This information will help us shape Communities Count to be even more institutionalized among all levels of decision-making.
e. LONG-TERM AGENDA SETTING. Our Communities Count Action Coordinator will seek to develop and implement a more strategic Action Agenda to be used by Communities Count in the yeard ahead.