United Way of Albany County

Community Impact Cooperative of Albany County

 

Mission Statement: The Community Impact Cooperative (CIC) brings together individuals, organizations, and resources to promote and improve the overall wellness of our community through education, collaboration, and advocacy.

What is the Community Impact Cooperative?

The CIC is a group of citizens and leaders working toward improving the community health of Albany County neighborhoods. We believe that collaboration fosters a sense of trust and cooperation, leading to a more cohesive and resilient community. The cooperative seeks to reduce disparities in access to resources and opportunities among different populations within Albany County. By working together, we can identify and address common issues and plan for future needs. Through listening to stories and working with Albany County non-profits and leaders to collect community health data, we build relationships in Albany County and strengthen this community. 

 

Interested in Sharing Your Story?

Take our quick, 3-minute survey telling us what you love most about living in Laramie and suggestions for improving our community. By sharing your story, you’re helping local organizations bring additional funding into Laramie, funding that can be used to improve the quality of life for your loved ones, neighbors, friends, and colleagues.

Click here to be redirected to our survey.

 

Our Vision 

Our efforts will improve Albany County’s ability to work together and make our community the strongest in the state. We will do this by listening to Albany County citizens’ stories, working with Albany County non-profits and leaders to measure community health, and assessing community needs. The CIC envisions a community defined by equal opportunity, access to healthcare, quality food, and affordable housing, by literacy levels, by a positive built environment, and by wages that keep residents out of poverty. 

We are developing the CIC to be the go-to organization for collaborative work in the community. Our goal is to build the most equitable community in the state. We strive for a county where all citizens have equal access to equal opportunities, a county where the neighborhood in which you live does not impact your quality of housing or access to health care, education, or transportation. 

 Our driving question is simple: what kind of community do you want to live in? Let’s go build that. 

 

Our Composition

The CIC is made up of Albany County citizens invested in improving the way we work together as neighbors. We are led by a steering group providing overall leadership, mission, vision, and long-term strategic planning. The steering group is composed of twenty leaders from the community who guide the CIC’s, mission, vision, and strategic plan. Steering group members also participate in working groups, who focus on the CIC’s action items, namely, a community health index and a community listening project, both of which focus on collaborative approaches to identifying resident needs in Albany County and building the relationships necessary to fulfill those needs. Together, these groups help Albany County collaborate to improve community health.  

At present, working groups are focused on collecting data to identify needs in the community, collecting stories from a diverse array of community members and neighbors, and creating opportunities for Albany County citizens and leaders to tackle problems together. 

 

Why Cooperatives Are Needed

Cooperatives are groups of organizations or individuals that come together to achieve a common goal or address a shared issue. Cooperatives can increase the visibility and credibility of an issue, amplify the voices of marginalized and underrepresented groups, and build stronger relationships and networks within a community or sector. This helps with future action to create meaningful change and address complex social issues. 

 

The Collective Impact Model

The CIC is informed by the collective impact model (CIM), which entails the following: 

  • A community driven agenda 
  • Data rooted in shared measurements established by community members 
  • Measurements tracked over time to assess impact
  • Adjustments made to goals and methods to improve impact

 

The Collective Impact Method

We bring the collective impact models’ data driven approach together with a community listening emphasis. We work with Albany County citizens and leaders to measure this community’s health, to identify gaps, and to recognize needs in the community. We pair this with community listening via interviews, town halls, and focus groups to hear what citizens are saying about living in Albany County. What do they love? What do they need? We want to know what people have to say about their quality of life—and more importantly, how that quality of life feels.

It’s one thing to know you’re represented because your data is collected; it’s another to know your story is heard. We know many decisions and policies are currently made without community input; we seek to change that. 

 

Sponsorships, Partnerships, Timeline, Funding Support, and Goals

The CIC is supported by United Way of Albany County. Startup funding was provided by the Ellbogen Foundation. Project funding was established by an ARPA (American Rescue Plan Act) grant through the County Commissioners office. The cooperative restarted in August 2022 after a transition period going from remote collaboration to in-person work. We are further developing the cooperative and are seeking steering group members, working group members, local champions, and community partners. Currently, we are collecting data and meeting with community leaders to identify needs. We emphasize building relationships through the community so that in 2024 we can turn our attention to how we, as a community, can best meet the needs identified by the community.  

Our Goals: 

  • Create ways for Albany County residents, organizations, and leaders to work together 
  • Use collaboration to collect data and stories to identify need 
  • Establish cooperative avenues to address community needs 
  • Foster a welcoming and inclusive environment for all community members 
  • Increase representation and engagement of marginalized and underrepresented groups in decision-making processes 
  • Support the development and growth of community-led organizations and initiatives 
  • Address systemic barriers that contribute to social and economic inequality
  • Promote community wellness and health

This cooperative is driven by the community. This is our work together. 

 

Steering Group

Steering Group Co-chairs 

  • Brenda Birkle, Executive Director, My Front Door
  • Mary Orr, Employment and Training Laramie and Rawlins Workforce Centers, Department of Workforce Services  

Steering Group Members 

  • Jessica Moen, Executive Director, Hospice of Laramie 
  • Gabel Taggart (BA, MPP, PhD), Research Fellow, Center for Organizational Research and Design, University of Wyoming
  • Courtney Titus, Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion Sr. Program Coordinator, University of Wyoming  
  • Jasmine Parten, WyoTech Human Resources Assistant, Volunteer Firefighter  
  • Jessica Ford, Coordinator, Teaching and Learning Center, and Test and Exam Center, LCCC Coordinator, Teaching and Learning Center, and Test and Exam Center 
  • Kim Chestnut (PhD), VP of Student Affairs, University of Wyoming  
  • Coty Johnson, Student Services Coordinator, WyoTech
  • Hanna Eslinger, Community Relations Officer, Big Brothers Big Sisters
  • Shelby Hutson, LeaRN Lecturer, University of Wyoming

Working Group Members 

  • April Heaney, Director, LeaRN, University of Wyoming 
  • Cady Favazzo, Outreach Services, Albany County Public Library; Teach Artist, University of Wyoming Art Museum 

Support Staff 

  • Aubrey Edwards – Director of Community Impact Cooperative 
  • Anna Cramer – United Way Executive Director 

 

Interested in joining the steering group or a working group? Email Aubrey Edwards (aubrey.@edwards@nullunitedwayalbanycounty.org) and 

 

Our Community Partners

  • Albany County SAFE Project
  • American Red Cross
  • Ark Regional Services
  • Big Brothers Big Sisters
  • Cathedral Home Community Programs
  • Developmental Preschool & Daycare Center
  • The Downtown Clinic
  • Eppson Center for Seniors
  • Family Promise of Albany County
  • Hospice of Laramie
  • Laramie Interfaith
  • Laramie Head Start
  • Laramie Reproductive Health
  • Laramie Soup Kitchen
  • My Front Door
  • Wyoming 2-1-1

 

 

How to Get Involved

The Community Impact Cooperative welcomes individuals who are passionate about improving community health and wellness. There are many ways to get involved with the cooperative, here are a few ways you can get started:  

  1. Email Aubrey to connect and grab a coffee. aubrey.edwards@nullunitedwayalbanycounty.org.
  2. Consider becoming a CIC member: volunteer to join a working group and help us reach decisions, develop policies, and advocate for progress. 
  3. Attend an event: join us at one of our upcoming events to learn more about the CIC and meet others passionate about our cause. 
  4. Donate to United Way or a community partner. 

We are grateful for the support of individuals like you who are committed to making a difference. Together, we can create a better future for all. 

 


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