As part of the On The Table initiative, a recent Community Foundation for Palm Beach and Martin Counties survey found that housing, economic development and poverty are three of the most pressing community issues that need to be addressed.
The survey, known as the Community Impact Report, further revealed that residents remain hopeful, with three out four residents believing nonprofits and community organizations are the strongest agents of change and 91 percent planning to take specific actions regarding something they discussed during their conversation.
West Palm Beach is one of 10 cities supported by the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation that replicated On The Table in 2018.
“This monumental initiative allowed us to bring together a diverse group of residents from our community to learn more about the most pressing issues that directly impact them,” said Bradley Hurlburt, president and CEO, Community Foundation for Palm Beach and Martin Counties. “The participation of residents, business and community leaders during On The Table far surpassed our expectations to create a meaningful day that undoubtedly will inspire change.”
During On the Table, thousands of residents and met over a meal to discuss the issues and challenges they face. They were asked to complete a survey that probed into a number of topics, ranging from housing and socio-economic issues, to healthcare, education, homelessness and job security. Over 900 residents completed the surveys, which revealed these key findings:
- To improve economic conditions, residents identified job training, skills development opportunities, number of good-paying jobs and increased wages as the most important priorities to help drive change
- To improve health and social conditions, survey respondents called for access to quality affordable housing, access to core services for all and services to address homelessness
- The three most important priorities to improve youth development and education were identified as job/vocational training for youth, quality schools with quality teachers, and affordable, quality child care and preschool
- A total of 65 percent agree their community provides opportunities for everyone
- 67 percent of residents remain hopeful and optimistic about the future
- 64 percent felt their community was more united than divided
After reviewing the survey data, the Community Foundation will share the results with various government officials, community leaders and nonprofits to determine how to best advance some of the ideas and solutions generated during On The Table.
“Our first goal is to disseminate the Community Impact Report and dive into the findings, along with our own research, to learn more about how we can support our community,” said January Romero Reissman, Vice President for Community Impact, Community Foundation for Palm Beach and Martin Counties. “Together, we will identify the most pressing needs and determine how we can facilitate positive change within our community.”
On the Table, a national initiative funded by the Knight Foundation, was coordinated locally by the Community Foundation. The initiative united over 4,000 people of all ages and diverse backgrounds over mealtime conversations on Oct. 24, 2018 to discuss issues that impact their community. At the conclusion of the discussions, participants were asked to take a brief survey. Responses were compiled and analyzed by national research firms Hart Research Associates and Public Opinion Strategies.
The Community Foundation for Palm Beach and Martin Counties plans to host their second On the Table later this year. For more information and to view the Community Impact Report, please visit www.onthetablefl.com.
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About the Community Foundation
The Community Foundation for Palm Beach and Martin Counties is one of Florida’s largest community foundations. The nonprofit organization has provided more than $150 million in grants and scholarships over its 46-year history. At its core, the Community Foundation is an organization created with gifts from generous people committed to local causes. For donors, the Foundation serves as a philanthropic advisor. For the community, the Foundation serves as a grantmaker and a civic leader. Through the support of its donors and fund holders, the Foundation has been able to address some of the community’s most pressing needs, including hunger, housing and education.
About the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation
The Community Foundation for Palm Beach and Martin Counties’ On the Table conversations are part of a national initiative funded by the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation. On the Table replicates an annual civic engagement initiative of the same name developed by The Chicago Community Trust in 2014.
Support for On the Table advances Knight Foundation’s work to help cities attract and keep talented people, expand economic opportunity and create a culture of civic engagement. Knight Foundation believes that successful communities are equitable, inclusive and participatory.