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The three-headed hydra of apathy, envy and fear has ideas about who gets access to vital services.

The 100% Community initiative is based on one question and answer. What percentage of people should be able to access vital services for surviving and thriving?

“TERMS OF SURVIVAL” SERIES

This twenty-part series introduces you to twenty key terms used in a local mobilizing process that you and your community will require to survive and thrive during colliding crises. The articles will reference the three-headed hydra of apathy, envy and fear, those people in positions of power who are fighting to keep a broken status quo.

Concept 19: 100% Community initiative

100% Community is a book, an initiative and a movement. It is promoting one radically simple idea that can be summed up in one question and answer. This question is for all of us, but especially our elected officials.

What percentage of people should have access to the ten vital services for surviving and thriving?

If your answer is 100%, then 100% Community is what you’ve been waiting for.

Which ten services are we talking about?

As you are now reading “Concept 19” of the 20-concept article series, I assume you are up to speed on the ten vital services the 100% Community initiative is focused on. If not, here you go.

  • Medical/Dental Care
  • Behavioral Health Care
  • Housing security programs
  • Food security programs
  • Transport
  • Parent Supports
  • Early Childhood Learning Programs
  • Fully-resourced Community Schools with school-based health care
  • Youth Mentors
  • Job Training for jobs aligned with the workforce market

How 100% Community happens: One story

100% Community ensures the safety of your people in times both calm and chaotic. We provide to you our step-by-step process, with the understanding that each county may wish to customize it to meet their unique needs. You may be wondering, “Is my county ready for the 100% Community initiative?” I always wonder that after I talk on the phone with a potential county champion.

I offer one inspiring story from months before the pandemic hit New Mexico. In one county, a medical director of twenty clinic in northern New Mexico named Matt Probst reached out. He had heard about the book 100% Community through a mutual friend.

Matt asked what the first step was for launching the 100% Community initiative. I said reading the 600-plus page 100% Community was a good start.

Within a week he had read it and emailed, “What’s next?”

I responded, “Can you identify two community organizers and ten action team leaders, each one representing one of our ten surviving and thriving services? Will all of them be willing to read the book and commit eight hours a week of community service time to the 100% Community initiative?”

Two weeks later an email arrived from Matt, one heck of a highly-motivated hero, with bios of the twelve person team, all committing to the book and eight hours a week.

Matt asked, “Now what?”

I replied, “How about getting all your team members to read and discuss the book guiding the initiative?”

Suddenly a series of book club meetings were scheduled by Matt and started at the local university. Then COVID-19 hit. Matt, not one to let a pandemic or economic meltdown hamper a new initiative, transformed the book club from face-to-face to video conference mode.

The rest is history as he works tirelessly, with his action team leaders and ever growing community of 100% Community collaborators and supporters (including the sheriff, mayor and representatives from higher education, emergency management and economic development).

Honestly, keeping up with Matt and his county coalition is a challenge I look forward to every single day.

Different Counties. Different Timelines.

Other counties exploring the 100% Community initiative are evolving at different paces and that’s perfectly understandable. What matters most is that we start a dialogue with all county champions about the goals of the initiative and include as many potential change agents as possible. From there, everything falls into place.

Not Tinkering Around the Edges

The 100% Community is not business as usual, which should be clear by now. Launched before the pandemic and economic free fall began, our mission is more urgent than ever. We are all vulnerable and having access to the ten vital services for surviving and thriving can bring us peace of mind in chaotic times.

Our initiative is unlike most other ventures that seek to ensure healthy, safe and resilient lives of all residents, because:

  • We are not a short term fix: instead, we are a process that will change how all your local government and nonprofit agencies view their role of serving all residents.
  • We are seeking solutions and wide support from both the public and private sectors, harnessing human and technological ingenuity.
  • We are, by the nature of our work and philosophy, a movement to ensure vital health services for all residents. We are joining a long list of collective action movements to ensure equity and end health disparities.

Through relationship-building, community mobilization and communication, you will be able to do three things:

  • Engage: Dialogue with leaders and the public to share the importance of having access to the vital services that keep 100% healthy.
  • Mobilize: Invite county residents to become involved in promoting health, safety and resilience for all residents.
  • Solve: Empower and activate the change agents through the 100% Community process. Through research focused on the social determinants of health, innovations in every family and student-serving sector, and advances in technology, we address our long-standing health and safety challenges.

Our destination

This twenty-part article series was intended to serve as an introduction to the twenty key concepts (or terms) guiding the 100% Community initiative. The initiative is designed to be a blueprint for taking a county from a place of health disparities and social adversity to one of health access, resilience and opportunity.

Ultimately, our work in ten sectors leads to buy-in from city governments, county governments and school government so that elected leaders can quickly see the cost-benefit of ensuring ten “surviving and thriving” community services.

Who’s funding what?

As discussed in an earlier article “Concept 7: a county’s borders,” funding the health of county residents should be the responsibility of local government. Allow me to repeat a few key concepts.

First, it’s important to note that the 100% Community initiative does not require localities to raise money to fund it. It might sound to some like a Marshall Plan or mission to mars program involving millions directed to each county. It’s not. It does mean reprioritizing where current city and county funds go. To a line item called “survival.”

The initiative was designed to be “staffed” by people who are already employed in the ten services areas, as well as higher education and all areas of government. That does not mean each county initiative, a county/city partnership, does not require stable funding. It does, just like any public serving organization working to ensure vital services in a rapidly evolving pandemic as the national economy goes over a cliff.

Our formula for funding is radically simple.

We can’t think the feds, state or some foundation will commit to prioritizing the ten vital services in a county, to serve 100% of residents. Each county has to be self-sustaining. Each county needs to take local control. The solution is staring us in the face, especially if we are looking at our laptops, visiting the websites of our county and city governments. Allow me to offer a local funding option.

In a typical county of 30,000 people, a county government’s budget may be around $30,000,000.

In a typical city, with a population of 12,000 residents, the city budget might be around $20,000,000.

Total: $50,000,000.

While these numbers will vary widely depending on your state, and will change as a result of the current colliding crises, they are good starting points. I boldly propose that we earmark 1% the combined county budget (and city budgets of all cities within the county’s borders)for a countywide 100% Community initiative. (That amount is far less money than my city spends on the Park Department. I live across from a park and like that it’s maintained. But let’s talk priorities in a pandemic.)

At 1%, that would give this collaborative city/county initiative a budget of $500,000. For that investment, we get what’s called a countywide process of continuous quality improvement in four phases (a model used to make businesses successful):

  1. Assessment: of services gaps and why they exist.
  2. Planning: creating public-private sector partnership, to fix gaps
  3. Action: fueled by collaboration, innovation and technology, to ensure 10 services meet the needs of 100%, including creating the businesses and jobs of the future
  4. Evaluation: that track all projects and what county residents report on services

What 100% Community does do. And doesn’t.

The initiative does ask the city or county to fund ten services. That’s not possible. We fully understand that the ten vital services are delivered by a collection of disconnected organizations and businesses in the public and private sector. Some are funded, in part and/or sporadically, by local and state government, some by foundations (for a limited time), and others are entirely pay as you go services, courtesy private enterprises.

What 100% Community does do, as stated above, is identify gaps in services and then identify ways to fix gaps. We are thrilled private sector leaders have great services to fill gaps. And in most counties, many people can afford those services. Our job, with 100% Community, is to make sure lack of money does not mean lack of access to services for surviving. We also commit to ensuring services for thriving because that’s what civilized societies do. With partnerships with local governments, our city and county leaders can gently nudge all sorts of service providers to find creative ways to ensure access in some sort of sliding fee scale scenario or with creatively developed subsidies. We envision lots of imaginatively designed public-private sector partnerships.

1% for 100%

Every county faces stark challenges and decisions and without a coordinated plan, we are far too vulnerable to viruses and hopelessness. We have the plan with the 100% Community. We have the local funding if we believe an investment of 1% is a prudent one.

Institutionalizing the Initiative

“What does institutionalizing all this look like?” is a question I hear a lot. The answer is: a future where any youth, student, parent or grandparent can visit the website of the city or county in which they live to find a “Department of Family and Community Resilience” or “Dept. of Surviving and Thriving.” These sites will be providing links to user-friendly services within the county’s borders (as well as options online that show evidence of success). This future “department” will assess yearly to what level families and all community members have access to ten services. Then this department will support, with data, collaboration, technology and political will, evidence-informed strategies to reduce all disparities. Simply put, the department will ensure that all ten sectors are able to meet the needs of 100% of county residents.

A public health crisis colliding into economic free fall shows how fragile we all are, especially in regards to timely health care. Our goal is to harness ingenuity and our concern for our neighbors, then focus it on creating a seamless system of solutions.

If not you, who?

Who should engage with the 100% Community? That’s easy to answer. You. In this unprecedented collision of at least seven crises (yes, I keep a list), we need every caring human we can find. As for 1,567 moving parts of the initiative, those details await you in a short hour read (if you read 100% Community an hour a night for seven nights). I hope you do.

And we now come full circle, with a question for you. What percentage of your neighbors, living across the county, should be able to access the ten vital services for surviving and thriving? In a pandemic and economic free fall?

I eagerly await your answer.

See 100% Community, Chapter 32: Getting to the 100% Community Goal, Step-by-Step

The future is what we make it. Join the evolution.

Please excuse any typos as I construct an article at 3am on only one cup of Joe. These stories are mine and mine alone. I do not represent any organization here. If one of my illustrations looks like a real human or three-headed hydra, that’s total coincidence. Words and images ©Dominic Cappello but share with everyone you know. Questions? Answers await you here: www.tenvitalservices.org

Written by

A NY Times bestselling author, social justice activist, Oprah guest, co-author of Attack of the Three-Headed Hydras, 100% Community and Anna, Age Eight.

A NY Times bestselling author, social justice activist, Oprah guest, co-author of Attack of the Three-Headed Hydras, 100% Community and Anna, Age Eight.

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