Park City Municipal awarded a $100,000-dollar contract to the Park City Community Foundation to serve as the social equity community convener. This year Park City established Social Equity as a critical priority, so the funds will be used primarily to identify goals and to build a strategic plan over the next year. Carolyn Murray has this:
Park City Mayor, Andy Beerman said in recent years, citizens have repeatedly asked City Council to address growing social inequities for those who live and work in the Park City area. He said the Park City Community Foundation is best equipped to take on the efforts of building fairness and decency into Park City’s social and economic structures. Affordable housing, cost of living, access to services, political representation and education success are some of the concerns for under-represented populations.
“We understood that the city was not going to take this over as a critical priority, but we wanted to show leadership. There are already many great non-profits in town and individuals working on social equity and providing services. We’re not necessarily best equipped to do that. We think there is no one better equipped to do that than the Park City Foundation. That’s the work they are already doing...is working with our existing non-profits.”
Community Foundation Executive Director, Katie Wright said the process will identify and prioritize needs or gaps that exist in Park City. She said her group is experienced in this kind of initiative.
“Certainly, one of our roles is to raise resources and to get them into the hands of non-profits. But, to do that well and to make sure the resources have deep impact, and to truly serve the people, we need to know where there are gaps in services, what programs need more funding. So, we are, I think, well positioned to this. Our current experience leading and convening around mental health and climate change in the past. So, certainly this is a role we’ve had in the community and will continue to have.”
Diego Zegarra is the Development and Special Projects Director with the Community Foundation. He will run the social equity project for the next year. He intends to include all voices, non-profits and community partners.
“I imagine a multi-year strategic plan that as Katy said, allows us to determine which are the areas in which we can make the most impact. Where are the needs? Creating a gap analysis will help us to determine that. Outlining priorities for the community. And, one of the most important things to me is having under represented voices at the table.”
Beerman said the City doesn’t have the resources to effectively reach many of the underserved groups living and working in Park City. He said the City covers too many issues to focus on just one.
“Felt like a neutral party is a better way to approach that. Among some of our residents, there is a concern and fear of government right now. And that gets conflated with local government right now because of some of the national concerns. So, we think having a non-profit take lead on this will cast a wider net.”
Beerman believes the project will grow and evolve over time and could take a generation to establish. The Youth and Spanish Services Librarian, Katrina Kmack has been involved in defining the program and bringing the library into comportment with the social equity challenges. 20 percent of Park City residents are Spanish speaking. Kmack has worked on bringing appropriate programs for the Hispanic Community to the Park City Library.
“The city generously funded Erika Sanchez who came for her book I’m Not Your Perfect Mexican Daughter. And, I believe they also provided 5000 or 7000-dollars for Spanish materials. The city has also ncreased our budget for Spanish materials at the library as well.”
Zagarra said they’ve been on a listening tour in recent months and the strategic planning work will focus on more constituencies than only the Latino Community. “Although Latinos will be a group that will benefit from this, we do want to extend the table to have other under-represented voices from the LGBTQ plus community, seniors that feel like they don’t have a voice…people with different abilities.” Zagarra will create a core delegation that includes input from city staff and council. They plan to have a Gap Analysis done by spring of next year and a fully formed Strategic Plan by October 2019.Wright said she doesn’t know yet what outcomes to expect from the planning efforts, but she gives a few examples of possibilities. “They could be things like all children reading at third grade level because we know that is an indicator for later success in life. It could be something where we look at all boards, non-profit and city and look at the representation of underserved folks on those levels because that would indicate a level of voice and ecision making for the community.” Go to Parkcitycf.org/socialequity to learn more about the social equity project.