The blog of the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation

Apr 23, 2012

Silicon Valley Community Foundation engages people in planning for Bay Area growth

Posted by Elizabeth R. Miller

This post is one of a series focused on how community foundations are investing in news and information projects to make an impact on issues they care about. The following video was filmed during Knight’s 2012 Media Learning Seminar, where five community foundations gave brief, TED-like talks on how the projects they launched are impacting their cities.

In the video above, Margot Rawlins shares how the Silicon Valley Community Foundation helped bring the community together to address the impact of population growth in the Bay Area.

Two million people are expected to move to the region over the next 25 years, representing a 35% increase in the community’s population. The impact on the community and the quality of life for both its existing and new residents is significant, says Margot Rawlins of the Silicon Valley Community Foundation.

That’s why the foundation took a three-pronged approach to “try to get enough information out to people to learn that the way we grow has a big impact on the things they care about in their community,” Rawlins said.

In the video above, Rawlins described the approach more in-depth. Part of it included launching an interactive website, “ You Choose Bay Area.” The site brought together 38 community leaders from the fields of public health, business and labor to better understand what a project to inform the public population growth would look like.

It also successfully brought residents into the mix. Of the people who visited the site, 20% said they were brand new to the regional planning process. Of that group, 70% reported they were likely or very likely to stay involved with the cause moving forward.

Rawlins also explained how the foundation took a leadership role in creating a media campaign involving a public radio station, and what it learned from organizing ten public forums across several counties to discuss how growth could potentially affect the community.

Learn more about how the Silicon Valley Community Foundation solidified its role as a community leader through the project.


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