Civic Health Index (CHI) is at the center of our work. We think of “civic health” as the way that communities are organized to define and address public problems. Communities with strong indicators of civic health have higher employment rates, stronger schools, better physical health, and more responsive governments. For the past 10 years NCoC, together with the Corporation for National and Community Service and state and community level collaborative networks across the nation, has documented the state of civic life in America in city, state and national Civic Health Index (CHI) reports.
CHI partnerships have changed the way governments go about their work, reintroduced civics to our classrooms, redirected investments, influenced national and local conversations resulting in enhancing civic life, and bolstered a network of civic leaders across the country. By 2020, our goal is to integrate this pioneering initiative into ongoing partnerships in all 50 states and the District of Columbia.
NCoC currently works with cross-sector partners in over 30 states and communities to strengthen civic life in America. The Civic Health Initiative uses engaging reports, infographics, fact sheets, and forums to create a deeper understanding of civic health. These tools serve as the foundation for our partners to innovate new ways to increase civic engagement, generate dialogue and catalyze sustainable civic strategies.
NCoC is recruiting Civic Health Initiative partners representing all 50 states and America’s largest cities.
To begin a partnership with us, contact NCoC’s Program Director, Lisa Matthews (firstname.lastname@example.org).
How to Get Involved
While our civic health research has been conducted annually ever since 2006 on a national level, we quickly realized that we are not the experts on the ground. In order for the data to have the most impact, it needs to be localized. Our goal is to facilitate civic movements by bringing together key stakeholders in the community to identify and address the issues they care about. In 2008, we began working in collaboration with partners in 3 states to produce local Civic Health Index reports.
These partnerships have grown exponentially over the past few years, and we now work in over 30 communities nationwide.
We don’t purport to know all the answers, nor do we assert that we are the best tellers of these local stories. That’s why we partner with organizations throughout the country who can tell the local story about the data, give context to the findings, and suggest recommendations on what can be done to strengthen civic life. We rely on our local partners and community leaders to make the data come alive.
In our typical partnership model, NCoC takes the lead on the following:
- Strategy: Supporting partners through the project development process by supporting fundraising, identifying local stakeholders, developing strategy, helping determine goals, and creating timelines and expectations to meet those objectives.
Research: Managing the national research partnerships with CNCS, US Census, and our Civic Indicators Working Group to establish survey questions, advocate for the data collection and manage preliminary analysis.
Data: Providing our local partners with preliminary findings and ongoing consulting on data analysis, research questions, and narrative.
Design: Leading the report production process from copy editing through layout, design, printing and shipping.
Communications: Supporting our partners through their communications and dissemination efforts by drafting press releases, outreach to the media, advising on and attending launch events, and consulting on follow-up efforts.
Sharing Models and Resources: Convening our partners regularly to share best practices, resources and models through webinars, conference calls, in-person convening, and online toolkits.
NCoC’s partners take the lead on the following:
- Fundraising: Leading the process to identify funders and secure the resources to bring the CHI to each new community. (Additional details on budget and funding model are included below.)
Authorship: Creating a narrative that gives life to data and findings, providing critical context for the research, developing graph content, and preparing recommendations for next steps.
Dialogue and Action: Leading a communications and dissemination strategy in partnership with NCoC. Our partners ensure that our reports reach key decision makers and stakeholders and inform policy, practice and investments.
Our reports are joint products of NCoC and our partners, and we to come to full editorial agreement before the publication of the report.