News & Media

CEO Column: It’s Up To You—Take the Survey

Thu. Jan 26, 2012

By: Kelly Ryan Lucas, CEO

It takes courage to change.

It takes courage to collaborate, to admit failure, to not need to own a victory. It will take all of these things and more to move forward and realize a shared vision. That’s why courage is part of our new name.

Incourage Community Foundation. The dual meaning of incourage drives us – encouraging community and acting in courage. This new name invites every resident, former resident and person who cares about the south Wood County area to engage in recreating our economy and realizing a thriving community with opportunities for all people.

A name change, however, means nothing without action. Action that models the change and behavior we seek. Courage. Encourage. Inclusion.

Over the last 18 months, we experienced a powerful and defining moment. As we conducted focus groups involving more than 100 residents, the majority commented it was the first time that someone, “… wanted to know what I think.” They felt like, “something good might come of this.”

For that very reason we are launching the largest public opinion survey ever conducted in the south Wood County area. Why? We need priorities identified by the community, for the community. We need a common vision that links us all together – individuals and organizations. We need mechanisms that allow everyone to participate in shaping the future of this community – building consensus around solutions.

There is much good work underway in this community. This effort is not about creating new priorities or new work – unless needed. Rather, it is designed to create connections and information flow across organizations to build consensus, maximize resources and strengthen impact.

“There’s no future in this ghost town.” I’ve heard it, have you? I don’t believe it. Incourage staff and board members don’t believe it either. But, what do you think? Beginning this Friday, January 27, you will be able to answer this question.

A national research firm will contact 500 households seeking participation in a telephone survey commissioned by your community foundation. Participants will be selected by the firm to create a statistically accurate representation of the south Wood County area. Help shape our future by making your voice and opinion heard. Please answer the phone and take the survey.

If you don’t get one of the 500 calls, take the online version available on many community websites, including our own www.incouragecf.org. Don’t have internet access? Call us at 715-423-3863. We’ll mail a survey to you with a self-addressed, stamped envelope. If none of these methods work for you, call us and we’ll make sure you are able to participate. This work would not be possible without our national partners – John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Edge Research.

We believe there is unlimited potential in this community of courageous, kind and caring people. We also see a tremendous need to change the culture so every citizen feels valued, has a voice, takes the initiative to be heard and acts to improve their community.

Don’t miss this opportunity. This isn’t a ghost town. This is our town.

  • Press Contact

    [email protected] | 715.423.3863
  • 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.