the commons good podcast
Fox Cities, Wisconsin
Launched by community members for community members, Imagine Fox Cities is a coalition of local change-makers in Fox Cities, Wisconsin, working as stewards, to create thriving people and places for all. No exceptions.
Fox Cities, Wisconsin isn’t a single city. It’s a collection of towns and villages. It’s Fox River and High Cliff State Park. It’s the Fox Cities Performing Arts Center and the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh, Fox Cities Campus.
The places of Fox Cities are diverse, bridging natural beauty and local industry, connecting a patchwork of communities to create home for nearly 400,000 regional residents.
In 2017, 32 of these residents launched Imagine Fox Cities to celebrate all that Fox Cities has to offer—and to imagine the future of Fox Cities not just for tomorrow, but for generations to come.
Learn more about the work of Imagine Fox Cities and the six-month discovery process on Community Commons.
North Sound, WA
Dedicated systems stewards, or changemakers, from across the North Sound region work together to increase equitable well-being. Five years ago, these leaders created a pathway for transformative change, launching the state’s first Accountable Community of Health (ACH).
Medicaid transformation is not an easy undertaking, requiring coordination of complex health plans and government regulations within and across clinic and community settings. The structure of the ACH, however, is meant to give regional leaders room to experiment and to meet the unique needs of their community members.
Learn more about how the North Sound ACH team began looking beyond medical services to understand–and address–barriers to equitable well-being.
Pivotal Moves in Action
Pivotal Moves are decisive actions that could begin now and change the course of community life relatively quickly. Contributors to The Springboard share more about their pivotal moves.
Sarah Milligan-Toffler | Executive Director, Children & Nature Network
We are working on a few cross-cutting concepts, particularly around reopening schools: How can we use the whole school environment, including the outdoors, to get kids back to school? We know that the virus does not seem to spread as easily outdoors and it’s much easier to physically distance outdoors than it is indoors.
By taking learning outdoors, we also gain all of the benefits that come from active hands-on learning. With this one intervention–greening of schoolyards in every community–we are positioned to close achievement gaps, health gaps, support community cohesion, improve mental health, and more. And, when we think about communities that might not have access to safe parks and green space, the school yard can become that place in a community.
We are also thinking about how we could put young people in our communities to work, to help build outdoor classrooms and the human and physical infrastructure we know will support our health and wellbeing. We are particularly interested in green infrastructure–and how we can work together to implement a larger vision to create health and well-being for all.
Somava Saha | Founder and Executive Lead, Well Being & Equity (WE) in the World / Executive Lead, Well Being In the Nation (WIN) Network
One of the ways we gathered information to write the measurement section of the Springboard was to host a series of conversations during the Well Being Iin the Nation (WIN) Week. The conversations really centered and listened to the voices of people in communities, including large networks of people with lived experience from Latinx, immigrant, Black communities, and other backgrounds. What emerged from those conversations was the need to very intentionally center explicitly on racial justice if we are to create the conditions for thriving for our nation.
We have always consideredlooked at the measurements we haved–the Well Being Iin the Nation Measures–as a living library of measures focused on the well-being of people, the well-being of places, and equity. We have been looking together looked at what we are learning in the context of COVID-19, but also in this moment of clarity around racial injustice and the legacies of our country. We committed as the WIN Measurement Cooperative that, as we begin the relook at the WIN Measures over the next year to update the WIN Measres over the next year based on what had been learned during this year, we would use an explicit racial justice lens in addition to the broader equity lens these measures are already grounded in.
We will work to make sure what we’re learning across the chapters of the Springboard are considered for inclusion into our national measurement processes–and to advance the federal data strategy around equitable data, infrastructure, and investment with a focus in communities that need it the most.
Paula Daniels | Co-Founder, Center for Good Food Purchasing
Historically, the food sector has suffered from the fact that it is dis-aggregated and siloized in different issue areas related to food. There’s a lot of focus on agriculture production for its own sake, a focus on food access for its own sake, on public health alone, or on only labor. Part of the effort that I’ve been involved in for the last 10 years is to bring all the pieces together, because it operates as an interdependent system. We need to expand our thinking as a society to see food as the system that it is, understand how economic levers drive it all, and how that needs to shift.
During COVID-19, we are shifting toward the realization that food is an essential service. If we build on the idea of recognizing something as an essential service, then it becomes more likely to also be perceived as a public good. With that lens we can start making shifts in the food system so that it serves people in a holistic way–and in a way that isn’t extractive or polluting of the environment, or exploitive of its workforce in order to be cheap.
Some of the key ideas in the Springboard related to food are ideas that we’ve been discussing for a long time. This effort will accelerate actions, highlighting how we can work better going forward, how we can build a more regional and resilient food system.
Tyler Norris | Chief Executive, Well Being Trust
Our mission is to improve mental health and well-being in the country, specifically to save a hundred thousand lives from deaths of despair. This means addressing the mental health crisis in the country that was with us prior, but has only been exacerbated by the economic and social dislocation of COVID, and is even more pressing in the profound civil rights moment that is in front of all of us, right now.
In the Springboard, Well Being Trust and partners brought forward a powerful idea to transform the mental health workforce, to become a community-centered mental health workforce. We are lifting up an approach to build out a community centered workforce that could match a redesigned mental health delivery system with distributed access points to care.
And so this idea of building on contact tracing–to become enhanced contact tracing–would include assessments of social needs and referral to community-based organizations that could address anything from housing insecurity or food insecurity. This means jobs for People of Color, and those with lived experience, who then become part of driving the mental health workforce of the future, expanding access to care for all–and in culturally appropriate, affordable, and accessible ways.