A “Strategic Doing” meeting was held at NCK Tech on Wednesday evening. The purpose of the event was to start a process similar to that of strategic planning, but with a focus on action and not just ideas and planning.
Solomon Valley Community Foundation Board President Curt Frasier opened the meeting by speaking about the Foundation who, since its inception, has raised $2.25 million dollars for local projects. He also presented a matching fundraiser campaign with the Dane G. Hansen Foundation who will match $1.50 for every donated dollar up to $50,000 for the local Community Impact Fund. To eligible for the match, the gift must be given in the month of November.
Frasier also discussed the opportunity for local enterprises and organizations to create endowment funds. Endowments must have a value of at least $10,000 within five years of their creation. The Solomon Valley Community Foundation will provide $2K in matching funds to help local entities start an endowment.
Betty Johnson, of Johnson and Associates, conducted the meeting. The session was ultimately a collective effort in brain storming. She began by asking groups at their tables to identify strengths, weaknesses, dangers/threats and opportunities in the county. A wide range of answers were shared. However, several common themes seemed universal among the groups.
Those included strengths like safety and security in rural areas, schools and education, and faith based organizations. Weaknesses mentioned by multiple groups included water quality, wages, real estate prices, property tax rates and the primary dependence on an ag economy.
Some common dangers and threats listed included an aging population which is declining in some communities as well as eventual school closings and/or consolidations. Similar thoughts on opportunities included doing a better job of self-promotion for the county and its communities as well as opportunities to recruit and retain young adults and families. Many people expressed a belief that there are opportunities for overall growth and expansion. It was also noted there are a lot of vacant buildings which could be utilized throughout the county.
Johnson will return to Beloit on November 29 where the ideas which were presented at this session will be whittled down and selected from to move forward. Johnson stressed multiple times that her role is to facilitate these efforts, but it is up to local community members to make them happen.
In parting, Johnson said there are three questions people should ask themselves, “What can we do, what should we do, and what will we do?”