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L'Arche Project Impact Reports

November 1, 2021

During 2020 and 2021, six L'Arche communities from across the United States participated in an evaluation capacity building experience called Project Impact, facilitated by the team at Dialogues In Action. Project Impact is a participatory, empowerment approach to evaluation. The approach is a self-generated, reflexive practice grounded in curiosity. The first cohort of three communities (Greater Washington D.C., Jacksonville, and Spokane) during 2020 and the second cohort of three communities (Boston North, Cleveland, and Tahoma) during 2021 gathered teams from their communities to engage in the project. Each of the six communities implemented a mixed-methods self-study of the impact of L'Arche in the lives of its members.The initial phase of the project was focused on developing the ideas of intention. This included the formulation of an impact framework including impacts, indicators, and principles of change. The second phase of the project was focused on designing data collection methodologies and implementing both a qualitative approach using in-depth interviews and a quantitative approach using an outcomes survey. The third phase of the project involved the application of the findings from the data for responses and strategies going forward.After each community implemented their own self-studies, the team leaders convened to consider the intersection of their learning in meta-themes, those insights that are shared among the six communities as a sample of the L'Arche communities throughout the United States. The combined report is presented in this chapter and is followed by reports from each individual community

Town & Gown: Building Successful University - Community Collaborations

January 28, 2019

Around the world, communities are working to take advantage of the technology revolution now propelling the global shift toward an information-based society, in which knowledge is the new capital and higher education is the new machine. Jacksonville, even with some of the necessary machinery in place, needs to build its intellectual infrastructure, which includes everything from improving high school graduation rates to attracting more research dollars into the local economy. Despite the recent rapid growth of the community and its higher education institutions, neither the community nor its colleges and universities have worked together in a strategic, comprehensive way to position Jacksonville for the future.The Town and Gown study committee began by identifying current and potential roles for both the community and higher education institutions in building the intellectual capacity of Jacksonville. In doing this, the committee reviewed the historical growth of higher education in the community. The committee then examined how higher education institutions were meeting the needs of the local community, and whether the community was supporting those endeavors. Lastly, the study committee identified successful efforts in other communities where strategic collaborations between institutions of higher education and the community have produced tangible results.The committee found that Jacksonville has reached a critical juncture in its history. Nothing less than the future of the community is in question. On the one hand, the future can be shaped through a deliberate, thoughtful, and intentional focus on building a community that recognizes knowledge and the acquisition of knowledge as a valuable local commodity beneficial to every resident's quality of life. On the other hand, the community (town) and its colleges and universities (gown) can continue growing along separate paths and Jacksonville may lose the opportunity to own its destiny in a world increasingly driven by intellect, ideas, and innovation.To compete globally and improve its quality of life, the Jacksonville community has to work locally with its higher education institutions to: develop sustained leadership in every sector of the community, including government, business, and higher education, to work towards building Jacksonville's intellectual infrastructure; create and implement a strategic vision that improves the quality of life in all areas of the community by co-opting the teaching, research, and service roles of universities for the betterment of Jacksonville as a whole; and build active collaborations between higher education and community institutions to carry out that vision as well as prepareJacksonville and its residents for meeting the opportunities and the challenges of the 21st century and beyond.

Recession Recovery...and Beyond: A Regional Study

January 25, 2019

The Great Recession of 2007-09, as pundits are now calling it, hit Northeast Florida brutally. A regional economy that had been fueled by population and construction growth, consistently doing better than the national average, saw unemployment skyrocket when the housing market collapsed, the economy retracted, and population growth slowed to a trickle.Jacksonville Community Council Inc. (JCCI) surveyed the community to identify residents' top priority for in-depth study. Job growth far surpassed any other regional issue. Volunteers and partner organizations from the seven-county region came together to explore new ideas for retaining existing jobs, rapidly creating new jobs, and for positioning the region for long-term economic growth.The study committee visited the seven partner counties (Baker, Clay, Duval, Flagler, Nassau, Putnam, and St. Johns), examined existing job development plans and economic development strategies for the region, and explored promising practices from other regions that were achieving success despite the national economic climate.The resulting recommendations are designed to enhance economic development and job creation, signaling to the state and nation that Northeast Florida is open for business.Implementation of these recommendations will highlight Northeast Florida's existing assets and strengthen its competitive advantages in the economic world. Most significantly, action will build on Northeast Florida's successes and enhance the combined regional approach to competing in the global marketplace.First, the region must focus on its key regional growth industries. The primary immediate opportunities for substantial job creation in the region are in the areas of:* port logistics and associated industries* health and medical sciences* aviation/aerospace and defense contracting* financial servicesSecond, the region must bring its business and education sectors together in a shared emphasis to build and maintain an educated and skilled workforce. Shifting economic realities, along with the skill sets required for job growth, necessitate the training (or re-training) of local workers and the retention of these skilled local workers in their employment positions. It also prescribes the need for attracting talented workers from around the world.Third, economic success will require even more emphasis on encouraging the growth of small businesses. Enhancing the region's entrepreneurial spirit is critical to sustaining a vibrant economy. Improving access to support for small business development and expansion holds the potential for creating more jobs and more business owners.Fourth, the region requires both a vibrant urban heart and an expanded vision of its assets and aspirations – unfettered by current boundary definitions. The outsider's view of Northeast Florida often begins with Jacksonville and its downtown core. A good first impression of the city, along with having strong economic development partners with a variety of different attributes, can have long term positive implications. Successful regional economic development also means rethinking the regions boundary lines and embracing all the potential Northeast Florida has to offer – such as the research capacities demonstrated by the University of FloridaFifth, regional leadership must come together to encourage economic growth and enhance the business-ready environment of Northeast Florida. Regional leadership (political, business, and community) must maintain focus on reducing issues that unnecessarily add roadblocks to sustainable economic growth, by streamlining regulation and permitting processes, in order to improve Northeast Florida's competitiveness and economic success.Together, the implementation of these recommendations can accelerate short-term job creation and, more significantly, strengthen the region's ability to sustain economic growth for years to come.

Reuse and Revitalization in Jacksonville: Discovering the Value of Older Buildings and Blocks

January 11, 2019

Jacksonville is rediscovering the value of its older urban core. This report from the Preservation Green Lab of the National Trust for Historic Preservation highlights how Jacksonville's older buildings and blocks are already outperforming newer areas of the city across many sustainable development metrics. But they can become even stronger. Analysis of data from city, state, and national sources points to numerous areas of the city with high potential for successful reinvestment and revitalization. Unlocking this potential requires stronger incentives, innovative new policies, and increased awareness and capacity in the nonprofit, government, and private sectors. Using a methodology developed by the Preservation Green Lab, this study includes an analysis of all of Jacksonville's existing structures to assess the connections between the character of the city's building stock and more than 30 measures of neighborhood livability, economic vitality, and diversity.

Downtown Jacksonville Our Assets and Opportunities

November 13, 2017

This report is focused on the heart of Downtown: Jacksonville's Northbank from the Prime Osborne Convention Center to the Stadium, from the St. Johns River to State Street.We did not include Brooklyn and the Southbank –two areas that are sometimes included in definitions of "downtown." Neither of those areas faces the level of development challenges that confront the heart of downtown.The report draws on data from a number of resources:Duval County Property Appraiser's records as of August 2017;Duval County property value data from 2017 preliminary tax roll;JEA;Duval County Tax Collector;Walker Parking Consultants Study.In addition, the study author made extensive on-site validation of property conditions.The report uses multiple measures to quantify downtown. Downtown Acres:An acre is a standard unit of measure equal to 4,840 square yards. An acre is about ¾ the size of an NFL football field.Downtown Parcels:A parcel is the unit by which properties are valued. It is a highly variable unit of measure. A parcel can be a piece of land of any size that is either "improved" (meaning it has structures on it or it has a designated use, such as a park) or vacant (meaning it has no structures nor any designated use). A parcel also can be a building of any size, even an entire city block, i.e. City Hall; or it can be a single residential or office condo unit within a building.Downtown Buildings:Though highly variable as a unit of measure, buildings are more familiar to most readers than "parcels."

Quality of Life Progress Report 31st Edition

February 15, 2017

For more than 30 years, JCCI has partnered with major Jacksonville stakeholders and organizations like United Way of Northeast Florida and JAX Chamber to bring our community this report. Its purpose is to give residents, leaders, and decision-makers a comprehensive look at the quality of life in Jacksonville. It uses numbers and trends to tell a story about how we live and what is changing. Some changes are welcome and are the result of focused community investment over many years, which is the case with the graduation rate. Other trend line changes are short and sharp, as seen in the two-year spike in serious bicycle accidents from 2010-12.While priorities of what to track have changed since JCCI's beginnings, some of the indicators have been maintained for three decades. The JAX2025 visioning project organized these indicators into ten targets of focus, narrowing in on goals for specific indicators to reach. For this year's progress report, we've included the longest trend lines possibleto reflect the longtime look that JCCI's indicator tracking provides.Very few communities in the U.S. have access to such long trend lines. Taken as a whole, these long-term trends show how our city has changed. Perhaps more exciting, they paint a picture of how social conditions improve, or worsen, in relation to other conditions. For example; a common belief is that crime will increase as poverty increases. This report shows that in our community, this is not so.

Connecting the Dots: Data Use in Afterschool Systems

May 31, 2016

Afterschool programs are seen as a way to keep low-income children safe and to foster the skills needed to succeed in school and life. Many cities are creating afterschool systems to ensure that such programs are high-quality and widely available. One way to do so is to ensure afterschool systems develop and maintain a data system.This interim report presents early findings from a study of how afterschool systems build their capacity to understand and improve their practices through their data systems. It examines afterschool data systems in nine cities that are part of The Wallace Foundation's Next Generation Afterschool System-Building initiative, a multi-year effort to strengthen systems that support access to and participation in high-quality afterschool programs for low-income youth. The cities are Baltimore, Md., Denver, Colo., Fort Worth, Texas, Grand Rapids, Mich., Jacksonville, Fla.,Louisville, Ky., Nashville, Tenn., Philadelphia, Pa., and Saint Paul, Minn.To date, research on data use in afterschool systems has focused more on the implementation of technology than on what it takes to develop and sustain effective data use. This study found that the factors that either enabled or hampered the use of data in afterschool systems—such as norms and routines, partner relationships, leadership and coordination, and technical knowledge—had as much to do with the people and process components of the systems as with the technology.Strategies that appear to contribute to success include:    Starting small. A number of cities intentionally started with a limited set of goals for data collection and use, and/or a limited set of providers piloting a new data system, with plans to scale up gradually.    Ongoing training. Stakeholders learned that high staff turnover required ongoing introductory trainings to help new hires use management information systems and data. Providing coaching and developing manuals also helped to mitigate the effects of turnover and to further the development of more experienced and engaged staff.    Outside help. Systems varied in how they used the expertise of outside research partners. Some cities identified a research partner who participated in all phases of the development of their data systems. Others used the relationship primarily to help analyze and report data collected by providers. Still others did not engage external research partner, but identified internal staff to support the system. In any of these scenarios, dedicated staffers with skills in data analytics were key.

Anchoring Equitable Development: Anchor Institute-Led Models of Housing and Community Development to Strengthen Institutions and Communities

January 29, 2016

In April 2014, a convening of national housing equity experts was hosted in Jacksonville, Florida by the Jessie Ball duPont Fund. The convening's purpose was to gain insight from national stakeholders on affordable housing and equitable development challenges and opportunities in Jacksonville. From this two-day engagement, a number of major challenges and opportunities facing Jacksonville's housing development were clearly identified. Two of these findings directly inform this research effort.First, to meet the needs of Jacksonville's marginalized communities, an intentional focus on equity must stay at the forefront of community housing and development strategies. Second, if equity-focused development efforts are better aligned with health and/or educational stakeholders, affordable housing and equitable development could blossom in Jacksonville.Stable and affordable housing is essential to educational success and positive health outcomes for families and for communities. While the linkage between housing and educational and health outcomes is clear, educational and health stakeholders have not traditionally been deeply engaged in meeting housing need. Emerging initiatives across the country are countering this disengagement, demonstrating the important role that anchor institutions can play in supporting local housing needs. Community anchor institutions, such as educational entities (particularly higher education) and health care organizations can be powerful institutional resources to support equitable housing and community development. Throughout the nation, successful anchor institute-led housing interventions have been transformational in addressing community housing needs and community revitalization. These efforts have been most effective when equity goals are integrated into the design and implementation of anchor institute-led housing efforts.The following report provides select case studies with a strong social equity focus and comparability to Jacksonville. We identify lessons learned and summarize models which can be equally transformative in Jacksonville from these case studies. We also draw upon recent research and scholarship, and our own interviews with experts and practitioners. The goal of providing these lessons learned and model practices is to help inform, and potentially engage, various anchor institutes in Jacksonville -- organizations with resources that could help meet community housing needs and support equitable community development. This could help strengthen social, educational, economic and health outcomes for all of Jacksonville, including its most vulnerable residents.

Jacksonville Block by Block: Our Homes, Our Neighborhoods, Our Opportunities

October 1, 2015

This study is based on what The Reinvestment Fund calls a "Market Value Analysis" -- a tool designed to help private markets, government officials and philanthropy identify and comprehend the various elements of local real estate markets.By using the analysis, public sector officials, non-profits/philanthropy and private market actors can more precisely craft intervention strategies in weak markets and support sustainable growth in stronger market segments.The Market Value Analysis looks at communities at the Census block group level to discover the variations of housing market health, stability and opportunity in neighborhoods. It is based fundamentally on local administrative data sources.The analysis focuses on residential real estate because neighborhoods are -- first and foremost -- places where people live. The analysis then overlays other elements -- transportation, jobs, etc. -- to provide a more complete picture. The analysis is done at the Census block group level because even within discreet neighborhoods there can be significant variation. By identifying pockets of opportunity or concern early, communities can effectively "draft" on market forces or act before problems expand.

Building Actionville: 2015 Election Guide: Determining if Your Candidate is #On Target

January 16, 2015

In September 2012, JAX2025 asked Jacksonville to Imagine a better future. 16,000 voices responded, by survey and in person, and created a Vision with 10 Targets for action. Each Target included progress measures and strategies for success. In May 2013, the JAX2025 Vision was released at a community celebration.The momentum for change built quickly. With shared agreement on what Jacksonville's future should become, alignment among civic, government, and business interests, and the energy created as Jacksonville emerged from recession, great leaps forward have been taken to achieve this vision. From downtown development to economic growth, educational performance to energy conservation, artistic experiences to government transparency, Jacksonville is reaching to build a better future.

Investing In The Future: A Survey of Northeast Florida Nonprofit Organizations

January 13, 2015

This survey tries to understand how nonprofits respond to cash shortfalls. We typically think about nonprofit organizations focusing on their mission or the services they provide to their communities. But nonprofits also must focus on the business side of their operation. Good financial health is crucial for these organizations: a broke nonprofit can't help anyone.The expansive, 78-question survey, looked at everything from revenues and expenses to real estate investments to issues of financial oversight. The upshot? The 90 nonprofits that completed the survey are generally solid financially (with a few caveats) and take a fairly traditional -- some might say conservative -- approach to managing their money.

Children: A JCCI Community Inquiry on Creating Early Learning Success - Final Implementation Report

December 5, 2014

When the Children: 1-2-3 Inquiry process began in Fall 2011, there was widespread agreement among professionals and stakeholders in the early childhood development sector that it was time for Jacksonville to become a place where all newborns, infants, and toddlers can thrive. In Duval County, 30 percent of children entering kindergarten could not pass the test that shows they are prepared for school learning, virtually assuring years of difficulty in keeping up with their classmates and peers.The first three years of life provide the most rapid period of brain development, and it is during these early years that a one-time window of opportunity exists for maximizing a child's developmental potential. Healthy brain development requires a consistent nurturing environment that is impacted by many factors (e.g., talking to and playing with the child, good nutrition, active movement, uninterrupted sleep, quality childcare, regular visits to pediatricians, etc.).While this unique three-year window has been known to early childhood professionals for years, the Inquiry discovered that others in the community – including many well-meaning and attentive parents – are not fully aware of all the things they can do to provide their children with the best foundation possible for a lifetime of learning. Expanding awareness of the importance of 0-3 throughout every segment of the community was therefore an objective of the highest priority when the Children: 1-2-3 Implementation Task Force came together for the first time in July 2012.The Task Force included 68 members, some of whom were early childhood professionals, while others were simply concerned citizens interested in improving their community. This Final Implementation Report reflects the countless hours of hard work of these Task Force members throughout the last two-plus years. Their dedication to improving the lives of our youngest children has been extraordinary, and it was both humbling and exciting for me to serve as their chair.The Children: 1-2-3 Inquiry developed nine recommendations that essentially fell into two main categories – creating and maintaining an environment where all newborns, infants, and toddlers thrive; and educating the whole community about the critical first three years of childhood development. It was the role of our Task Force to advocate for implementation of these recommendations to the applicable stakeholders and elected leaders in the community.