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Communities at the Center

Why it matters

To achieve The Arizona We Want, we need communities and leaders working together to make Arizonans’ priorities a reality.  In order to respond to the pressing concerns of our communities and build a stronger future for our state, we need data and community-driven dialogue and action to generate sustainable solutions.

How it works

A key component of the Communities at the Center initiative is The Arizona We Want Community Conversations. Through Community Conversations, CFA engages with communities to spark dialogue about the aspirations Arizonans hold for the future of our state, introduce the Arizona Progress Meters as tools to support data-driven dialogue and planning, and increase understanding of the issues that matter most to Arizonans at the local level. The Community Conversations strengthen civic health by generating fact-based dialogue at the community level, elevating local concerns and priorities, and laying a foundation for community-driven solutions.

Building on Community Conversations, CFA works with partners to develop innovative solutions to community priorities. Here are examples of some of these projects:

  1. Utilizing the Arizona Progress Meters as Tools for Regional Planning: Working with organizations including the Northern Arizona Council of Governments, Central Arizona Governments, Southeastern Arizona Government Organization, and more, CFA equips communities to use the Arizona Progress Meters to advance long-term planning in ways that are responsive to Arizonans' priorities.

    The Progress Meters support collaborative regional, community, municipal, and strategic planning processes to align community priorities with action and long-term planning.

  2. Engage Communities in Data-Driven Dialogue and Action Planning: Working with organizations including the State of Black Arizona, Blue Cross Blue Shield Arizona, Crisis Response Network, Vitalyst Health Foundation, and others, CFA is activating the Arizona Progress Meters data by engaging communities in dialogue and action.

    These engagements include developing reports and publications, facilitating data-based dialogue, establishing common priorities, and generating opportunities for further action.
  1. Generate Tools for Data-Driven Community Solutions: Another key component of Communities at the Center is the DemocraSeed Toolkit, which provides communities with tools for creative problem-solving. DemocraSeed is a collaboration between the Center for the Future of Arizona and ASU's Public Service Academy that started in 2016 to equip city and tribal youth councils throughout our state to utilize design thinking and the Arizona Progress Meters as tools for public problem-solving that increase civic engagement and community connectedness. The broader set of tools and curriculum designed to use data to identify challenges and engage communities to develop innovative solutions will soon be available through the DemocraSeed Toolkit.

Our impact

  • Engaged 50+ Arizona communities in community conversations through data-driven dialogue and deliberation
  • Engaged 1000+ participants in discussion of the Arizona Progress Meters and hopes for a "stronger and brighter Arizona"
  • Supported 9 city and tribal youth councils in creating community-led solutions
  • Collaborated with 10+ strategic partners in dialogue and action to advance local priorities

Our partners

  • Achieve Pinal
  • Arizona Grantmakers Forum
  • Arizona Regional Economic Development Foundation
  • Arizona Rural Development Council
  • ASU Public Service Academy
  • Arizona Town Hall
  • Blue Cross Blue Shield AZ
  • Central Arizona Governments
  • City of Casa Grande
  • Community Medical Services
  • Crisis Response Network
  • Flinn Foundation Arizona Center for Civic Leadership
  • League of Arizona Cities and Towns
  • Northern Arizona Council of Governments
  • Pinal Business and Education Committee
  • SouthEast Arizona Governments Organization
  • State of Black Arizona
  • The Kemper and Ethel Marley Foundation
  • Vitalyst Health Foundation

Key Funders

  • Blue Cross Blue Shield of Arizona
  • The Kemper and Ethel Marley Foundation


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