how we work
We are often asked why JCCI is so successful in creating positive change in Northeast Florida. We reply that our results come from two critical factors: first, our wonderful volunteers without whom we could not exist; and second, the process we follow, built around a research-tested Model for Community Change. You may recall that we were designated one of 19 “Solutions for America” after a three-year study of our process and results by the Pew Partnership for Civic Change.
model for community change
The JCCI Model for Community Change begins with working with the community to understand and articulate a shared vision for the future, based on the values and priorities of the people who live, work, and play in the area. Change must be driven by a vision of both what needs to improve and what needs to be preserved; the vision serves as a destination for the road map to follow.
The vision provides a destination, but no more. Each year, we engage community members to develop and review community indicators. Community indicators are a set of data or information that provide insight into the trends in a community over time. Together, the collection of community indicators tells the story about where a community is in relation to its vision and the direction in which the community is heading. We provide this story in three distinct ways, our annually published Quality of Life Progress Report, the Race Relations Progress Report, and our continually-updated Community Snapshot.
Planning With the knowledge we gain from community indicators, we can determine our priorities for action. The indicators by themselves don’t tell us what to do; they are merely descriptive. JCCI, along with other community organizations, uses our indicators to inform planning processes. Our community studies provide forums to determine how we as a community need to move forward, addressing issues identified by the indicators where we have fallen short of our vision. The community study process engages community members to develop solutions, by consensus, to get us moving in the right direction.
Action The recommendations from our studies are effective because of the volunteers who work tirelessly to turn reports into action through our advocacy and implementation process. JCCI reports never stay on a shelf. Instead, our volunteers use them to advocate to civic institutions to implement changes. Because of this action component, we are often described as where to go to learn, engage, and act to make a better community.
Results The volunteers’ actions and advocacy get results. Recommendations are implemented. Policies change. Programs develop and respond. But that is not enough. JCCI monitors the results and outcomes of its study and implementation efforts and assesses results.
Evaluation In all we do, we are most interested in lasting, sustainable community change. The community indicators reports serve as the final piece in the community change model, keeping us focused on measuring progress toward the vision. They serve as the ultimate evaluation tool to ensure that our efforts are making a real difference for the community.
For more information, see Measuring Progress: Community Indicators and the Quality of Life (Swain, 2002).