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Community-Driven Change in Pontiac
“One sees great things from the valley; only small things from the peak. ”
— G.K. Chesterton
What might happen if we were to bring all of Pontiac’s remarkable minds and creative problem solvers together and tasked them with collaborating to achieve specific, cross-community outcomes?
This was the question that the Pontiac Funders Collaborative wanted to answer when they came together in 2019 with the expressed goal of supporting meaningful change in Pontiac. After all, why should Detroit get all the love?
Revitalizing Pontiac is no easy task, but we have a number of agencies and organizations that are hard at work addressing everything from economic distress to education disparities to the accessibility of basic services. There isn’t a lack of desire or will to improve our city—we just need to work with a collaborative spirit.
That’s where the Collective Impact framework comes in. Having had first-hand experience with how the work of StriveTogether had positively influenced communities across the nation—from Milwaukee to San Antonio, San Francisco to Charleston—members of the Collaborative worked to establish just such an organization in Pontiac.
Since establishing the Pontiac Collective Impact Partnership, the funders have named Oakland University as its first financial sponsor and selected Dr. Samino Scott as its executive director. Over the past eight months, Dr. Scott has collaborated in developing the organizational governing structure and engaged in a comprehensive community survey that helped the Partnership identify its first Community Impact Goal: Improving the Quality of Life in Pontiac.
While the Collaborative is funding several different local initiatives and organizations, the work of the Collective Impact Partnership is to serve as a brain trust, of sorts—we bring our diverse community leaders, advocates, activists, and citizens together to coordinate current and future initiatives in order to create meaningful, citizen-led change.
Pontiac’s deep history of civic and social engagements means we’re already well on our way to seeing real results in our community—but we need everyone’s light to guide the way. So we’ll be holding regular community engagement events that will give you the opportunity to share your thoughts and learn more about how you can get involved.
Pontiac has seen its share of ups and downs, like all great cities, but we can only see boundless possibilities from here.