Over the last 45 years, Wayne County has experienced:

  • population decline
  • below average wealth and income levels
  • higher than average poverty rates
  • low levels of educational attainment

Positive movement in these benchmark areas will require comprehensive action by community collaborators, individuals, partnerships, and businesses.

By working collectively and in a collaborative manner we believe positive benefits will be realized by all in Wayne County – residents, organizations, and businesses.

Wayne County Population Decline

What is Forward Wayne County?

Forward Wayne County is a county-wide effort to align community resources in order to foster a vibrant economy and promote prosperity in Wayne County, Indiana. Informed by community development studies and published projects, Forward Wayne County was developed to act as the community leadership division of the Wayne County Foundation to manage collective impact initiatives that are focused on attracting, developing, and retaining a highly competitive workforce.

What is Collective Impact?

Wayne County has a wealth of dedicated and passionate groups focused on championing human capital development and improving the quality of place. Forward Wayne County exemplifies the Collective Impact approach when collaborating and supporting these groups.

Five essential elements comprise Collective Impact efforts:
  1. Common Agenda to share a vision and align goals.
  2. Shared Measurement Systems used to enable consistent tracking of indicators.
  3. Mutually Reinforcing Activities to help support collective progress.
  4. Continuous Communication of common motivation and vocabulary used to understand measured results.
  5. A Backbone Support Organization to assist with planning, managing, and supporting initiatives via facilitation, communication, data collection and reporting, and various logistical details.

In the backbone role, Forward Wayne County champions four main responsibilities:

  1. Align on common goals and objectives.
  2. Convene key stakeholders from diverse sectors.
  3. Connect ideas, resources, talent, and innovation.
  4. Evaluate effectiveness, sustainability, and outcomes.

“A community is only as strong as its leaders. To create a successful 21st Century Indiana, new urban leadership must build networks of leaders who are plugged into an intentional system that addresses civic, elected, and non-profit sectors.”
— Thriving Community, Thriving State

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