DeKalb County Embracing Collective Impact Movement

Jun 23, 2014

Collective impact is becoming a popular way for communities to address social issues. Instead of working in isolation, various organizations come together to identify key challenges for their residents. The process is now taking shape in DeKalb County.

Quality of life is the main focus of a new survey for county residents. From public safety to transportation, respondents are asked to rank the top issues they feel are most important to them.

Anita Zurbrugg is with the DeKalb County Community Foundation, which is spearheading the effort. She says this gives them an opportunity to develop a large-scale measuring stick, because sometimes, she says they're not exactly sure how much of an impact they are making.

"Many of us who work on issues that are of conern realize that regardless of our efforts, sometimes we're just not pushing the needle," Zurbrugg said.

Linda Kerr of DeKalb says for her, poverty should top the list.

"I work in the schools and I think that's an issue. [More] kids coming to school without breakfast," Kerr said.

The survey is being managed by NIU's Center for Governmental Studies, and is available online and in hard copy through June 30th. Details are being provided by Advancing DeKalb County, which is the name chosen for this collective impact project. The survey will be analyzed along with information from local experts.

Organizers say once they're done reviewing all the information they've gathered, it will be presented so that policy makers can get a sense of what they need to prioritize when making key decisions.