The University of Findlay, in partnership with United Way of Hancock County and the Findlay-Hancock County Community Foundation, will announce details on Wednesday, Dec. 7 about a new Center for Civic Engagement (CCE). The event will be held at 2 p.m. in the Davis Street Building lobby.
The Center builds from the positive growth and passionate energy of the Findlay-Hancock County community and supports local coalitions in their efforts to address the region’s most complex social issues. These issues are adversely impacting citizens, but they can be reduced or eliminated through collaborative, trusting relationships among the various entities already doing tremendous work in the community. Findlay-Hancock County is instituting a process, coalition building for collective impact, that has proven to be highly effective in other cities, and theCCE is helping to foster this process community-wide through support and administrative assistance.
The CCE will be located in UF’s Center for Student Life and College of Business, which is expected to open in summer 2017. It will focus on identifying collaborative ways to collectively address citizens’ most pressing needs. In particular, it will unite existing agencies and individuals so that assistance is offered more comprehensively and effectively. The space, which will welcome those from the community and UF campus, will foster dialogue to create social initiatives regarding food insecurity; literacy; transportation; housing; substance abuse and mental health; the workforce; and safety, abuse and security.
More than 100 agencies, representing public, private, and social sectors, already provide varied and valuable services, but have not necessarily coordinated with each other to maximize their efforts, organizers say. “The CCE is the backbone support for it all,” said Tricia Valasek, grants manager for the University.
Valasek is part of a campus team that is launching the CCE. Others include Randy Van Dyne, assistant vice president of sponsored programs and professional services who is also serving on the Raise the Bar Hancock County coalition; Chris Ward, Ed.D., business professor; and Kevin Renshler, Ph.D., College of Business dean. The group has been working since November 2015 to educate agency leaders about the CCE concept and to train facilitators on the coalition building process being implemented community-wide.
Valasek said UF is honored to lead the charge by contributing academic and organizational expertise, and space for collaboration. As it continues to bring together those interested in working on collective impact strategies, the University will also seek resources and funding from the public and private sectors to hire a director and maximize the CCE’s capabilities, she said.