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Networks & Working Groups



The Grant County Collective Impact Guiding Team envisions forming three Networks of twelve Working Groups each to launch the collective impact work of Thriving Families, Thriving Grant County. A Network is a set of Working Groups functioning on shared community-level outcomes and goals. Networks convene their Working Groups from time to time to assure alignment, learn from each other, and sometimes to collaborate on a project. The first step in forming a Working Group is to identify existing collaborative in the community that may become or be incorporated into the group(s) being formed. A lot of good work is already in progress. The intent is to build on what is already in place and working well.

Working Group

Working Groups focus on achieving results that no single entity can do alone. They work intentionally and collaboratively to “move the needle” on shared key indicators and overarching outcomes. Ideally, Working Groups consist of representatives from all sectors (Social, Public, and Private) relevant to their group. Working Groups become learning laboratories by sharing and discovering research and best practices and conducting and learning from pilots/experiments of promising strategies before endeavoring to bring them to scale. The use of data for decision making and for tracking improvement is critical for Thriving Families, Thriving Grant County. 


Family Wellbeing Network

This network consists of community groups that help families thrive, including social service agencies, employers, and faith-based organizations.

Collectively, they aspire to achieve better outcomes for families by building on the strengths that each individual family already has.

They may focus on topics such as helping families develop nurturing relationships, establishing positive routines, maintaining appropriate expectations, adapting to challenges, and connecting to their community for the resources and support that they need.

The four Working Groups in this Network are:

Basic Needs - Dana Gault

This Working Group will explore ways to ensure that Grant County families have the knowledge, skills, and support they need in order to meet their basic needs, and to make progress towards becoming self-sufficient.

By working together, service organizations have the ability to make it easier for families to obtain the resources they need, while avoiding unnecessary duplication of efforts in order to serve more families effectively.

By helping families identify and build on their existing strengths and engaging their voices in the design of policies and practices, the Working Group may be able to innovate ways to achieve even greater outcomes.

Healthy Living: Fairmount - Stephanie McKinley

This Working Group will explore ways to help Grant County families access the resources they need to lead physically, mentally, socially, and spiritually healthy lives.

They may choose to address issues along the entire lifespan, from promoting healthy births to elderly care; as well as focusing on one or two subject areas, such as nutrition, smoking, and access to care or mental health.

Parenting - Deshawn Wert

Reliable, responsive, and sensitive parenting plays a key role in a child’s development, and creating a thriving family.

How can Grant County better support parents who want help in fulfilling their complex and challenging role?

This Working Group may explore ways to share effective parenting knowledge and skills, using multiple delivery systems and methods that honor diverse family values and cultures.

Neighborhood engagement - Kayla Johnson

Strong, caring, and vibrant neighborhoods support the creation of strong communities. Support creating strong families.

This Working Group may explore ways to engage residents more effectively, in order to make neighborhoods safe, healthy, and attractive places to live.

Neighborhoods can provide the opportunity for children and families to explore and use their talents, develop important social connections, and become servant leaders that work together.


Talent Pipeline Network

The purpose of this Network is to ensure that Grant County grows and retains the talent that its employers and community needs to thrive.

Availability of a skilled workforce can also help attract high-paying jobs to the county.

This Network helps to ensure that every citizen has the opportunity to fulfill his or her potential by providing high quality learning experiences, the ability to earn at least a living wage, and the opportunity to contribute to the community of Grant County.

Early childhood ages 0-8 - Liz Strong, Robin Culley & Alicia hazelwood

This existing Early Childhood Coalition serves as a Working Group.

Its aspirational goals could include ensuring that all children are prepared for success in school, and are reading above grade level by the end of third grade.

Research by the Campaign for Grade Level Reading shows that third grade reading levels are strong predictors of high school graduates, post-secondary education, and career attainment.

Key success factors include the readiness for kindergarten, access to after school and summer learning opportunities, and prevention of chronic absenteeism.

Grades 4-12 - Tammy Pearson

Graduating from high school to become prepared for college, the military, or a career may be one of the outcomes of choice for this Working Group.

Out-of-school opportunities that enhance in-school learning and expose youth to a wealth of positive experiences and career opportunities are critical at this stage.

Schools, employers, youth-serving agencies, faith-based organizations, and higher education institutions are among the many community resources that can contribute to this work.

Success could be measured by the percentage of students who graduate, enter post-secondary programs, and will not need remediation when entering them.

Post-secondary COMPLETION/retention

This Working Group will discover ways to help students complete post-secondary education programs; especially in areas that are important to Grant County’s employers.

There is also a challenge of keeping such graduates in our community so they receive a return on its investment.

Progress toward the goal of creating a talented workforce aligned with local employer’s needs could be measured by credentials earned after high school; including certification, earning an associate’s degree or a bachelor’s degree, and by retention numbers.

Adult Education

In addition to helping adults get their GED or Certificate of High school Equivalency, this Working Group may choose to help aspiring adult workers achieve work skills that are in demand by local employers.

It could also choose to help adults that had once started college but never graduated, finish what they started.

Some colleges use strategies like flexible class schedules, scholarships tuition discounts, and close collaboration with employers to achieve the desired results.

Employer and post-secondary representation is critical to this group.

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Community Development Network

The Community Development Network focuses on the large-scale influence that helps determine whether Grant County will continue to thrive and grow.

These influences include the natural and built environments, as well as the governmental and cultural environment.

This Network can address both the realities and the perceptions about the community, the people who live here, how others view us, and how we view ourselves.

Such perceptions are often revealed in the stories that residents and outsiders tell about the community, called the community narrative.

Quality of Life & Place - Mary Eckerle

Making Grant County an even better place to live and work can help attract and retain residents and investors.

Basics such as good roads, public safety, internet access, good jobs, quality housing that is affordable, and health care are important.

As are amenities like natural resources, sports and recreation, arts and culture, and the things that make Grant County unique.

This group will likely address realities and perceptions.

Leadership & Engagement - Jennifer Lee

This group will focus on intentionally building civic leadership and engagement. How do we better take advantage of the talent among us and give potential leaders a chance to use and develop the skills they need to be our community’s leaders today and tomorrow? Creating a pipeline of strong civic leadership enables communities to solve complex problems and create more robust, livable communities.

Government Innovation

How can we make local government entities more efficient, more effective, and able to more quickly in response to needs and opportunities that arise? Some of the answers may be under local control or influence, or may require advocating for laws that give local government greater and fiscal flexibility.

Entrepreneurship Working Group

A thriving community depends on the culture of entrepreneurship that supports starting, growing, and sustaining successful business. This Working Group may choose to explore strategies such as co-location, and administrative support for start-ups. Partnering with higher education to help entrepreneurs develop, finance, and commercialize business ideas. It can also work to attract new companies, improve access to capital, and devise cross-sector programs that contribute to an entrepreneurial ecosystem.

Current Working Groups Schedule

Basic Needs

Last Thursday of the month @ 5pm - College Wesleyan Church

Healthy Living - Fairmount

Second Monday of the month @ 5pm - The Branch

Quality of Life

Second Wednesday of the month @ 3pm - Marion Public Library

Early Childhood coalition

First Thursday of the month @ 12pm - Marion Public Library

Leadership & Engagement

Second Thursday of the month @ 5:30pm - YMCA

Grade 4-12 - Tammy Pearson

This is for school counselors. If interested contact Cathy Weatherspoon, cathy@thrivinggrantcounty.com