We're rolling out the 50 finalists for the 2017 Route Fifty Navigator Awards. Here are the first 10 ...
2017 Navigator Award Finalists: Government Allies and Cross-Sector PartnersStart
We’re excited to roll out the first 10 of our 50 Route Fifty Navigator Awards individual and team finalists!
We'll kick things off by announcing the the 10 finalists from the Government Allies and Cross-Sector Partners category. Stay tuned for the finalists from the four other Navigator Award categories in the next few weeks.
Click through this slideshow to learn more about the first 10 finalists ...
— Michael Grass
Executive Editor, Route Fifty
Government Executive Media Group
- Building an Innovative Co-Located Housing and Wellness Center
- Creating a Successful Template for Cross-Sector Stakeholder Dialogue
- Thinking About User-Centric Design and How to Make Smarter Choices
- A Cross-Sector Effort to Simplify Municipal Permitting and Licensing
- An Interdisciplinary and Cross-Sector Collaboration in Indiana
- Leveraging Casino Revenue for Smarter Economic Development
- Providing a Sustainable, Local Pipeline of Trained Workers
- Leveraging the Power of Data to Build More Resilient Communities
- A Cross-Sector Approach to Build a Downtown Fiber Backbone
- Building a Movement to Improve Municipal Data Practices and Standards
- NextCreating a Successful Template for Cross-Sector Stakeholder Dialogue Next:Creating a Successful Template for Cross-Sector Stakeholder Dialogue Previous2017 Navigator Award Finalists: Government Allies and Cross-Sector PartnersPrevious:2017 Navigator Award Finalists: Government Allies and Cross-Sector Partners
Building an Innovative Co-Located Housing and Wellness Center
As president and CEO of Native American Connections, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit corporation that’s provided comprehensive behavioral health services, affordable housing, and community-based economic development opportunities since 1972 in the Phoenix area, Diana Yazzie Devine led a team that developed Cedar Crossing, a LEED Platinum-certified complex that co-locates affordable housing with a residential treatment facility and wellness center.
Cedar Crossing, which opened last year, is about two miles north of downtown Phoenix and includes 74 affordable housing units. Its neighbor is the Patina Wellness Center, a LEED Silver-certified 70-bed residential treatment facility and wellness center that offers substance-abuse treatment, specialized services for pregnant women and other supportive services.
Many residents of Cedar Crossing were once homeless or are at risk of homelessness and have substance-abuse or mental health issues. About 50 percent who are served are Native American, which is part of NAC’s service mission. The wellness center combines evidence-based treatment practices with Native American healing and ceremonies, integrated medical care and alternative therapies.
When trying to deliver social services, including housing for those who are unsheltered or at risk of becoming homeless, there are often success stories when residents are surrounded by support, resources and pathways to stability. But it wasn’t a simple task to pull together financing and resources to cover the development costs for Cedar Crossing, which were $17.5 million and the Patina Wellness Center, which were $7.1 million.
Devine and her team successfully brought together a variety of cross-sector stakeholders, including the Phoenix Housing Department, the Arizona Community Foundation, the Federal Home Loan Bank of San Francisco Affordable Housing Program Development Fund, the Raza Development Fund, the Gila River Indian Community, the Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community and the Virginia G. Piper Charitable Trust, to make the vision a reality.
Route Fifty is pleased to name Devine as a Navigator Award finalist in the Government Allies and Cross-Sector category for her impactful work and leadership.
Creating a Successful Template for Cross-Sector Stakeholder Dialogue
The University of Pittsburgh’s Institute of Politics is a trusted community partner, not just in Steel City, but across Western Pennsylvania. The institute is an independent, community-supported organization, operating under the auspices of the university. Its mission is to deliver timely information on complex public policy issues affecting the region to elected officials, community leaders and the public they serve by providing a neutral forum where diverse viewpoints are discussed, digested, enriched and applied to the goal of promoting improved quality of life, government efficiency and economic vitality in Pittsburgh and across Western Pennsylvania.
Like many places around the nation, leaders in Allegheny County, which includes Pittsburgh, have been looking at ways to improve the criminal justice system—in particular, they’ve been interested in what would make the county’s criminal justice system more fair and less costly, without compromising public safety in the process. The institute brought together 40 civic leaders for a Criminal Justice Task Force, to examine possible options for the county. They met monthly for a year, explored best practices, sought expert insights and fostered civil discussion aimed at consensus building.
Their efforts culimnated in the release of a report, “Criminal Justice in the 21st Century: Improving Incarceration Policies and Practices in Allegheny County,” which has been used as a framework for ongoing discussions with other stakeholder organizations, officials and law enforcement agencies. The discussions and collaborations that led to that report have laid the foundation for how to approach other tough policy challenges, like the region’s response to the opioid epidemic.
The Criminal Justice Task Force’s executive team is co-chaired by Mark Nordenberg, Chancellor Emeritus of the University of Pittsburgh, and Chair of the Institute of Politics, and Fred Thieman, The Henry Buhl Jr. Chair for Civic Leadership of the Buhl Foundation; other team members include, Terry Miller, director of the Institute of Politics; Aaron Lauer, policy analyst, Institute of Politics; Erin Dalton, deputy director, Office of Data Analysis, Research, and Evaluation in the Allegheny County Department of Human Services; and Kathy McCauley, manager of strategic planning in the Allegheny County Department of Human Services.
We’re happy to recognize their good work as a Navigator Award team finalist.
Thinking About User-Centric Design and How to Make Smarter Choices
“Town-gown” relations, a term used to describe the dynamic between local government and university officials, can sometimes be fractious depending on the institution and municipality. But that’s not necessarily the case in Durham, North Carolina, where collaborative town-gown efforts with Duke University’s Sanford School of Public Policy have led to a recurring forum the city and county of Durham hosts called IdeaLab.
The goal is to build innovation capacity to address some local challenges. Leading the efforts are Ryan Smith of the Sanford School and Mariel Beasley of Duke’s Center for Advanced Hindsight.
Smith connected strategic initiative staffers with Beasley, who led an IdeaLab workshop on behavioral economics, which led to three separate behavioral economics projects within the city and county. The work not only created internal capacity by building staff innovation skills, it also has led to operational improvements.
The behavioral economics projects included studying why residents throw recyclable materials into the waste stream; focusing on the behavior choices that lead employees to focus on or neglect personal health and wellness; and exploring interventions that could lead local public schools to achieve better compliance in school fire inspections.
There have also been trainings on human-centered design, which have been used to try to improve recruitment and retention efforts with Durham County’s Emergency Medical Services Department and Sheriff’s Office. The process emphasized getting input from frontline employees and creating solutions with them, not for them.
When thinking about how to improve local government services, it’s important to step back and think about the steps that people use to make decisions—whether they’re constituents or public-sector employees.
We’re pleased to recognize the ongoing, innovative and collaborative efforts in Durham, led by Smith and Beasley, who are among our 50 Navigator Award finalists.
A Cross-Sector Effort to Simplify Municipal Permitting and Licensing
Rhode Island is among the few states that lack county-level governments. Instead, the Ocean State has 39 separate municipalities, each one having their own procedures when it comes to licensing and permitting. That patchwork quilt of rules, as you can probably imagine, can be mind boggling for small business owners to navigate.
The Rhode Island Commerce Corporation, the state’s quasi-public economic development agency dedicated to improving Rhode Island’s economy, wants to help meet some of those challenges by making licensing and permitting processes better.
Elizabeth Tanner, an attorney with experience opening a small business in the state, serves as executive vice president of client services at the Rhode Island Commerce Corporation and has helped lead the “Municipality Initiative,” an effort that aims to streamline the business registration and licensing process across the state’s local governments. There are three goals: standardization of forms; creating efficient processes; and the reviewing licenses and permits that might be antiquated.
The $3,000 cost of the program is shared by the Rhode Island Commerce Corporation, the Rhode Island Foundation and the municipalities.
And the results have been significant. According to a Navigator Awards nomination, “credit cards are now accepted, many council approvals have been eliminated for routine business needs, paper usage has dropped, fees reduced, burdensome items eliminated, forms can be found online and yes, email addresses collected.”
In one municipality where there had been 40 different forms, there is now one.
Route Fifty is pleased to recognize these cross-sector efforts in Rhode Island as one of our 50 Navigator Award finalists.
An Interdisciplinary and Cross-Sector Collaboration in Indiana
An interdisciplinary team at Indiana University, led by professor David Wild at the School of Informatics, has collaborated with city and county leaders in the Bloomington area on a variety of fronts aimed at improving local public services through twice-monthly meetings to brainstorm new projects, identify enhancements to current projects and check on the status of assigned tasks.
One area of focus has been improving emergency response by local police, fire and EMTs. And that’s resulted in the installation of data screens in two of Bloomington’s five fire stations that display addresses, mapped routes, and pertinent information about the nature of an emergency call that can be easily digested as crews respond to the call.
Such an interface could cost upwards of $1,000 each, but the cross-sector team—which included IU’s Information Technology Services, IU undergraduate and graduate students, Bloomington’s IT personnel, Monroe County Consolidated Dispatch and Netgate, a European public safety company—found a way to get costs below $100.
We’re happy to recognize this team effort in Indiana as a Navigator Award finalist.
Leveraging Casino Revenue for Smarter Economic Development
Local jurisdictions with casinos often try to use gaming revenue to fuel local economic development. The usual route local officials follow is to use that revenue for public safety and infrastructure improvements.
A few years ago in Erie County, Pennsylvania, local stakeholders wanted to try something different. Erie County Gaming Revenue Authority Executive Director Perry N. Wood, who has overseen the local investment of $40 million in casino revenue since 2011, envisioned an “impact investor model” for this county in the northwestern corner of the Keystone State, built “to catalyze local non-profit organizations, universities, private business, as well as local government,” according to a Navigator Awards nomination.
The result would lead to IgniteErie, an entrepreneur and small business accelerator network, and ongoing collaborations with local academic partners, including Dr. Ralph Ford, the chancellor of Penn State-Erie, The Behrend College.
Ignite Erie started in 2013 as a one-day innovation-focused gathering of 350 entrepreneurs, educators, policy makers and local elected officials. But it’s grown into something larger and impactful for the county.
In 2014, ECGRA rolled out a three-part, $6 million funding strategy built upon the outcomes from the one-day meeting, aimed at:
- Utilizing small business development as a tool to catalyze new resources in inner-city neighborhoods and commercial districts suffering from blight and disinvestment;
- Inspiring meaningful partnerships between Erie, Pa., colleges, universities, and industry;
- Accelerating intellectual property-based products and technology transfer to companies through industry+university and venture partnership models;
- Providing Erie, Pa., companies access to new and hybrid financial products at the micro-finance, debt, and venture capital levels; Leveraging private investments; and
- Creating jobs through investments in the region’s small businesses.
Since 2014, ECGRA has invested $200,000 in inner-city small business development through two partners, Bridgeway Capital Inc. and the Urban Erie Community Development Corporation. In 2015, ECGRA invested $750,000 in the Ignite Erie Industry+University Business Acceleration Collaborative and committed $5 million in mission-related investments to the Erie Innovation Fund managed by Ben Franklin Technology Partners; Bridgeway Capital; the Enterprise Development Fund managed by DevelopErie; Penn Venture Partners; and The Progress Fund.
Economic development often depends on strong complementary workforce development initiatives, and that’s where Penn State-Erie and other local education partners have been important to sustain those investments.
“By co-locating students, faculty members and industry partners in shared space, with access to the region’s most advanced technology, we are removing many of the obstacles that can limit the development or refinement of products. Here, when inspiration hits, you have immediate access to the tools and talent you need to make that idea a reality,” Ford said in a Navigator Awards nomination.
Providing a Sustainable, Local Pipeline of Trained Workers
Like many other local jurisdictions in North Carolina, Iredell County and the town of Mooresville, located north of Charlotte, have looked for ways to boost their economic development fortunes as manufacturing, workforce and job-training trends have shifted.
The Iredell County Workforce and Education Alignment Council has worked to identify job growth, economic, and educational opportunities for the local area, involving a coalition of cross-sector partners, including representatives from the county and town government, a regional workforce development board, the state’s NCWorks job search program, Mitchell Community College, local public schools, the Mooresville-South Iredell Economic Development and Statesville Regional Development organizations and local business and industry stakeholders.
Among those opportunities that emerged through the council: Providing local job seekers with free training to become a Certified Production Technician.
The council identified three goals in its efforts to align workforce and education within the community and “provided a sustainable pipeline of trained workers” for the local manufacturing sector: 1.) Become a Certified ACT WorkReady Community; 2.) establish the North Carolina Manufacturing Institute at Mitchell Community College; and 3.) create and implement a marketing campaign targeting middle school through college-age students to educate students and their parents on the possibilities of manufacturing careers in Iredell County. That included the implementation of the SPARK program, which was marketed specifically to middle school through college-age students, their parents, adult workers and incumbent workers.
Some of the results, according to businesses working with the NCMI: A growth in career awareness, reduced first-year injuries, reduced turnover and lower staffing costs. Since all that can help lead to a stronger local economy, these cross-sector efforts are good first steps to address what are long-term workforce challenges that so many communities face.
We’re please to recognize this team effort from Iredell County as one of our 50 Navigator Award finalists.
Leveraging the Power of Data to Build More Resilient Communities
How can local governments find ways to compare notes when it comes to the complexities of creating more resilient infrastructure? A cross-sector partnership that includes the expertise of three women—all former federal government officials and staffers who are dedicated to boosting investment in resilient communities—is helping more than 40 cities answer that question through The Atlas Marketplace.
The group aims to leverage “the power of big data to implement an online social network and marketplace for city officials upgrading infrastructure systems to be stronger, smarter and more sustainable.”
In a Navigator Awards nomination, Greg Guibert, the chief resilience officer in Boulder, Colorado, touted some of the benefits he’s found working with The Atlas Marketplace, including searching for “other cities dealing with similar challenges and to connect on the platform with staff in other cities to ask questions about how a project or technology is working or not working,” plus reviewing other cities’ requests for proposals to make writing procurement documents easier and uploading Boulder’s own RFPs so the Atlas team can “hand-deliver solicitations to a wider range of relevant potential bidders.”
The Atlas team, including co-founders Elle Hempen and Ellory Monks, Shalini Vajjhala, has worked with the Brookings Institution, American Public Works Association and National Association of Counties as key organizational partners.
All these resources and assistance come at no cost to the partner cities, which may end up including 150 local governments by the end of the 2017.
We’re please to recognize the Atlas team as one of our 50 Navigator Award finalists.
A Cross-Sector Approach to Build a Downtown Fiber Backbone
Collaborating across a handful of local governmental and stakeholder organizations on a major civic improvement is often an incremental process. That includes planning and implementing a vision for a downtown broadband fiber network that can foster economic growth.
In Eugene, Oregon, efforts to build a broadband network that delivers gigabit-speed internet connectivity in the downtown area started in 2012, when the city received a federal grant to host a series of community stakeholder meetings to gather input for the development of an implementation plan.
That would lead to today’s collaborative partnership on the EugNet broadband project, which includes the nonprofit Technology Association of Oregon, along with the Eugene’s city government, the Lane Council of Governments, and the Eugene Water and Electric Board.
A strategic plan was created in 2013, which led to a pilot project downtown that would connect three buildings utilizing spare capacity in EWEB electrical conduit, minimizing street work disruptions—and high costs—that normally go with broadband installation. In 2016, the Eugene City Council approved a plan that would expand the broadband project to include additional 125 buildings downtown through the EugNet efforts.
EWEB, which owns and operates the conduit, offers fiber access to any telecommunications or internet service provider for a reasonable lease rate. Private-sector service providers have equal access to the infrastructure, creating a competitive environment for broadband services.
Among those involved in the EugNet project to date have included Pam Berrian and Bill Ellis from the city of Eugene; Milo Mecham from the Lane County Council of Governments; Dean Ahlsten from the Eugene Water and Electric Board; and Matt Sayre of Technology Association of Oregon.
Route Fifty is pleased to recognize their cross-sector efforts in Eugene as Navigator Award finalists.
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Building a Movement to Improve Municipal Data Practices and Standards
Of philanthropic endeavours in the U.S. municipal space in recent years, there is perhaps no cross-sector initiative that has built a larger geographic footprint than What Works Cities, a Bloomberg Philanthropies-funded program that started with a handful of participating mid-size cities in April 2015 and plans to grow to include 100 participating cities by the end of this year.
What Works Cities, which is managed by Results for America in collaboration with a team of other partner organizations, can point to a wide array of results in performance management, transparency, access to data and the adoption of best practices and data-driven decisionmaking strategies.
Since the inception of What Works Cities more than two years ago, Route Fifty has tracked the growth of the network and the work that’s been done with program partners, including the Center for Government Excellence at Johns Hopkins University, the Government Performance Lab at Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government, the Sunlight Foundation and the Behavioral Insights Team.
Part of the initiative’s early promise was the goal of “developing a broad, citywide capacity for using data and evidence, rewarding local efforts that drive truly systemic, sustainable culture change.” That common set of standards for operations and data practices and strategies has evolved into the development of a What Works Cities Certification program, something any city with a population of at least 30,000 residents can pursue. Think of it as an official stamp of approval for well-run municipal governments. Certification, for those that seek it, helps cities reinforce a culture of data-based practices that can sustain those efforts across mayoral administrations.
That’s an important measure of long-term investments in local government operations.
Last year, Route Fifty recognized Beth Blauer, the executive director of the Center for Government Excellence at Johns Hopkins University, as a Navigator Award finalist for her efforts to help jumpstart and build What Works Cities.
This year, we’re pleased to recognize the entire What Works Cities team as Navigator Award finalists, and want to point out a few individuals involved in the program, including Simone Brody, executive director of What Works Cities; and Carter Hewgley, the former director of analytics and performance at the Center for Government Excellence (who recently left for a new position with the District of Columbia government), who have helped in its success.