Freedom Corridor Community Collaborative - Optimistic Beginnings to Effective Partnership
Freedom Communities is often described as the “connective tissue”. One of its primary roles here along the Freedom Drive Corridor in West Charlotte is serving as the connector/convener of the many organizations and individuals working and living here.
The truth is, here in the Freedom Drive Corridor there is no shortage of incredible organizations and amazing community leaders - it is encouraging to see the caliber of leadership, passion and commitment to creating opportunity for the residents who call Enderly Park and Camp Greene home.
So what’s the problem? We’ve had the opportunity to spend a great deal of time connecting with the organizations, teachers, business and community leaders in this area and have recognized that despite doing incredible work, there is a lack of awareness of the wide variety of resources and support systems out there. This lack of collaboration and coordination of efforts isn’t due to the lack of desire - but rather due to the lack of a separate entity being in place whose sole purpose is bringing people together, creating alignment and a framework within which to collaborate.
We are thrilled to announce that this week, Freedom Communities took the first steps in launching the Freedom Corridor Community Collaborative. 33 people convened at this event, representing 16 of our closest allies working in the community - organizations focused on housing, physical and mental health, education, workforce development, and churches. During our time together we set a common definition for collaboration as distinguished from networking, coordination, and cooperation - and answered the following three questions:
1) How often do you want to meet?
2) When we meet what do we need to be focusing on?
3) Who else needs to be in the room?
We made it clear that this is not the Freedom Communities Collaborative but rather the Freedom Corridor Community Collaborative. If it is to be sustainable and successful, we must have the voices and participation of the community and partner organizations directing the vision and execution of our collaborative work together.
The feedback we received was overwhelmingly positive and left us hopeful for what we could all accomplish together in the future.
The road ahead will come with many challenges but also many rewards. Collaboration is a radical idea - but when organizations and groups in community work to enhance each other’s capacity, they open vast possibilities for community change that do not otherwise exist.
With gratitude and service.