The Columbia Basin Trust kicked off a year long engagement process in Golden last week with their first open house.
The day-long event included a chance to browse the information, talk face-to-face with CBT staff and board members, speak at round-table discussions, and pose questions to the people who will be making decisions about CBT’s future programming.
There were also whiteboards around the room where attendees could provide their ideas, wants, and needs. All the information gathered at the event will be noted for future discussion.
The hosts also posed a question to the room, one that could determine the future of the programming for the Trust.
Would you like to see CBT’s programs to cover wide, or go deep? In other words, would you like to see their funds help as many projects and groups as possible, or to pick a few important initiatives and pour as much resources as possible into those?
It was not an easy question to answer, as those in attendance had a wide range of priorities and wants.
Some thought that economic development and job creation were most important, while others thought funding for non-profits and recreational initiatives (such as an indoor pool) had a greater need.
Affordable housing, seniors services and retention, public transportation, affordable daycare, and assisted living for people with disabilities were also pointed out as priorities.
Right now, CBT tries to spread their resources around and help as many groups and projects as possible, but they would like to know if that’s what the residents of the Basin really want. If they narrowed their focus, they could have a substantial impact in a few areas, but would have to neglect others. If they continue covering a wide range, they will help more people, but perhaps not enough.
The engagement process was sparked by the Trust’s 20th anniversary, as well as the fact that their funds are expected to more than double over the next few years, from $4 million eight years ago to $22 million today and $55 million 3-5 years from now. They will also be renewing their strategic priorities in 2015.
The engagement will be a three-phase process, the first of which is connecting with Basin residents to discuss their priorities as they did at the open house. Residents will still have the opportunity to join that conversation at other community events, as well as online.
Next, those priorities will be narrowed down at a regional level, and worked into recommendations. And thirdly those recommendations will be worked into an action plan for the Trust to implement.
For more information, or to provide any input, go to ourtrustourfuture.org.