Community Conversations Report
Over the Summer of 2017, the Foundation and United Way of Hancock County pooled their staff resources to talk to 1,000 in Hancock County about what mattered to them. We are pleased to share those results with you!
In Fall 2016, The Findlay-Hancock County Community Foundation (TCF) and United Way of Hancock County (UWHC) agreed to partner to ask those we serve - those who live, work, learn or play in Hancock County - about their hopes and aspirations for the community. Both organizations had previously conducted community outreach efforts, but the decision to bring resources together created a more efficient and effective process. We undertook this initiative with two goals in mind:
- to validate the current alignment of grantmaking with the needs and priorities of community members and
- to identify gaps in response to the community’s expressed needs.
We owe a debt of gratitude to each person who took the time from work, school and other activities to be a part of this project. Without you, we would not have the valuable data or a plan of action to make change. Thank you all!
Both organizations committed to reaching underheard voices in addition to those who usually weigh in. TCF and UWHC worked together to talk to service recipients, in addition to service providers, to get direct feedback and more representative data.
We heard from 1,058 people:
- 602 people participated in conversations
- 456 people by written survey (digital and paper)
More than 20 community volunteers facilitated 70 conversations all across Hancock County. At the end of each conversation, the results were reported to the University of Findlay, whose students were guided by staff in aggregating the data. The results were then boiled down to five major themes of concern:
The results of each question can be found in the full report below.
"Don't be too proud. No one should be afraid to ask for help from their neighbors." Anonymous Conversation Participant
Considerations and Limitations
The results are a snapshot of a point in time in Hancock County. All of the data was collected over the summer of 2017. We recognize that needs may change seasonally and depending on the happenings in the community at the time of data collection.
Our goal was to hear from 1,000 Hancock County residents. We reached our goal, but were not able to hear from as many people in-person as we hoped. As we revisit the Community Conversations process in the coming years, we hope more people will add their voices to the conversation.
We were successful in hearing from a representational group when compared to the county’s race/ethnicity, marital status, and most age/income levels. In the future, we need to take additional steps to reach:
- individuals age 12 and under
- those without a college education
- individuals who earn below $25,000/year.
As we shared in the conversations, not knowing if a service or program exists is the same as it not existing at all. The data is presented as it was heard from the community, even though we understand some of the items mentioned are already being addressed.
Following the conversations, University of Findlay students analyzed the data. The Community Foundation then compared the needs that were identified with services currently provided in Hancock County. It was found that there are 93 gaps in 17 service areas locally. A full list of those gaps can be found on pages 5-6 in the report below.
The Foundation will undertake a two-fold approach to addressing the community's concerns identified in the conversations project.
- Grantmaking - We will continue to support the work of the coalitions in our four main focus areas: housing, mental health/substance use, transportation, workforce. We will also offer special grant opportunities ($50,000 each) in four areas we have not previously done much grantmaking: childcare, community activities, diversity, safety.
- Additionally, the Foundation will work to raise awareness within our key stakeholder groups to elevate the issues and engage donors in support of each. Throughout this process, we will work closely with coalition members to best understand the current state of each area of concern, as well as strategies being developed to address them.
The plan above speaks only to what the Foundation will do. To read United Way's plan, visit their website.
“Coming together as a community is the most important thing. If people feel like they belong, they give back.” Anonymous Conversation Participant