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Greetings!  You certainly have identified an issue that many communities are struggling with.   Thank you for your efforts that contribute to the broader conversation.   Regarding your feedback questions:  1) "What are some of the blind spots" - you mention that you want to bring opportunity to low income minorities in East Austin, foster minority-led business creation and support 100 local jobs from the businesses you create.   This is a very exciting and tangible goal, but in my experience, the creation of a business is a very complex undertaking which requires expert guidance at the outset if one hopes for sustainability.   I don't see any mention in the proposal about where the expertise for business creation will come from.   Do you have a nonprofit partner that has a proven track record in assisting minority entrepreneurs? I think it would be important for you to include this information in your proposal.   Also,  I would suggest that you be more specific about the meaning of "sustainable urban design".   I have found that this phrase means different things to different people, so it would be important to know exactly what you envision.   Question #2 "is this the best use of the funds within the budget" - I'm actually wondering if the budget for the Fellows stipends shouldn't be larger, but its really your call based on your vision.   Question #3 "how can we best foster collaboration" - identify at least one component of your initiative where the fellows, city, investors and collaborators can come together on accomplishing a goal.   Possibly that could be around actual business creation...are there barriers to business creation that could be easily addressed if they were more widely known and discussed?  can a shared goal be around ways to leverage entrepreneurial assets, etc.?   Can you maintain culture and community in new and exciting ways?   Thank you for your work on this important topic!


Carolyn commented on Interfaith One Earth Initiative

Greetings!   thank you for the important work you have already done in the community!  Regarding the three questions you have, 1) "How many times does a person need to hear something before he/she acts on it" - there are many perspectives on this question!  some will say 3 times: Curiosity, Recognition and Decision;  many will say that it takes at least seven times and you will frequently hear the "Rule of 7" is the key;  but some researchers believe it takes at least 20 times!   Research does seem to indicate that "We listen more closely to people we care about than people we don't know", "you should tell stories to make an emotional connection to the issue if you desire action",  pictures and authentic images can be very influential.   Question #2 "Who are the best influencers or change agents" - people who have experience and who are articulate about the issue, but also authentic and genuine in their understanding and communication.   Question #3 "How to reach influencers" - I suspect you already have several people in mind but are anxious about approaching them.    I suggest that you be specific about who you think those people are and how they could help, figure out who you know who might know the influencer you have identified,  and ask for their help to set up a meeting with the influencer, then when you meet with the influencer you should be able to explain your initiative and ask what you would specifically like them to do for/with you.   Best wishes to your team!


Carolyn commented on Salinas Arts & Innovation Hub

You ask some very important questions!   "How will we engage the Ag industry w/o compromising our integrity" - rather than thinking about the industry as a monolith, are there one or two people in the industry with whom you can talk and identify a shared vision for the vibrancy of the community.  How can this work be a win-win-win versus adversarial.   The work must be approached with genuine interest in breaking down barriers and finding common ground.  Again, that won't be everyone in the industry, but the development of a positive process and benefits for all can be very influential for the skeptics.    Question 2 "What is the best way to appeal to the Ag industry" - First, be clear that you genuinely want the industry as a partner in this work.  What can you achieve together than cannot be addressed or solved individually, which, of course is not everything, but you might identify some important shared goals.   Question #3:  "With the focus on STEM education, how can we convince constituent groups to value creativity as an asset for problem solving" - many communities are now using the acronym "STEAM" and adding an "A" for the Arts.  You will find that the arts are used differently in each STEAM community from actually using arts disciplines to teach STEM subjects, to including the teaching of the arts as an important way to explore problem-solving.   An artistic problem-solving strategy I have used many times and have found to be very powerful is one that is describe by Betty Edwards in her book "Drawing on the Artist Within".   She describes a process by which you draw the problem you are trying to solve.   You do not use an representational images in her strategy, only abstract line and shapes.  Best wishes with your very important work!