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2008 Grant Projects

Davenport Institute Grantees:

After a 3-stage review process, the Davenport Institute is happy to announce the following recipients of Common Sense Grants for the City/Regional sector. Here they are in no particular order:

    1. The City of Hercules/ City Management Staff

Project Description: Much of the former Dynamite Factory property area in the city contains portions of Refugio Creek, the main vehicle for the transport of water from the entire Refugio Creek Watershed from the Briones Hills down to the San Pablo Bay. During the Charrette process of 2000, one of the overriding requests from the community was "to make the most of our natural resources and create places that were harmonious with the character and feel of the community." Our goal as part of the Common Sense Grant is to once again, engage the community to identify stakeholders and ultimately to help evaluate and plan for the future of the Watershed from top bottom.

Within the last year there has been a coalescence of random efforts among different community groups including an Elementary School, a Home Owners Association and the County's Mosquito and Vector Control District, to address various aspects of the Creek. Our goal is to bring together these groups under the stewardship of a paid objective facilitator to identify issues relating to the Creek and develop an overarching cohesive plan that could be executed over time that would create a long term vision of how the Creek should look and function, and would ensure future development is respectful and hopefully enhances the natural features of the Creek. The facilitator we would like to engage has worked in both Watersheds adjacent to Refugio Creek (Pinole Creek Watershed and the Rodeo Creek Watershed) with great success.

    1. The City of Salinas/ City Management Staff

Project Description: Citizen engagement in Salinas can be best understood within the context of action. The City of Salinas has implemented two strategies to engage City residents. The first is District meetings (12 during 07-08 fy). The second is Neighborhood cleanups (6 during 07-08 fy). At Neighborhood meetings the area's Council Member and City Staff are available for direct dialogue. It is an opportunity for citizens to communicate concerns and find city services available. Also, the Neighborhood meeting provides an opportunity to create collaborative solutions. During the Neighborhood Clean-up events residents, city staff and Council Members are engaged; working side by side to clean and repair facilities in the neighborhood. These two face-to-face activities (Neighborhood Meetings and Neighborhood Clean-up Days) serve to break down relational barriers and open lines of communications between the City and its citizens. The City's existing pursuit of direct citizen engagement provides the foundation to begin a direct and open dialogue with citizens about service delivery methods and service levels.

The Davenport Institute Grant will be used to fund four open dialogue meeting (Meeting-in-a-Box format) to discuss what are the appropriate service levels and methods of delivery within the City of Salinas. The participants at the "Meeting-in-a-Box" will learn about communication approaches and City and Public participants will have the opportunity to see and engage each other in open dialogue. Participants will also have the opportunity to work collaboratively and to explore new ways to look at current service levels and different ways services can be delivered.

    1. Ventura County Alliance/ President & CEO

Project Description: The goal of the Compact project, for which grant funds are sought, is to create a blueprint for the future of Ventura County that embodies the "three E" principles of sustainability - social equity, economic viability, and healthy environment. At its core is a process of broad civic engagement to identify common values, develop a shared vision, and establish a process for carrying out this vision that is supported by residents, businesses, civic leaders and policymakers alike.

Phase 1 of the project (2007) brought together community members from around the county in three workshops to consider alternative future growth scenarios and to identify key guiding principles. Phase 2, for which VCCA is seeking support from the Davenport Institute, will begin in late 2008 and continue through 2009. The goal of Phase 2 is to develop consensus around a common vision, based on community input and feedback from Phase 1, and to create a Compact, or voluntary agreement, that will be endorsed by cities and the county, establishing policies and actions for achieving this vision.

The Davenport Institute grant will be used to support VCCA staff in carrying out media activities, developing materials, and setting up and conducting four major sub-regional meetings throughout the county for the purpose of explaining specific future regional development scenarios (developed by an expert consultant) that include achieving California greenhouse gas emissions goals within our larger vision, and for receiving community input on the preferred scenarios.

Catalyst Grantees:

    1. City of Sacramento's Neighborhood Services Department (NSD)

On July 1, CSC announced the first Catalyst Grant award in the amount of $5,000.00 to Sacramento's NSD. The grant will be used to support the city's "Neighborhoods' Summit 2008" event this summer, which will involve over 300 residents from the private and public sector. The purpose of the conference is "to help build leadership capacity, provide networking opportunities and create a united community to address common issues" (from the grant application).

    1. Antioch Chamber of Commerce's "Clear Vision 2020" Project

On July 7, the Davenport Institute announced that the Antioch Chamber of Commerce had earned the second Catalyst Grant for a K12 civic engagement project in the amount of $5,000. The Executive Director of this organization submitted an application for a Catalyst Grant in backing a project called "Clear Vision 2020." The effort, which is supported by local K12 and private sector leaders, is looking to develop a plan for improving the community's school facilities and curriculum. As stated in the application: "The goal is to make the community aware of the issues and find ways to engage businesses, governmental entities and the greater community in being part of the solution."

    1. City of Morro Bay Fire Department's Engagement on Contract Services

On July 11, the Davenport Institute announced that City of Morro Bay earned a $5,000 Catalyst Grant in support of a citywide facilitated discussion about contracting out fire protection services to Cal Fire. The meetings will be lead by the Fire Chief of Morro Bay and representatives from Cal Fire. The city faces severe budget restrictions, but wants to involve its citizens in making this important public safety decision.

    1. WECAN's Community Policing and Problem Solving Program

On July 15, the Davenport Institute announced its Catalyst Grant award in the amount of $7,500 to WECAN (West Montclair, East Pomona Council for Advancement of Neighborhoods). The Acting Executive Director of this non-profit applied for a Catalyst Grant to support implementation of their "Community Governance and Community Oriented Policing and Problem Solving" (COPPS) program in two additional neighborhoods. This program has successfully reduced crime in other area neighborhoods through civic involvement with more structured relationships with police.

    1. Ripon Unified School District Visioning Campaign

Ripon USD earned a $3,500 Catalyst Grant in support of their plan to involve their residents, teachers, and students in a broad-based planning process for the future of the school district.

    1. Town of Colma's Economic Planning

The Davenport Institute is pleased to provide Colma with a $7,500 Catalyst Grant to help support their effort engaging citizens in developing the town's economic plan. The proposed campaign will involve the inclusion of both stakeholders and citizens in one of the town's first civic involvement projects.

    1. Cities of Brea and La Habra Service Prioritization

Brea and La Habra received Catalyst Grants of $5,000 each to buttress their plans to involve residents in city-wide discussions around service prioritization. In these difficult budgetary times for California, cities and school districts are looking harder than ever for the voice of informed citizens as they set budgets and develop future plans.