On March 10, 2022, the Centre for Public Impact released the Earned Legitimacy Learning Cohort: Impact Report.
The report details the outcomes of the organization’s 10-week program that brought together local governments and historically underserved communities with the aim of repairing relationships through acknowledging past wrongs and showing a commitment to confront present-day justice and civil rights issues. As documented in the 2020 book, RECONOMICS: The Path To Resilient Prosperity, restoring trust is usually the first step to revitalizing communities traumatized by injustices.
Inaugural cohort participants included Carlton County, Minnesota; Detroit, Michigan; Harris County, Texas; and Salt Lake City, Utah.
During the cohort, participants engaged with 50+ community members to generate over 250 ideas, all while working to build long-term trust and engagement with residents.
Each participating municipality chose to focus on a unique challenge in their community, collaborated with impacted residents, and presented policy suggestions at the end of the program.
Focus areas and policy impacts include:
- Carlton County, Minnesota, whose team focused on connecting with rural communities, recommended that all government employees receive Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) training and that the County allot $10,000 in funding to support locally-driven projects that incentivize residents to take a leading role in building stronger, more vibrant communities. Both proposals were approved by the County Board.
- Detroit, Michigan, whose team focused on better serving the disability community, received buy-in from the Director of Human Resources for the city and the Chief of Staff for Detroit’s Mayor to mandate disability awareness training for all city employees and to move forward with cross-departmental meetings to finalize and pursue initiatives that will reduce accessibility barriers throughout the city.
- Harris County, whose team focused on affordable housing for Black, Hispanic/Latinx, and low-income residents, presented to the Commissioners Court of Harris County on inclusive and accessible community engagement. The County is continuing to ideate and test various housing solutions and will meet again with the Commissioners Court in the coming months.
- Salt Lake City, whose team focused on advancing equity in public safety, met with Mayor Mendenhall who noted that residents “shared ideas that are already being implemented by our city government” and came up with “brilliant, novel ideas to solve challenges in policing, such as mental health de-escalation training for law enforcement.” Mayor Mendenhall is supportive of continued empowering of and collaboration with residents to build a more equitable tomorrow.
According to Jorge Fanjul, Legitimacy Program Director at the Centre for Public Impact, “The core of the Earned Legitimacy Learning Cohort was being open to listening, learning, and adapting. CPI’s Learning Liaisons helped cohort members focus on centering community perspectives, especially from communities that have been historically underrepresented, and worked to share power with those impacted by a specific challenge–leading to truly cocreating with residents in ways that make for real and transformative impact in people’s lives.”
“The fact that all four participating counties reported that they were able to not only connect, but design policy solutions with communities who did not trust the government at the start of the program speaks volumes to the power of the Earned Legitimacy methodology,” he concluded.
Key to the success of the inaugural Earned Legitimacy Learning Cohort was the mindset of learning THAT WAS imbued into the program.