Building Statewide Partnerships for Inclusive Communities
Video: KeepSpace: Where neighbors meet, people work, and children play.
KeepSpace: where neighbors meet, people work, children play
Imaj was fortunate to be part of creating KeepSpace – a community collaboration between several RI state agencies, quasi-publics, and other community non-profits, which went on to become a nationally recognized, first-of-its-kind partnership initiative. Imaj’s involvement ran the spectrum. We simultaneously built partnerships while branding and naming the ground-breaking initiative. Imaj facilitated and supported the building of state-wide and neighborhood-based partnerships, including the RIDOT (Rhode Island Department of Transportation), RIHEALTH, RI Housing, RIEDC, community development associations, community and church leaders, non-profits and more who were dedicated to sustainable, equitable communities.
Working closely with these partners, Imaj facilitated focus groups, team workshops, and community engagement sessions to gather the voices to determine the needs that existed within communities and the challenges underserved community members faced.
Based on that discovery process, Imaj worked with the team to create and describe the KeepSpace key principles, vision, mission and philosophy. Once that work was complete, Imaj conducted workshops to create a defined set of partnership principles focused on holistically meeting the needs of diverse community members, and in alignment with our list of potential partners. Together with the founding partner, RI Housing, we helped to develop a partnership plan to determine goals, roles, and strategies and then identify potential partners, what each role might look like, mutual benefits and how each partnership would benefit reaching one or more of the strategies.
BRANDING AND ENGAGEMENT
Based on our research and input, we named and branded the initiative: KeepSpace Communities, where neighbors meet, people work, children play.
Our communications support beyond the foundational work incorporated ongoing engagement as each community was developed, the development of enriched community meetings and off-shoot groups, as well as communications to legislators, business leaders, state agencies and advocates for smart growth, jobs, transportation, the environment, and safe homes. In many cases our efforts were instrumental in bringing together the most unlikely partners, encouraging them not only to embrace a new and difficult concept, but also to truly work together for the first time. The ability to bring groups together, to have conversations and create understanding was critical in gaining the support of policy makers and the community.
Imaj created an integrated communications strategy that spanned three years (with updates as needed). We created communications to legislators, business leaders, state agencies and advocates for smart growth, jobs, transportation, the environment, and safe homes. Imaj also created a website, videos, print campaigns, signage and more.
KeepSpace became a nationally recognized, first-of-its-kind partnership initiative. A video we created about KeepSpace can be found here: https://youtu.be/EiX9R8LB4X0