07 Aug HEADING INTO 2020, MY MIAMI STORY CONVERSATIONS TO ASK, “WHERE ARE WE AS A COMMUNITY?”
2020 is around the corner, and changes that will directly affect our region — including upcoming elections, the Census count, evolving diversity in neighborhoods, and climate impacts — are top of mind for many Miami-Dade County residents. As the milestone year approaches, My Miami Story conversations will provide a platform for residents of every zip code and cultural background to discuss community priorities, civic policies, leadership and other pressing issues that will define the county’s future.
The Miami Foundation’s My Miami Story conversations will invite Miami-Dade County residents to spend Tuesday, October 15, 2019 considering the question: “2020 is here: where are we?” Participants will share personal stories and explore ideas on how residents can work together to improve communities in large and small ways. This is The Miami Foundation’s fourth year hosting the conversations about who Miamians are, where they are going and what each resident can contribute. Each year, participation in these conversations continues to grow; last year more than 4,000 residents gathered in homes, restaurants, offices, parks, libraries and numerous other locations around the county.
“There’s power in storytelling. When thousands of people come together to share their Miami stories, we create a unified narrative that informs funders, public agencies, nonprofits and elected decision-makers about ways to better guide community-building plans for Greater Miami,” said Matthew Beatty, senior director of communications and engagement at The Miami Foundation. “There is more that unifies us than separates us, and these gatherings connect residents around their shared experiences of living here and how to improve those experiences.”
My Miami Story conversation hosts bring together small groups of 6-12 residents over breakfast, lunch, dinner and cafecito breaks throughout the day. Any resident can sign up to host a conversation at MyMiamiStory.org. Hosts and participants will be invited to complete a post-conversation survey that will be analyzed by the team at Hart Research and Public Opinion Strategies, with funding from Knight Foundation. The Miami Foundation will share the survey findings, insights and results with local decision-makers to inform their community-related work in Greater Miami.
A 2018 My Miami Story conversation
The initiative has powerful outcomes. According to 2018 post-conversation surveys, nine out of 10 respondents who participated in conversations in 2017 took a specific action over the next year to get involved and improve their community because of attending a My Miami Story conversation. Other key findings include:
- One-half of respondents attended community meetings and events about important issues;
- Forty percent indicated they built relationships with new people; and
- Roughly one-third worked to raise awareness and educate others about important issues, donated money to a cause or organization, or became more politically involved.
More survey results are available here.
My Miami Story conversations are part of “On the Table,” a national initiative originally developed by The Chicago Community Trust in 2014 and funded by the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation. Support for On the Table advances Knight’s work to help cities attract and keep talented people, expand economic opportunity and create a culture of civic engagement. Knight Foundation believes that successful communities are equitable, inclusive and participatory.
“My Miami Story conversations offer a constructive counterpoint to the divisive debate that many Americans will encounter in the upcoming election year,” said Lilly Weinberg, director for communities and national initiatives at Knight Foundation. “The future of our communities and our country depends on the ability of residents to hear each other, learn from each other and collaborate to shape decision-making. My Miami Story helps make this possible.”
For more information and to sign up as a My Miami Story conversation host, visit MyMiamiStory.org.
About The Miami Foundation: The Miami Foundation partners with donors to champion their causes and improve local quality of life. Since 1967, we’ve done this by taking leadership on civic issues, investing in our community and nurturing philanthropy. Thanks to our more than 1,000 donors, we currently manage close to $350 million in assets and have made $350 million in grants that create opportunities for residents, make Miami-Dade County more resilient and foster home-grown creativity. MiamiFoundation.org
About the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation
Knight Foundation is a national foundation with strong local roots. We invest in journalism, in the arts, and in the success of cities where brothers John S. and James L. Knight once published newspapers. Our goal is to foster informed and engaged communities, which we believe are essential for a healthy democracy. For more, visit kf.org.