ProsperUs Board Information Report
“ProsperUs is a collective of non-profit, government, health care, education, labour, business, and inspired residents with a shared vision of a prosperous Windsor-Essex County where every young person has the opportunity and support they need to thrive.”1 The unique aspect of ProsperUs is the value of collective impact, a term that captures the importance of organizations coming together to share experiences and expertise for the common goal of supporting youth in our community and making a positive impact in their lives.
The United Way, under the leadership of CEO Lorraine Goddard, is the backbone organization supporting these efforts led by Co-Chairs Janice Kaffer (HDGH) and Noah Tepperman (2018) and Jim Inglis (2019). Financial and in-kind support has occurred across organizations with the lead agencies of the United Way and Hotel Dieu Grace Healthcare dedicating funds and human resources to this initiative. An Investor Table strategy is currently in development.
The vision of ProsperUs is embedded in the work of the Windsor-Essex County Health Unit (WECHU). The Ontario Public Health Standards (2018) support working with priority populations and community partners to offer population-based activities that promote the health of the population and reduce health inequities.2 Collective impact initiatives such as ProsperUs’ Cradle to Career, are an effective way to approach large-scale social changes that fundamentally align with public health strategies.
Furthermore, the goal of WECHU’s school based programs and services is to achieve optimal health of school-aged children and youth through partnerships and collaboration with school communities and school boards. By bringing these, and other key strategic community partners together, we create opportunities for meaningful and effective engagement that will move us closer to realizing this goal.
Early work of ProsperUs formalized the Leadership Council, the Data and Evaluation Table, and the Marketing and Communications Working Table. A media launch one year ago introduced the community to the vision of ProsperUs “Every young person in Windsor-Essex County has the opportunity and support to succeed- from cradle to career.” Other sub committees would follow with the establishment of a Planning Committee in early 2019.
By late Fall (2018), data sharing agreements were established with organizations followed by a community engagement strategy led by Overlap Associates. The goal was to engage community members, including families and youth to gain insights into their perceptions about opportunities for youth in Windsor and Essex County. This strategy included an online survey, key informant interviews and ethnographic research. Street Teams were created from partnering agencies to engage people in the community and conduct brief interviews. Results of community engagement activities were presented to the Leadership Council in December of 2018.
The work of ProsperUs moved forward in 2019 with interactive Data Walks implemented in neighbourhoods across Windsor and Essex County to share existing data and engage participants in meaningful discussion about what they had learned and what was missing. In the coming months, further support was provided by the Data and Evaluation Table to examine key indicators and identify priority neighbourhoods.
In July, a media event highlighted the release of the Coming Together- Building a Hopeful Future for Children and Youth in Windsor-Essex County Executive Summary Report which identified Downtown Windsor, West Windsor and the Town of Leamington as priority areas for the initial Cradle to Career focus.
The next phase of the project is the recruitment of staff and community representatives to begin the work of the Community Action Network. It will be these groups, across the three identified neighbourhoods that will delve deeply into the issues and barriers that children and youth are facing in our community and propose innovative solutions to overcome these barriers.
There is much work to be done. The Chairs of the Leadership Council and members of the partnering agencies continue to celebrate milestones in the work that has been accomplished so far. The Windsor-Essex County Health Unit is proud to be part of this initiative and continues to provide human resources and expertise to the Cradle to Career initiative. Specifically, I would like to acknowledge Ramsey D’Souza, our manager of Epidemiology and Evaluation, who is a valued member of the Data and Evaluation Table. Jen Johnston, our Social Determinants of Health nurse participated as a member of the one of the Street Teams. In addition, our Health Unit has put forward names of several members of our Healthy Schools department to participate as co-chair, facilitators and content experts for the Community Action Network working tables.
- ProsperUs Communications, July 2018.
- Ministry of Health and Long Term Care, Ontario Public Health Standards, 2018.