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Boomtown Institute - Top Ten Things I'd Do in Every Town - Responses

January 13, 2009View for printing

We received several suggestions to what could be done in every community to make it better. http://matr.net/article-32402.html First, one correction. In my first suggestion, Community Foundations, Indiana has been the leader in setting up foundations in every county because of the leadership of Lilly Endowment, Inc. We apologize for the error. Now, for those additional suggestions:

* One of the ideas I've had for small communities is to create a volunteer data base. You would ask anyone interested in volunteering for their town to list their skills and how much time they would be willing to contribute (weekly, monthly, yearly....whatever), their contact information and perhaps their preferences as to when they would most likely be able to work (for example: Mondays and Thursdays 10 AM - 4PM; or any evening, or anytime when needed). Roger E. Hunt, Trees Forever, Columbus Junction, IA.

* Public education is still a MAJOR part of the equation. The public needs to understand that there is a reason it is called PUBLIC EDUCATION. They also need to understand that not all education takes place in school. ...if we can't do a better job of educating our kids, (I) don't think it makes a whole lot of difference how nice downtown looks. Larry Lee, Director, Center for Rural Alabama.

* Communities need to have access to funding and financing for a number of purposes. It would include public, private, and nonprofit funding. In addition to a community foundation and angel network, I would add a pooled debt vehicle to reduce risk for local banks. Diane Lupke, CEcD & President, Lupke & Associates, Evanston, IL.

* Recreation - This could take many forms, but it's important to the quality of life. Rachelle Hollinshead, Community and Economic Development Educator, Vandalia, IL.

* Host monthly public open forums to find out areas of opportunity. Trisha Mason, Coordinator, East Central IL Development Corporation, Mattoon, IL.

We also heard from several readers about how their community has already embarked on some of the ideas from my original list. Those include:

* Sidney, MT. See what they are doing here http://matr.net/article-32333.html . Thank you, Ray Trumpower!

* Pine City, MN, is already taking initiatives in many areas, including the Greater Pine Area Endowment, Pine Technical College, Young Professionals Group, Pine Center for the Arts, Downtown Leadership Group, and many other endeavors to help their community. Thanks to Nathan Johnson for sharing these with us!

* From Bonnie Hildreth, President & CEO of the Barry Community Foundation in Hastings, MI, "In Michigan, every resident has access to a community foundation due to the generosity of the Kellogg Foundation! We would be remiss to not mention them!"

It is wonderful to hear how people are engaging to make their community a better place to live, work and play, and a place their children and grandchildren will be proud to call home. Keep up the good work!

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