News & Media

Co-creating a Blueprint for a Sustainable Community

Thu. Apr 25, 2019

On behalf of Incourage staff and board, I am excited to share information about an initiative we launched this week, with support from Nathan Cummings Foundation, which we hope will make a powerful contribution to the future of our community: Incourage is convening a diverse circle of residents from our region to form the Sustainable Communities Working Group. This group will engage residents across our community to co-create a “blueprint” for the sustainable community that our region can become.  

Incourage is committed to ensuring that this endeavor is not merely a thought exercise that results in nothing more than words on paper. We will turn the blueprint into real-world action: Incourage is ready to be bold in offering new funding possibilities specifically designed to resource this blueprint created by our community – blending grant, investment and other forms of capital and support, to bring this blueprint to life. 

The blueprint will also inform the priorities and direction for the newly announced Partnership for Sustainable Communities of Incourage and University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point, a center for thought-leadership and action on sustainable communities that is the first of its kind in the state.

Realizing the power of our potential is at the heart of what inspires Incourage to keep pushing the envelope of what is possible in our region, and to continue to explore what our role should be as a community foundation operating by and for the people. 

We are honored to work with 22 thoughtful, dedicated community members who have accepted the invitation to come together toward the shared goal of envisioning a sustainable future for our region. We also look forward to the input and insight that the Working Group members will gather from the intentional conversations they will host with colleagues, neighbors, classmates, clients, and others. Together, we envision a blueprint that represents the ideas, hopes, and priorities of many people across our community.

To help design a process of cutting-edge co-creation, Incourage is collaborating with Joanna Cea and Jess Rimington, whose work and research as Visiting Scholars at Stanford University’s Global Projects Center is represented in the Stanford Social Innovation Review article, Creating Breakout Innovation, and focuses on collaborative processes for community transformation. Together – with Incourage – they will facilitate a process that places residents in the driver’s seat to identify a set of practices to realize our community’s vision of a sustainable future.

When I think about us expanding our horizon and looking toward our community’s future, I think of the reaction we enjoy when taking people to the roof of the Tribune for the first time. The rooftop view of the riverfront and downtown invokes awe-inspired comments and vision; seeding conversations about possibility. It is a similar feeling of potential we hope the “blueprint” will spark in setting our collective sights high for what is possible with the future of our community. 

Our staff and board are very excited for the co-creative process ahead. We are committed to learning from and acting on the reflections and recommendations that emerge – making the blueprint as impactful as it can be.  

If you are interested in joining the conversations about this blueprint and sharing your own ideas, please reach out. You can email me at[email protected], or Heather McKellips at [email protected], or call us at 715.423.3863.

Thanks for reading and for your interest in our shared, sustainable future!


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  • About Incourage

    Established in rural Wisconsin in 1994 to serve the changing needs of the south Wood County area, Incourage has become a nationally-recognized leader in place-based philanthropy and community development. Guided by values of equity, opportunity, and shared stewardship, Incourage envisions a community that works well for all people. One physical manifestation of this vision is the redevelopment of the Tribune building, which demonstrates Incourage’s user-centered approach to growing a strong and inclusive local economy.