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Visioning Summit Set to Kick Off A Countywide Discussion Around Economic Prosperity

Meeting will offer unique opportunities to contribute to the collaborative community process, Forward Together

The Forward Together Steering Committee will host its first public meeting; a Visioning Summit on Economic Prosperity. The event will be held May 14, from 6-8 p.m., at Baker College, Flint Campus in the gymnasium. It’s open to the public and community members are encouraged to invite their full network to attend. Doors open at 5:30 p.m.

During the two-hour session, the planning team will introduce the Forward Together process, share initial findings from the economic research, and engage participants in a series of fun and interactive discussions and activities. Free pizza and light refreshments will be provided for attendees.

“This is a unique opportunity for all our communities to chart a vibrant future together. While we’ve done a lot of planning separately, this is our chance to collectively think, work and strategize to create a vision that promotes inclusive economic opportunity and growth in our region,” said Raquel Thueme, president of the Ruth Mott Foundation/Applewood and Forward Together Steering Committee.

At the summit community members can expect to receive information on the county’s economic potential based on the real-world conditions in 2019. Nationally recognized economist Kevin Hively, with Ninigret Partners, will deliver a keynote address focusing on the Ten Points of Potential, or the brightest economic opportunities in the community today. Participants will be challenged to think creatively with the planning team and develop their thoughts around major question prompts.

“Each year our communities spend millions of dollars on projects and programs. We do all we can with what we have, but what if we were able to better concentrate our resources and capital to ensure policies for the economic prosperity of Flint and Genesee County? Forward Together is a chance to do just that. But we have to start with a shared vision; we have to start with the people,” said Asa Zuccaro, director of Hispanic Technology and Community Center of Flint and Forward Together Steering Committee member.

Following the meeting, the planning team will enter all input received into a database and develop a report. Upon completion, the report will be published on the Forward Together website and findings will be integrated into the countywide vision planning process.

During a recent meeting of the Forward Together Steering Committee, initial findings from the economic research were revealed. Despite major challenges, Flint and Genesee County has several unique advantages. These include a strong STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) and talent pipeline, growing manufacturing sector, robust philanthropic resources and numerous other factors. These topics will be explored more during the Visioning Summit.

“We want to use the process to combine the realities of the data with intuition of the community. Through this melding of technical and community work, we think we’ll achieve a strategy that is realistic, supported and based on the aspirations of the communities of Genesee County,” said Pastor Patrick Sanders of New Jerusalem Gospel Baptist Church and Forward Together Steering Committee member.

While the summit is free and open to the public, the Steering Committee requests that participants register for the event. This will help the planning team prepare for the evening. Also, if you require special accommodations, please refer to the note on the event webpage.

Forward Together represents a unique collaboration for the communities of Genesee County. In the winter of 2019, the City of Flint, Genesee County, and the Flint & Genesee Chamber of Commerce partnered to develop a community economic vitality strategy that better aligns the dozens of community plans, organizations and institutions. The strategy will be guided by a common vision for economic prosperity derived through community outreach. The process is called Forward Together and represents an unprecedented, community-driven effort to establish a common economic vision to drive the communities of Genesee County collectively, forward. The vision will be presented in the form of an Economic Vitality Action Agenda.

To find out more about the summit or to register please visit the webpage at, http://forwardtogethergenesee.org/visioning-summit.

Contact:

Elaine D. Redd, (810) 600-1418 or eredd@flintandgenesee.org; Candice Mushatt,  cmushatt@cityofflint.com; or Tyler Rossmaessler, trossmaessler@flintandgenesee.org.

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