Civic engagement is becoming more and more talked about at all levels of government. Not only is it a core principal of democracy, great engagement is good for the community, aids governmental capacity, and leads to better decision-making and policy implementation.
Through a grant supported by the Michigan Fitness Foundation, the League had the opportunity to dive deeper into the topic. The goal of the project was to identify civic engagement best practices, foster a knowledge network of peers, and identify tools and resources to help evaluate and measure engagement activities.
The grant allowed us to work with Michigan’s HUD Sustainable Communities grant recipients and communities planning in transportation corridors. With extra funding available, these civic leaders were able to apply more creative engagement tactics in their work and learn from their experiences.
The partners involved in the project were Tri-County Regional Planning Commission, Networks Northwest, Washtenaw County Office of Community and Economic Development, Southeast Michigan Council of Governments, and the cities of Flint, Grand Rapids, and Marquette. Disability Advocates of Kent County assisted the League in research and convening the group.
Based on the experiences of these civic leaders, the League developed a Civic Engagement Guidebook to outline best practices and feature case studies from each of the project partners. The case studies are brief, but they highlight lessons learned from the experience and share a direct contact readers can reach out to for more information.
This guidebook will allow the League to provide more training opportunities, develop better engagement resources, and support a stronger network around civic engagement. We hope you take this booklet to your communities, but more importantly, we hope you start thinking more about engagement in your communities. We hope you share your own engagement stories, share lessons from your experiences, and learn from others who have done exciting and practical engagement projects.
You can expect to see more on civic engagement here at the League in our conversations with newly elected officials, city managers, and all communities interested in placemaking. We now have a webpage dedicated to civic engagement so stay tuned for more details and please feel free to reach out for more information: contact Sarah Craft at firstname.lastname@example.org or 734-669-6328.