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Local Government & Community: Partnering for Success (Six Session Webinar for Community Leaders and Engaged Residents)

community engagement

Understanding Local Gov Basics and how to be Involved in Your Local Government & Community

Originally created in partnership with the California Association of Realtors for their membership; this valuable webinar series is perfect for other civic minded organizations.

Local governments and communities coexist in a unique relationship, that when healthy, can lead to successful partnership and projects. However, it is not always easy to understand how local government works, where the funding comes from, what the major issues are right now, and how you, as a community member, can get involved. In this dynamic, online program, which can be delivered as a professional certificate if desired, the Davenport Institute team will guide you through a deep dive into local government basics, funding, the relationship between community and local government, hot button issues, and ways to get involved in your local government & community. 

Which groups & organizations can benefit from this program? 

This program can be available as a custom training in partnership with your organization for your members and/or community members. The curriculum offers outstanding and practical information for the natural community leaders in your organization. 

This program is a good fit for organizations such as: 

  • Chambers of Commerce and other business associations
  • Community Based organizations (CBOs)
  • Non-profit organizations
  • Non governmental organizations (NGOs)

This program can also serve as a citizen’s academy for smaller local government agencies or as a starting point to develop your own.

What is Covered in the Program

Over six intensive and action-oriented weeks, you will have the opportunity to: 

  Local Gov Basics

The nature of government may appear very simple on the surface: taxes are collected and services are provided in return. While technically true, the reality is much more complex—particularly in a state as large and diverse as California. With different forms of city government existing within county and regional structures, there is much to unpack in learning how government actually works. This session will cover the who, what, when, where, and how of local government. Participants will leave with an understanding of how different levels and areas of government function, as well as the role of community-based organizations in the policy development process.

  Local Gov Revenue Systems: Understanding How Municipal Government is Funded

While municipalities have always relied on tax revenue, the specific structure and sources for funding have evolved over time. From changes in property taxes and the creation of special financing districts to the use of bond measures and increasing financial obligations for cities, there are many moving parts when it comes to funding local government. This session will explore the various sources of revenue for local governments, how new funding can be secured, and where funds are allocated in most municipalities. We will also cover how changes at the state level have reshaped housing, land and property use, education funding, and more.

  Hot Button Issues in Local Government: From Homelessness to Environmental Policy

In an era that is increasingly distinguished by polarization and distrust, we face complex challenges that require us to move past our tribal tendencies. Housing, homelessness, climate change, budgets, and representation are just some of the issues that local governments are currently facing. While cities are on the frontlines of addressing these various problems, the larger picture necessarily includes collaboration between counties, regions, and states. In this session, participants will learn the characteristics of “hot button” issues, the sources of distrust, the biggest issues facing our communities, and how we can overcome partisanship and find solutions.

  The Dialogue between Local Government and Community 

Strong communities are built through effective public engagement that employs the right kind of dialogue for each situation. Between local government and the community, there are various types of dialogue that take place, each serving a particular purpose. In order to be effective advocates as community members, we must understand the different types of dialogue to determine which will be the best avenue for what we seek to achieve. This session will explore the spectrum of engagement from the perspective of the community member through dialogue. Participants will leave with an understanding of the various ways in which they can reach their local government and how to be an effective advocate for community needs. 

  Getting Involved in your Local Government & Community

Similar to a spectrum of public engagement from the perspective of local government, there exists a spectrum of community participation. As community members, we have the option of engaging at a minimum or maximum level and there are various factors that contribute to that decision making process. What are the options for us as community members at each end of the spectrum, and everything in between? What should I be considering as I prepare to get involved? What should I expect? This session will provide a deep dive into the many ways that you can get involved in your local community and engage with your local government. 

  Considering Running for Local Office: Where Do I Begin?

Running for public office can be a very intimidating process that discourages many citizens from even attempting, particularly because of the legal, financial, and personal requirements that come with campaigning. Understanding the legal requirements, candidate qualifications, fundraising needs and limitations, community demographics, and other factors is challenging, but necessary for anyone considering running for office. From school board and sheriff to city council and the state legislature, this session will cover everything you need to know when deciding if, when, where, and for what office you should run. 


Looking for more information?

Contact Davenport Institute via email at davenport.institute@pepperdine.edu