What course will Charlotte-Mecklenburg chart over the next ten years as we deal with issues of access, inclusion, equity and trust for all residents in the social, political, economic and cultural life of our community? This is a question that I know we are all asking ourselves in one way or another during these uncertain times. This is also THE question Crossroads Charlotte is posing to our community.
What is Crossroads Charlotte? First of all, it’s one of the latest projects we’ve been working on. Union (formerly Studiobanks) has been tasked with re-designing the Crossroads Charlotte website in an effort to provide a more dynamic and interactive means for Crossroads to get its message across and provide opportunities for organizations, institutions and individuals to take action in the future of our community. So what EXACTLY IS Crossroads Charlotte?
Started in 2001, Crossroads Charlotte is a large-scale civic engagement initiative designed to examine the possible futures of our community and to enlist residents and organizations to help steer the future of Charlotte-Mecklenburg. This project is a special initiative of Foundation for the Carolinas and the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation and is managed by the Community Building Initiative. Charlotte was one of 40 communities that participated in a Social Capital Benchmark Survey conducted by Harvard University professor Robert Putnam. To help illustrate how our community could evolve by the year 2015, four scenarios were written based on this research and in response to a core question: What course will Charlotte-Mecklenburg chart for all its residents over the next ten years as we deal with issues of access, equity, inclusion and trust in the social, political, economic and cultural life of the community? Each story, Fortress Charlotte, Class Act, The Beat Goes On, and Eye to Eye, tells a very different possible outcome. In response to these scenarios, individuals and organizations have been taking an active role in shaping our community’s future through forming and participating in Crossroads Initiatives throughout the community.
This new social-networking website will not only feature a variety of ways for people to hear and respond to these four stories, but visitors will also be able to learn about and connect with individuals and organizations that are developing & implementing initiatives.
In fact, I just attended a collaborative session yesterday morning at the Museum of History where ten new organizations met to provide feedback and support for one another on their ideas for Crossroads Initiatives. The new organizations included AT&T, Catawba Lands Conservancy, Centralina Council of Governments, Charlotte Chamber of Commerce, Communities In Schools, International House, Leadership Charlotte, Partners in Out-of-School Time (POST), Queens University of Charlotte and the American Red Cross Greater Carolinas Chapter. It was really inspiring to see these influential organizations taking the time to come together and look at how they could come up with an initiative specific to them that would positively impact issues of access, equity, inclusion and trust in the social, political, economic and cultural life of our community!
As you can see, this is an exciting project to be a part of. Stay tuned, we’re working hard towards the launch of the new Crossroads Charlotte website in the coming months and there will be many ways for you to get involved!