Remember hearing about ThriveABI in 2019? Perhaps you participated in the community visioning process. Or, maybe you're just reading about it for the first time now.
While the initiative has been seemingly quiet during the COVID-19 pandemic, it hasn't gone away. In fact, we've been quite busy in the second phase! Phase two just happened to involve a lot of behind-the-scenes research work to usher in next steps.
Here is an overview of what the initiative is, what has been done, and what's next:
It's an initiative to spark and track progress towards a community vision for a thriving Abilene. The Community Foundation of Abilene leads the effort.
Consider the major issues affecting our quality of life -- education, workforce, poverty alleviation, arts and culture, community development, etc.
ThriveABI exists to do two main things:
It's a big task, to be sure. But, making progress doesn't have to be complicated. It starts with a simple concept -- working together. The idea is that we're more likely to accomplish these goals when people working in the same field communicate with one another rather than operating in silos.
That's where ThriveABI comes in. It serves as a vehicle to get entities on the same page and moving towards common goals. Here's how:
First, the community established a vision for Abilene's future. In late 2019, hundreds of Abilenians participated in casting this community vision. After conducting surveys, focus groups, and community-wide conversations, this is the vision we established together:
Abilene is a dynamic, compassionate, and welcoming community centered on helping one another. We have
access to options for quality education, affordable health and child care, efficient transportation, and resources to meet essential needs. We offer seamless pathways for educational and professional growth, entrepreneurship, and careers that provide competitive wages. We cherish our rich history, strong spiritual foundation, and cultural landscape. We celebrate our nationally-recognized arts, flourishing downtown and innovative approaches to enhance our quality of life. As a community, we hold ourselves accountable to work together to ensure that Abilene is a place where everyone has the opportunity to thrive.
Cause Areas and Preliminary Objectives
During the community visioning process, we invited everyone in the community to participate in conversations that led to the vision statement above. These conversations also established potential objectives for six cause areas ThriveABI will track.
View the full breakdown of all cause areas and potential metrics and objectives for each cause area in the Abilene Community Visioning Report here. The six areas include:
Note: You'll see seven cause areas within the visioning report. We have since moved Transportation under the Essential Needs umbrella.
Research to Determine Baseline Data
This is the phase we've been in for much of the past year. Our research partner with Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center collected and assessed data to determine a baseline of Abilene's current needs in each of the seven cause areas. Tech's research also helped identify data sources ThriveABI can access to track performance in the seven areas moving forward.
Cause Area Working Groups and Next Steps
As of February 2022, we are in the process of establishing a Community Initiatives Committee (CIC) and Cause Area Working Groups (CAWGs).
The CAWGs, described above, will meet as needed to stay on top of progress towards goals within their respective cause areas.
The CIC is a committee comprised of Community Foundation of Abilene board members and community members who will oversee the Community Foundation's involvement in the ThriveABI initiative and determine when and how the foundation may become even more deeply involved in affecting particular issues.
CAWG meetings will begin in spring of 2022. Here's what the CAWG function may look like:
A Basic Recap
Yes, it's a lot to wrap your mind around. And yet, it's also deceptively simple. In fact, here's a simple, boiled-down explanation.
ThriveABI exists to do two main things:
Simple concept. Big work.
Follow ThriveABI on social media for the latest updates! @ThriveABI