The tristate Siouxland region has long attracted and retained people of all nations, cultures and religions thanks to accessible jobs, affordable housing and a small-town, welcoming atmosphere. That trend continues, as the region will be welcoming thousands of new workers and their families over the next few years due to continued economic development.
While local governments, businesses, organizations and non-profits have worked to welcome and help newcomers become part of the community, it has been with mixed results and without consistent, intentional and centralized coordination that helps identify gaps and needs, avoid duplication and ensure ongoing communication among stakeholders. Newcomers struggle to know what resources are available and service providers struggle to know what other organizations are providing. This is all further complicated by the unique nature of a tristate region.
Given the large number of newcomers expected, the tight housing market, the impact on schools, businesses, healthcare, service organizations and more, the need for a coordinated, thoughtful approach is greater than ever before. The fact that many will not only be newcomers to Siouxland, but also to the United States, presents additional challenges for integration into our community. Now is the time to prepare our residents and supporting organizations for the challenges and opportunities that await.
The One Siouxland collective impact initiative will serve as the backbone of a multisector effort for the benefit of newcomers and long-time residents. Collective impact brings people together, in a structured way, to achieve social change. With the collective impact framework, we will define a shared vision, identify meaningful ways to measure progress, and bring together common players to support and grow each other’s missions.
One Siouxland will not provide direct services to the community, but will serve the following roles among stakeholders and partners:
• Identify and bring together stakeholders
• Facilitate the establishment and regular meeting/functioning of key subgroups (health, education, government, housing, etc.)
• Work with direct service providers to develop a central location for information on services and community resources related to new populations
• Ensure needs are continuously identified, tracked, and addressed by stakeholders
• Facilitate communication of needs, gaps and impact to community leaders and stakeholders
• Help identify and track meaningful ways for measurement
• Advocate for ongoing efforts to welcome and integrate new populations
Partners in the collaboration will be asked to contribute in a meaningful way:
• Nonprofits, schools and faith-based members may provide meeting space, marketing or advertising resources, in-kind staff time or other such resources in support of the collaboration
• Business and governmental partners will be asked to make a financial commitment and/or other resources available to fund the operation of One Siouxland, ensuring the collaboration is accountable, effective and sustained for the benefit of all involved
• All partners will be asked to make an initial 3-year commitment to the collaboration
One Siouxland will help the region navigate the impact and inevitable challenges and opportunities resulting from changing demographics. By coordinating efforts to meet these challenges and opportunities, collectively we can build a more inclusive, stronger Siouxland and reduce or avoid some of the problems that can come from these changes.
Specific, measurable goals of this proposal include:
• Newcomer populations will have better awareness of and therefore access to programs and services that can support their acclimation into American life.
• Businesses will have a community-supported workforce that integrates more quickly, resulting in higher retention and productivity.
• Organizations that provide direct services to newcomer families will have better access to the populations they desire to serve, and more knowledge of the overall challenges faced by and needs of these families. Additionally, they will be more aware of other services and service providers in the region addressing these needs.
• Governmental entities will have more coordinated, collected information on which to make critical decisions related to a rapidly growing and changing community.
• Long-time residents of the Siouxland area will understand the positive economic impact and other benefits of living and working in a diverse community, and will help newcomers fully participate in the social, civic and economic life of Siouxland.