Starting with collaboration…
The Forward Together process was led through a unique partnership between the City of Flint, Genesee County, and Flint & Genesee Group (formerly the Flint & Genesee Chamber of Commerce). The collaborators set out to identify a county-wide and community-owned vision for economic vitality. This statement would be supported by goals and actions tied to measurable outcomes. While each of these partners has completed dozens of plans independently, this new collaboration has a broader focus and resulted in a new type of community plan. Built through the priorities and best thinking of the partners with the insight and intuition of the public and stakeholders, Forward Together lays out a new, united vision for the county.
Moving our communities forward, together…
The planning work for Forward Together began in the spring of 2019 with the first meeting of the process steering committee. Over a year of research, engagement, and deliberation, the committee established the vision along with a list of projects, policies, and programs to drive positive economic outcomes. The vision is presented as a challenge to the region to improve its performance across five critical indicators of economic growth. The process included multiple opportunities for community members to become involved.
The year-long process offered multiple opportunities for community members to get involved through in-person meetings and online. The process was organized into four specific engagement rounds; two in-person opportunities for the General Public, the Visioning Summit and the Open House. Each served a critical point in obtaining input from the communities and ensuring the action agenda aligned with community priorities.
Working with the community to understand priorities…
The Forward Together Steering Committee committed to an open and inclusive process. This committee was multi-disciplinary and represented a range of community interests. They would guide the process, build the outreach campaign, and evaluate and finalize the action agenda. They were supported through stakeholder and general community engagement. The overall process was facilitated by the planning team. This group performed research and analysis, convened various meetings, and assembled the final action agenda for review and refinement. The plan’s final recommendations reflect the priorities of the three groups.
The Forward Together Steering Committee
A multidisciplinary and representative body convened for the purposes of guiding the planning process. The group would meet six times through the process, lending their perspective and ideas.
Stakeholder Focus Groups
A series of eight community focus groups were convened to collect critical input for the process from a wide variety of groups and interests from across the County.
Through the Visioning Summit, the general public was asked to contribute their ideas to the process. The purpose of this meeting was to educate, inspire, motivate, and listen.
Organizing for action…
The Forward Together plan follows the community-defined vision for economic vitality. This vision statement is positioned as a challenge to the communities of Genesee County to be a “top-five community” as measured across five core indicators. The community scorecard will provide a deeper understanding of the impact and focus on metrics that are harder to compare and related to neighborhood health, personal prosperity, equity, and other topics. The action agenda is organized around six strategies. These span a wide range of topics and include a series of action recommendations – or specific interventions – to move the community closer to its vision.
Setting the direction.
The vision statement is the guiding light for economic strategy and actions. The statement is framed as a challenge to become a Top-Five County in Michigan based on five critical indicators. These indicators are a method for tracking progress toward the vision over time, ensuring we’re moving on the right pathway forward.
Strategizing the approach.
The Action Agenda is organized by six, higher-order strategies. Actions are projects, programs, or policies that have been identified to help move the communities of Genesee County toward the vision. Each strategy is supported by multiple action items that progress our communities towards the vision.