Who We Are

What is Forward Wayne County?

Forward Wayne County is a county-wide effort to aligning community resources, 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 highlight the roles of Human Capital Development and Quality of Place in attracting, developing, and retaining a highly competitive workforce.  Forward Wayne County provides backbone support in a collective impact style.

Family in Wayne County
kids playing

Why Forward Wayne County?

“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

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 count on comprehensive action by community collaborators, individuals, partnerships, and businesses within a collective action model to attract, develop, and retain a highly competitive workforce.  Positive benefits will be realized by all in Wayne County – residents, organizations, and businesses.

What is Collective Impact?

Wayne County has a wealth of dedicated and passionate groups focused on championing human capital development and improving quality of place.  Forward Wayne County exemplifies the Collective Impact approach when collaborating with these groups as a backbone support.  Outlined in the Winter 2011 issue of the Stanford Social Innovation Review, Collective Impact incorporates meaningful contributions from all change agents in a strategy that concentrates on addressing, evaluating, and resolving issues faced by modern communities.  Five essential elements comprise Collective Impact efforts:

  • Common Agenda to share a vision and align goals.
  • Shared Measurement Systems used to enable consistent tracking of indicators.
  • Mutually Reinforcing Activities to help supportive collective progress.
  • Continuous Communication consisting of common motivation and vocabulary used to understand measured results.
  • 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:

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