Region Five Development Commission

Report date
November 2015

What has been most instrumental to your progress?

R5DC completed implementation plans for 22 communities, which offered a better understanding of the needs and desires of
our local residents. Using the WealthWorks Value Chain, we were able to demonstrate/share how community goals have
potential for increased living wage jobs in these low-income communities.
Based on conversations of community goals and assets, collectively we were able to identify which communities were ready
for a Distributed Leadership Model and/or a WealthWorks training to further develop these important leadership skills and
gain the tools necessary to implement the customized approaches into their project.
Developing implementation plans and identifying where the communities are in terms of leadership and readiness to
implement goals, allowed R5DC to be more strategic in our technical assistance delivery and connecting communities to
resources and trainings . It also allowed us to recognize a possible need to adjust our regional goals.

Key lessons learned

From the time that R5DC first met with the communities to the time we were able to present their implementation plan and
value chains some goals had changed or community members were no longer wanting to engage in the process. Thus, we
revised the process with our 44 remaining communities in that the implementation plan and potential WealthWorks Value
Chains are created at the same time as we capture the community’s assets. When it is presented back to the community, the
information is timely and the passion, commitment and process is still fresh in their minds.
Different from our previous work in communities, we learned that the mayor or the city clerk isn’t always the best person to
contact for ensuring inclusivity and diversity of the discussion to identifying community assets and goals. Many times the
community members who foster the true knowledge aren’t always the ones front and center. We took additional steps to be
inclusive by reaching out to service groups, libraries, schools and other contacts to improve our intended diverse participation.

Reflections on inclusive, collaborative or resourceful problem-solving

Inclusion- The goals of the community can only be such if deliberate inclusion is sought out. Diverse representation of
individuals who have expertise in theme areas such as affordable housing, transportation, varied economic development
sectors and those with an understanding in cultural diversity help to expand the depth and breadth of the overall goals.

Other key elements of Community Innovation

Prior to beginning our CAP process, our 5-county rural region established needs and priorities through a regional planning
effort named "The Resilient Region Plan." Our 2-year planning initiative was "inclusive" beyond expectations and historically
unseen by Minnesota residents. Over 600 5-county RURAL residents participated in a participatory planning process.
Through the planning process we learned that each of our communities are unique and have hidden assets that only the
community members themselves could share and recognize. We realized that if we are going to tap all the assets in the
region we would need to connect with community members who foster the true knowledge. Having this plan in place before
we began mapping the assets of our communities allowed us to frame our goals and strategies in more meaningful and
impactful ways.

Understanding the problem

R5DC has a better understanding of how community goals align with Resilient Region goals, along with a clear idea of the
direction communities could take to make their goals become a reality. The communities are at a variety of stages and each
require their own unique customized plan and resources to move them to the next level.

If you could do it all over again...

Touching and connecting with several community members is time consuming but essential. The mayor and the city clerk isn’t
always the best person to contact for ensuring inclusivity in identifying community assets and goals. Connecting to other
community groups is equally important when trying to bring together a complete representation of the community. Advice to
ourselves would be to listen to your instincts and follow through with intention.

One last thought

What a rewarding experience for R5DC. We continue to build organizational capacity and relevance to the regions
marginalized populations. It sounds so insincere when we express our gratitude to BUSH for the learnings that this grant has
presented but it is offered with the genuine intent, Thank you!