The United Way of Thunder Bay is committed to improving lives and strengthening community. We worked with the community on addressing the underlying causes of social issues here in Thunder Bay. We work to effect long-term changes that can be sustained over time, and make a measureable difference in the community – a difference that can be demonstrated. We know if takes a whole community working together to change social conditions in priority areas like poverty and racism. Our goal is for our communities to be measurably better off as a result of the work of the United Way and others.
In 2014 the United Way brought a new initiative, Thunder Bay Counts, to our community. We worked as the overall project manager of Thunder Bay Counts along with our collaborative partner the Northwestern Ontario Innovation Centre. We also brought in an expert on developing this type of initiative, Andrew Taylor, from Taylor Newberry Consulting.
We engaged a working group of community leaders from education, business, philanthropy, health and social service organizations who make up the Thunder Bay Counts Round Table. This table, which was chaired by Rebecca Johnson, provided overall guidance and helped network the efforts of Thunder Bay Counts out into the community.
Although the United Way took on the leadership role, Thunder Bay Counts is a community wide initiative. Each step of the process was brought to the community for input and validation to ensure we got it right. We engaged the community in an ongoing process that has to date developed the Shared Agenda for Change which includes a community vision, goals within 3 priority areas, and concrete statements about the kind of change we need. This shared agenda was used to develop a suite of community level indicators to track progress of social issues over time. The agenda can also be used to pursue increased collaboration and more evidence-based planning, decision making, investment, and mobilize collective action that will work towards enhancing the well-being of our community.
The United Way has used the information developed through Thunder Bay Counts to form the Community Impact Plan which will guide our work going forward.
The shared agenda is based on a number of key principles:
In the diagram below, the changes we need are organized according to the three broad goals. The middle ring highlights changes needed at a community level, and the inner ring lists changes for people.
The United Way of Thunder Bay brought together a Round Table of community leaders who represented a diverse cross section of community sectors. The Roundtable had a collective focus on achieving the shared vision for change of the Thunder Bay Counts Initiative.
The Roundtable Members brought to the table strategic assets:
Role of the Roundtable