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Tuesday, August 21, 2018

Do You Hear the Voices of Your Most Vulnerable Neighbors?

On March 24, 2009 there was a special gathering of current and future leaders of Arizona’s business community. The City of the Future 2020 Summit was presented by the Collaboration for a New Century. The Summit was held at Tempe’s Center for the Arts.

The purpose of the summit is to bring awareness to Arizona’s business leaders of the state’s social issues and encourage them to take a stand towards an improvement in the quality of life for Arizonans.

Did you know that Arizona ranks near last in the nation on many key quality of life indicators that affect children and working families? Many companies and community-based agencies are doing their part to help, but more involvement is needed.

The Collaboration was formed in 1999 by Jerry Colangelo and Dr. Bill Starr. Their concern for the Valley’s poor and those less fortunate led them to action. Colangelo and Starr shared their vision with Valley leaders in business, faith, philanthropy and government, and there was a deep conviction that we must work together to meet four basic needs: affordable housing, livable wage employment, access to health care coverage, and safe, healthy environments for our children.

Jerry Colangelo has said, “It’s easy to focus on economic growth and not see that we have a lot of hurting people. Our challenges are tied up with a crisis of the spirit as well as with a crisis of economics. Poverty exacts a price far beyond poor neighborhoods. It results in deflated civic morale, lost human potential, and higher economic costs. When the elderly, disadvantaged or at risk
a re struggling, it affects us all. Thankfully the Collaboration has given
many of us, as leaders, a way to respond. The collaboration has sensitized business and civil leaders and mobilized volunteers to heal our great, though broken city. I urge you to join us in making a difference.”

As leaders gather and service partnerships are being built, the Collaboration for a New Century believes Arizona has an historic opportunity to promote prosperity for all segments of our society, and in so doing, create a more livable community for us all.

Arizona continues to hover around the bottom on several key quality of life indicators nationally. The United Way of America’s State of Caring Index that tracks national changes in health, safety, education and economic well being ranks Arizona 49th in its latest evaluation. Arizona’s state of well-being continues to struggle with significant elements that make a difference in the life of its residents.

The Collaboration has set a goal to move the Caring Index Line of Arizona to above the national average rankings by the year 2020. Leaders of all areas must collaborate to bring a quality of life to Arizona and move forward as a “City of the Future”.

The Collaboration for a New Century has identified six categories that will bring opportunities to struggling families. Child development, youth mentoring, affordable housing, job training, family support, and affordable healthcare. Each year, the collaboration identifies six Blue Ribbon non-profit agencies that have the potential to greatly impact the community, but that needs additional leadership assistance. The agencies chosen this year are Arizona Quest For Kids, Childhelp, Arizona Housing Inc, Concerned Citizens for Community Health, Open Table and Mission of Mercy.

The vision is clear! “The City of the Future is prosperity for all.” Business, faith, philanthropy and government working together to ensure that individuals and families in vulnerable communities have a quality of life beyond just mere existence.

Many challenges face Arizona, in particular here in the South Mountain and Laveen Village. As we focus on the areas economic recovery, we must not forget to correct the existing issues that directly affect our community. We can help by adopting a new paradigm, to think, behave, and use our resources in a different way to achieve the City of the Future. Now is the time for all the leaders of Arizona, South Mountain and Laveen Village to work together towards this goal.

If you would like to support this effort or receive more information you can contact: Steve Capobres, Executive Director of The Collaboration for a New Century, 602-496-1335 or steve@thecollab.org

“Leadership is the art of accomplishing more than the science of management says is possible” Collin Powell



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