FACILITATING THE IMPORTANT CONVERSATIONS

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Bringing for the sake of all to the community

Whenever there are important conversations happening in our community, FOCUS is often called upon to be a convener, facilitator or partner.

In May 2014, the For the Sake of All report was released, highlighting racial health disparities and outlining six key recommendations for improving the health of all in St. Louis. Recognizing the importance of this work, FOCUS became a partner on the second phase of the project
 - educating and mobilizing our region toward action.

Working closely with the For the Sake of All team at the Brown School at Washington University, FOCUS helped develop Discussion Guides and Action Toolkits for each of the recommendations. The materials were rolled out at six Community Action Forums, putting these valuable tools into the hands of thousands of community members and stakeholders. Our thanks go out to For the Sake of All team and partners for allowing us to be part of this meaningful project.

 
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Charting a new strategic plan

Between April and August 2015, FOCUS St. Louis charted its path for the next three years with the development of the 2015-2018 FOCUS St. Louis Strategic Plan. The plan is organized around five distinct, but intertwined priorities: program effectiveness, marketing and communications, fund development, staff engagement and alumni involvement. And the tie that holds these pieces together? A heightened recognition of the importance of FOCUS’ program graduates on our community impacts, financial viability, and operational environment.   

How did we generate such a robust roadmap? 

Select board members and FOCUS staff formed a 22-person planning committee that deliberated on FOCUS’ strengths, issues, priorities, direction and future investments. Equipped with feedback from several hundred alumni and our full Board of Directors, and guided by consultants from Emerging Wisdom LLC and Vector Communications, this committee devoted 470 labor hours considering FOCUS’ existing conditions, articulating a vision of success, and devising goals and strategies to achieve this vision. The result is an evergreen, living document that will guide our growth over the coming years. To the future!

 

A CONNECTOR OF PEOPLE AND IDEAS

FOCUS' mission of building stronger leaders doesn't end upon graduation from one of our programs. In 2015-16, FOCUS hosted more than 30 community and alumni events, both on our own and in concert with partners including East-West Gateway Council of Governments, the Missouri History Museum, Forward Through Ferguson, UMSL and more. 

 

Beyond providing ongoing engagement opportunities for FOCUS alumni, these events allow us to extend the dialogue around civic leadership to all in our community. In many cases, a community forum might be an individual's first exposure to FOCUS St. Louis, and our ongoing partnerships help to reaffirm FOCUS' role as a neutral convener in a frequently fragmented region.