Impact2032 community goal-setting report details top issues facing the region

October 29, 2021
PRESS RELEASE

AUGUSTA—Impact2032, the community goal-setting process being led by United Way of Kennebec Valley (UWKV), has published its “Report to the Community” following months of public surveying and conversations across Kennebec County. The report garnered participation from nearly 800 local people who identified the most important issues facing the region to be job opportunities, high quality schools, access to affordable, healthy food, and health care services. Publication of the report is the next step in a strategic process that aims to establish county-wide, cross-sector goals by July 2022.

The data resulted from a UWKV-led community research and analysis project that was designed to identify the region’s strengths and most pressing needs in the areas of health, education and financial stability. In the spring, UWKV facilitated a regional survey and hosted five community conversations in both English and Arabic—garnering widespread participation from people of various ages, backgrounds, ethnicities and experiences.

The report depicts a region that possesses valuable assets and well-informed community members, but areas for improvement still exist. Participants’ aspirations for a successful future shared the common themes of accessibility, affordability and quality of various community services such as health care, education, housing and transportation. The most common suggestions for achieving these aspirations included developing a top-notch public education system, increasing the quality and quantity of job opportunities, and expanding the region’s housing quality, stock and affordability.

The report is available on the Impact2032 website, impact2032.org.

“We know Kennebec County is a great place to live, work and play, but unfortunately the data shows that not everyone is doing well,” said Katie Doherty, co-chair of Impact2032’s Goal-Setting Council and president and CEO of the Kennebec Valley Chamber of Commerce. “Many of our neighbors can’t afford their basic needs, kids are falling behind in school, and people are dying early from preventable causes. We’re bringing the community together so that we can change that narrative. In turn, these results will help contribute to a strong business community.”

Doherty is leading the council with Chuck Hays, president and CEO of MaineGeneral Health, and the pair announced the regional goal-setting process to the public in April. The council is comprised of 16 leaders from the business, nonprofit and government sectors and is supported by three expert panels focused on health, education and financial stability. Collectively, more than 70 community leaders are directly involved in establishing the goals.

The survey and community listening sessions were preceded and informed by the publication of white papers, commissioned by UWKV, in February 2021. These research papers identified community demographics, data trends and existing needs related to health, education and financial stability.

Impact2032’s expert panels are in the process of analyzing data from the white papers and final report to set three county-wide goals, accompanied by indicators and strategies.

“Our expert panels have spent months diving into the data in order to draft measurable goals that are reflective of Kennebec County statistics as well as feedback from the community,” said Hays, who is also co-leading the health expert panel with MaineGeneral’s chief strategy officer Alex Sydnor. “The panels will recommend draft goals to the council in December, and we’ll spend the spring revising those goals before launching them to the public next summer.”

Ultimately, Impact2032 aims to have hundreds of organizations and individuals endorse these strategies and actions in their own work to generate regional impact over the next 10 years. The entire Kennebec County community—including businesses, nonprofits, government agencies and individuals—will be invited to sign a statement of endorsement to support the community’s vision and goals by summer 2022. The next step will be to sign a separate statement of alignment, demonstrating an organization’s commitment to aligning its work with one or more goals. As organizations become more involved, they may consider collaborating with other community partners and/or reporting data to UWKV to demonstrate the impact their efforts have on the region.

“We don’t see Impact2032 as merely a program,” said Courtney Yeager, executive director of UWKV. “It’s designed to be a driving movement that unites all community members to accelerate change. By 2032, we intend for Kennebec County to achieve these 10-year goals through our collective efforts, and United Way will track the community’s progress publicly every step of the way.” For more information and to download the Report to the Community, visit impact2032.org.

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Community leaders launch regional goal-setting process in southern Kennebec County

April 12, 2021

AUGUSTA—Dozens of leaders in southern Kennebec County are spearheading a process to establish 10-year community goals in health, education and financial stability. The Kennebec Valley Goal-Setting Council, created by United Way of Kennebec Valley (UWKV), seeks broad feedback in the form of surveys and community conversations with people who live, work or play in the region.

The Goal-Setting Council is comprised of 17 community leaders from the business, nonprofit and government sectors and is supported by three expert panels focused on health, education and financial stability. Chuck Hays, president and CEO of MaineGeneral, and Katie Doherty, president and CEO of the Kennebec Valley Chamber of Commerce, are co-chairing the Council.

“At MaineGeneral, we’re constantly reviewing and contributing to community health data to better serve our communities,” said Hays. “By putting a regional focus on trends in health, education and financial stability—the primary building blocks for a good life—we can create a foundation for individual and community prosperity. If you remove any of those building blocks, the other two will topple—which is exactly why we all must work together.”

In total, more than 50 local leaders will help set goals, strategies and indicators, informed by community conversations with and surveys of diverse and numerous people. The Council’s ultimate aim is to unite hundreds of organizations and individuals under the community’s shared vision when the goals are announced in 2022.

Southern Kennebec County launches goal-setting process

April 28, 2021

AUGUSTA — Dozens of leaders in southern Kennebec County are spearheading a process to establish 10-year community goals in health, education and financial stability.

The Kennebec Valley Goal-Setting Council, created by United Way of Kennebec Valley, seeks broad feedback in the form of surveys and community conversations with people who live, work or play in the region.

The council is comprised of 17 community leaders from the business, nonprofit and government sectors and is supported by three expert panels focused on health, education and financial stability. Chuck Hays, president and CEO of MaineGeneral, and Katie Doherty, president and CEO of the Kennebec Valley Chamber of Commerce, are co-chairing the group.

Community goal-setting conversations start in Gardiner

May 12, 2021

GARDINER — When Katherine Kollman took her seat Monday in the empty bay of the Gardiner fire station, she became part of an initiative that’s expected to define a series of goals the community will be working toward over the next 10 years.

The United Way of Kennebec Valley has joined with leaders across the region in the Kennebec Valley Goal-Setting Council to focus attention around three areas of concern — health, education and financial stability for those who live and work in southern Kennebec County.

As a soon-to-be empty nester, Kollman said she’s interested in finding a different avenue to contribute to Gardiner, the community where she and her family have lived for two decades.

“We’re very involved in our community and the direction it’s taking,” Kollman said.

So Kollman spent about an hour and a half at the first of four public conversations intended to identify what’s good about the community, what can be improved and strategies that could be used to make those improvements.