Now that we've voted, we need to turn attention to the future. All of the winning candidates proposed that we "move forward." How will we know that? Whose definition will we use? We need a nonpartisan, credible "yardstick" to know what's happening in our region and our state.
Wilder Research is now in the process of developing this "yardstick" - something for both public officials and the public at large to measure our progress, and hopefully, to inspire creative community action. We began this work in partnership with eight other foundations, the Itasca Project, the Citizen's League, the United Way, and others. We collaborated with the UBS Forum at Minnesota Public Radio to kick off several months of meetings with other individuals and organizations who have an interest in joining us in this effort. Over the next few months, we plan to communicate directly with more than a thousand community leaders, public officials, nonprofit leaders, and business leaders to get their input into shaping our work. Through the media and a new website, we will request suggestions from anyone who wants to assist us.
Now, immediately after the election - when all the rhetoric has subsided - is an excellent time to think about how we want to measure progress in this region. It's a great time to decide how to keep ourselves informed about education, employment, health. It's a good time to think about standards to which we will hold public officials accountable. It's a time to imagine the possibilities for collaboration and nonpartisan action to address significant issues in our communities.
We are working on this! If you have thoughts, please let me know.