This story has been updated to include the full 2017 CFR, which was made public Tuesday morning.
A 5 member coalition led by the Community Foundation of the Ozarks, released the 2017 Community Focus Report Tuesday morning. The CFR is a biennial report card of sorts for Springfield and Greene County assigning Blue Ribbons or Red Flags representing successes or challenges, strengths or weaknesses, seen within the 11 areas studied in the 2017 Community Focus Report.
Drury University Communication Professor, Jonathan Groves, facilitator of the report, told KSMU ahead of its release that the CFR is a guide for the community: “It helps us make decisions about how we use limited recourses in the most effective way. What we’re trying to do is look at solutions. The report still does Blue Ribbons and Red Flags in each chapter, that hasn’t changed. What we did do a little different this year, was instead of having Blue Ribbons and Fred Flags overall, we refer to the report’s 6 themes.”
Jonathan Groves says each of the 11 chapters contained within the 2017 CFR, fall into one or more of the report’s 6 themes: Poverty; Mental Health; Continued Collaboration; Sustainable Funding for Community Needs; Infrastructure Development; and Civic Engagement: “Once we had the 11 chapters, what we wanted to do was synthesize that and say what are the themes for our community? What do we know about our community that seems to be working and what do we need to do to improve that? How can we become better as a community, that’s really our goal.”
The 11 chapters of the 2017 CFR, are: Arts and Culture; Business and Economic Development; Citizen Participation; Community Health; Early Childhood; Education; Housing; Natural Environment; Public Order and Safety; Recreation Sports and Leisure; and Transportation.
With something new for 2017, each of the CFR’s 11 chapters has a Citizen Comment Section, organized by instructor Didem Koroglu’s, Missouri State University Comm449 students, using the online bulletin board application, Padlet. Didem Koroglu says to think of Padlet, as “A web-site that has sticky notes on it. We created a Padlet link, and then a Facebook page for the Community Focus Report group, and a Twitter account. We were on local television and radio, and our students used social media to reach out, so it we used different ways to reach out to the community. We posted the link, and people started liking the page seeing the tool, and then they started commenting away”
Brian Fogle, President and CEO of the Community Foundation of the Ozarks, says the 2017 CFR release event, will serve in part, as a celebration. “We thought for the first time really; let’s celebrate the things we have done as a result of the CFR, and talk about the difference those programs are making, and there’s some remarkable outcomes from several of those programs that will be highlighted October 24th, including various efforts of poverty alleviation, and degree attainment, and things like that that contribute to a better quality of life. This year, we said let’s focus on those programs that are really making a difference.”
“There are improvements across the board, which is encouraging to someone who lives in this community” says 2017 CFR Facilitator Jonathan Groves. “The commitment to community bonding activities through arts and culture, parks and recreation, the park facilities continue to improve, volunteerism continues to go up. You see the community collaborate as much as ever to tackle some of the problems facing the community, that’s very encouraging. There are a lot of educational initiatives which are going very well with the Springfield School District. There are quite a few successes.”
Even though Tuesday’s public gathering at the Springfield Art Museum Auditorium celebrated the Blue Ribbons in each of the CFR’s 11 chapters, Groves says the Red Flags in each of those chapters remain. “I think we can all look at the crime statistics and see there’s a slight up-swing there. We all know there’s an issue in our community related to the opioid crisis. We can look at the fact that at the state level, we are seeing budget cuts that affect non-profits and government agencies. Those are all real issues we will have to figure out.”
Groves says work on the 2017 report began in the fall of 2016, when meetings were scheduled and Springfield resident Jean Twitty was named to chair the CFR Steering Committee. “Each committee would gather a bunch of people related to that topic area, and then collect data around that issue, and then compile a chapter for the report. The main steering committee would review it, offer feedback, and try to find some common themes or note what was going on in their various chapters so we could kind of see what was going on from a 10,000 foot level.”
The 2017 Community Focus Report Release event was hosted by the Jr. League of Springfield, which along with the Community Foundation of the Ozarks; The Springfield Area Chamber of Commerce; the Springfield Greene County Library District; and United Way of the Ozarks, has funded the biennial report from its beginning in 2004. Also at Tuesday’s event, tickets were available for a special screening and discussion of the film, Resilience, a documentary on the science of adverse childhood experiences. The free screening begins Tuesday, Oct. 24 at 5:30pm, at The Moxie Theater. Free tickets will also be available at the door of The Moxie.
View the entire 2017 Community Focus Report.