#76: Civic coalitions succeed at revitalizing towns where governmental efforts can fail

In Lancaster, Pennsylvania, "They realized that the only way they could re-energize downtown was ... by throwing partisan politics out the window and forming a complex adaptive coalition in which business leaders, educators, philanthropists, social innovators and the local government would work together to unleash entrepreneurship and forge whatever compromises were necessary...

"At 7:30 Friday morning in early June, the Hourglass leaders in Lancaster were all sitting around the kitchen table at Art Mann Sr.’s house, as they do every Friday. The seven women and men   representing different Lancaster societal and business interests were discussing the region’s shortage of clean water, because of farm runoff, fertilizer and salt on the streets.

"None is in city government or an elected politician; they’re just respected volunteer community activists who will make a recommendation, based on research, to the city or county to get a problem fixed and help galvanize resources to do it. They all know one another’s party affiliation, but they’ve checked them at Mann’s front door.

" 'The key to it all is trust,' Mann explained to me. 'Politically we are all different, and our experiences are different. You can only get progress where there is trust. People trust that we are not in it for personal agendas and not partisan agendas.  We will often host elected officials, and they will throw out ideas and we will give them feedback.' ".

See article here.

Shared by Laurel H.