Fuel the Fire of Change

Community Foundation

BY BRITTANY MATTIE SRQ DAILY WEDNESDAY PHILANTHROPY EDITION WEDNESDAY MAR 14, 2018

The Community Foundation of Sarasota County, in partnership with Ascend at the Aspen Institute, together host the 2018 2Gen Summit on Breaking Cycles of Poverty. The second of its kind in our region, the conference takes place at the Lee Wetherington Boys & Girls Clubs of Sarasota County. The Community Foundation has been partnering with local organizations and county schools since 2011 to integrate the 2Gen philosophy into local programs directed at lifting affected families out of the poverty threshold here. The summit intends to educate the area, providing the latest research and innovative practices that will support families on their journey to economic security and educational success. Between yesterday and today, more than 250 local leaders from nonprofit organizations, civic groups, county school systems, the private sector, as well as city and county commissions are scheduled to attend. Attendees will hear from national thought leaders from around the U.S., program directors, social workers and parents. The goal—a meeting of the minds, to convene and determine ways Sarasota County, Manatee County and our greater community can strategically break the multi-generational cycle of poverty, while concurrently honoring, respecting and supporting those vulnerable families. 

Inspired by Ascend at the Aspen Institute, the 2Gen Summit revolves around the subject of their “Two-Generation Approach," which focuses on creating opportunities and addressing needs of both children and the adults in their lives together. The 2Gen Approach incorporates five core components—Education and Development, Post Education Employment Pathways/Opportunities, Economic Assets, Health and Well-Being, and Social Capital. An overview of the agenda includes interactive breakout sessions and engaging workshops from the speakers on core components to identify, develop and implement topics in the following—Mental Health, Affordable Housing, Racial Equity, Early Childhood Education, Parent Education and Workforce Training, Engaging and Listening to Families, Building Successful Partnerships, Effectively Measuring Program Outcomes.

One of the many highlights include speaker Ann Christiano, an esteemed professor at University of Florida, the Frank Karel Chair in Public Interest Communications and Director of the newly established Center for Public Interest Communications. She opened her presentation with a poignant image blown up on the screens of a match lit a fire with the words, “Fuel for the Fire of Change”. While shedding light on the topics at hand, she simultaneously made the audience feel all the emotions fundamentally key for making real change transpire– pride, awe, sadness, fear, humor, and inspiration. With relatable yet creative imagery, video clips and thought-provoking questions, you could feel the auditorium stimulated with motivation to execute their own plan for future change in a more effective and resourceful way. She ended her discussion with saying, “Communicate images so other people can see what you see. Use that power of emotion and consider using emotions that people actually want to feel. Create actionable content and tell stories that build people’s curiosity. Because there’s this incredible thing that happens when you do this—it’s like gasoline on a flame. And what happens when you put gasoline on a flame? You can’t see the gasoline anymore. All you see is fire.” The common interest of everyone there became apparent– to learn and connect with one another, to mobilize policies and to activate changes to better our community.

The Community Foundation and Ascend at the Aspen hope to ignite the empathy within all of us, ultimately helping less fortunate families flourish economically, educationally, socially and physically for positive community change. Much can come from this powerful summit, and while the first day’s portion of the conference may be over, you can still catch the second day’s action today from 8:00am-2:00pm. For more details about the 2Gen Summit or to schedule separate interviews with speakers, contact Murray Devine at 941.556.7122 or MDevine@CFSarasota.org

The Community Foundation of Sarasota County is proud to partner with SRQ Media Group to highlight stories about community impact powered by philanthropy in our region, thanks to the support of donors and our local nonprofit partners. The Community Foundation is a public charity founded in 1979 by the Southwest Florida Estate Planning Council as a resource for caring individuals and the causes they support, enabling them to make a charitable impact on the community. For more information, visit www.CFSarasota.org

Image provided by The Community Foundation.

2018 2Gen Summit

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