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Key Insights and Recommendations to Activate Our Greater San Diego Vision

2 The Malin Burnham Center for Civic Engagement at The San Diego Foundation:

Table of Contents 01 02 02

1.0 The San Diego Foundation 1.1 Our Greater San Diego Vision 1.2 Overview of Research


2.0 Center for Civic Engagement


3.0 What’s Unique About San Diego County?


4.0 Methodology

09 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 16

5.0 5.1 5.2 5.3 5.4 5.5 5.6 5.7 5.8

17 18 20 21

6.0 Capacity to Realize the Vision 6.1 Internal Examples of Key Insights in Action 6.2 Increase Internal and External Capacity 6.3 Additional Funding Insights


7.0 Conclusions

23 23 24 24 25

8.0 8.1 8.2 8.3 8.4

Key Insights And Recommendations From Research Strategic Collaboration Is Key Identify Potential Partners and Engage Them Early Involve Local Government from the Start Citizen Engagement Should Be Tailored To Each Community Continue To Provide Updates On Progress Use Technology To Communicate The Vision And Its Impacts If Fundraising Is Necessary, Start Early Break Through Boundaries

Appendices Appendix 1: Criteria For Analyzing Similar Visioning Efforts Appendix 2: Web-Based Research Questions Appendix 3: Interview Questions Appendix 4: Information For Model Regional Visioning Efforts

Key Insights and Recommendations to Activate Our Greater San Diego Vision 1


The San Diego Foundation Since its inception in 1975, The San Diego Foundation has worked toward our vision of a community where generosity and civic engagement are valued and practiced by all people in service to the common good. Efforts toward this vision have included helping publicspirited citizens find ways to address community problems. The funds managed now number in the thousands. Through these funds and our partnerships with local leadership, together with our donors, we support numerous organizations and serve a variety of extraordinary causes. Our donors and funds all share a common purpose — to make San Diego a better place in which to live, learn, work and play. The San Diego Foundation is proud to stand as San Diego’s leading resource for information about charitable giving and community strengths and assets. We encourage, support and facilitate meaningful dialogue on issues affecting each of our communities, and work with philanthropic partners to develop creative solutions to meet critical community needs.

Our Greater San Diego Vision 1.1

Overview of Research 1.2

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Our Greater San Diego Vision Over the next 40 years, the San Diego region is expected to grow by 1.3 million people including the preponderance from our children and grandchildren. In the fall of 2011, The Foundation launched Our Greater San Diego Vision (OGSDV), an unprecedented public engagement process for today’s residents to create a shared vision and longrange plan for our region’s future. The Foundation has also established the Center for Civic Engagement, which will be the Vision’s organizational backbone

to ensure OGSDV is implemented and continuously updated so stakeholders across the region make decisions in-line with the greater San Diego community’s vision. By February 2012, at the close of public choosing, The Foundation had reached an unprecedented amount of public input with more than 30,000 participants through our online choosing tool.

Overview of Research With this unprecedented support from the region, The Foundation has the responsibility to develop a regional vision that meets the needs and priorities of its residents. In an effort to ensure that the values and priorities of the Vision are effectively carried forward in the Center for Civic Engagement, The Foundation made it a priority to research similar efforts in other regions throughout the United States through generous support from its Thomas Murphy Fund. This research sought to identify lessons learned and best practices from

other regional visioning efforts to inform The Foundation’s development of the Center for Civic Engagement. This report includes the methodology for the research, key findings and implications, and next steps for The San Diego Foundation’s Center for Civic Engagement. This report builds on prior work by Joe Sterling and Peter MacCracken on researching regional visioning efforts nationwide.



Key Insights and Recommendations to Activate Our Greater San Diego Vision 3


Center for Civic Engagement In September 2011, The San Diego Foundation established the Malin Burnham Center for Civic Engagement (The Center) to serve as the region’s center for fostering understanding and dialogue on critical regional issues with a focus on social, economic, and environmental issues. The Center will provide a new institutional framework to enable The Foundation to play a catalytic role in community problem-solving, civic education, leadership training, and policy analysis. While the specific roles and subsequent actions of the Center are still being formalized, it is anticipated that the Center’s main roles will be to work with other institutions and individuals in the community to provide leadership, a gathering place to bring different ideas and perspectives together, philanthropic support, and other resources to protect and enhance the quality of life for present and future generations in our region. The Center will have five main activities to fulfill these roles: communications and media relations, provocative research, major forums and convenings, strategic and proactive grantmaking, and work to inform and advance regional public policy. Through these roles and focus areas, the Center will take on several activities. For example, the Center will bring together government, business, philanthropy, academia, and the media to advance new solutions to pressing local challenges. As a trusted resource for assessing social challenges and effective interventions, the Center will research and disseminate stateof-the-art findings about best practices among regional elected and appointed officials, foundations, donors, and nonprofits. The Center will also train forward-thinking community leaders; support strategic, timely and interdisciplinary programs; and will proactively engage and educate the public about critical issues in the San Diego region. Now that the public choosing process is complete and we have had participation from more than 30,000 people, the Center will use the vision created from the Our Greater San Diego Vision process as a starting point to launch important conversations about issues to shape the future of the region. Because the results of the visioning process won’t include all the necessary information to shape the future of the region, the Center will continue to rely on the communities to deepen our understanding of the most pertinent issues. Therefore, ongoing community engagement about the issues and priorities identified in the Vision will ensure that the work of the Center for Civic Engagement embodies the community’s aspirations and needs over the long term. Given the huge responsibility to be undertaken by the Center, this research project was designed to gather key insights and recommendations from other regions around the country participating in similar regional visioning efforts to inform this local effort.

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What’s Unique about San Diego County? Before looking to other regional visioning efforts for lessons learned, it is important to understand the unique characteristics of San Diego County to better apply lessons learned in a more local context. San Diego is the United States’ eighth largest city, with more than three million residents countywide. Within its 4,200 square miles, San Diego County encompasses eighteen incorporated cities, eighteen tribal nations, and many distinctive neighborhoods and communities composed of residents hailing from all over the world. Drawing upon this extraordinary diversity, San Diego has become a world leader in higher education and innovation. The region is widely recognized as fostering successful global innovators in technology, communications, biomedical and other critical scientific fields. As home to scores of preeminent scientists and scholars, San Diego is the ideal home for major international education, training and research partnerships. San Diego’s comparative advantage on the world stage is its outstanding track record in bringing research and innovation to market through public-private ventures; this approach is key to advancing economic growth in the region as well as strengthening civil society. As a binational locale, the San Diego – Baja California region is also rapidly becoming an incubator for cross-border cooperation in

security, agriculture, energy, and technology. Our region shoulders a special responsibility for “getting it right” as we seek to become more globally competitive in key science and technology sectors by leveraging economic development opportunities that link both sides of the border. Furthermore, San Diego County is considered a biodiversity hot spot with more biodiversity than any other county in North America. The richness of these unique species in San Diego has prompted San Diegans to take responsibility in protecting our natural resources. The region has one of the most ambitious regional conservation efforts underway in the country with a goal to protect approximately 500,000 acres in an interconnected network of parks and nature preserves in rivers, canyons, lagoons, and beaches across the county. San Diego’s arts and culture community is strong and vibrant — with over thirty museums, world-class musical, dance and theatre companies, and the incomparable Balboa Park — and is embedded in a region that is unrivaled with its 70 miles of breathtaking coastline and a stunning array of canyons, mountain vistas, and desert landscapes. We are truly blessed with the privilege of residing in a paradise.

Key Insights and Recommendations to Activate Our Greater San Diego Vision 5

Engaging local governments from the start will be crucial to gaining local support and ultimate success in realizing regional priorities identified in Our Greater San Diego Vision At the same time, the San Diego region is afflicted with many of the problems that face the country as a whole. In 2011, our economy is increasingly hourglassshaped, with almost 15% of households receiving an annual income over $100,000 while almost 15% of the population lives below the poverty level. The disparities are increasing as drop-out rates rise and too many youth join the growing ranks of low-skilled workers. Immigrants, African Americans and Latinos — representing more than 40 percent of our region’s students — are disproportionately found among those low-wage workers, and they often reside in neighborhoods that are unsafe or marred by environmental hazards. Our precious open spaces seem to be disappearing, our farmers can’t make a living any more, and we fear that soon we

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San Diego is the United States’ eighth largest city, with more than three million residents countywide. Within its 4,200 square miles, San Diego County encompasses eighteen incorporated cities, eighteen tribal nations, and many distinctive neighborhoods and communities composed of residents hailing from all over the world. won’t have enough water to satisfy a thirsty, growing population. San Diego’s problems are a microcosm of America’s—even the world’s—problems. But what we do to address those problems will be distinct because of our unique character as a diverse, innovative and technically sophisticated region. San Diegans can and will put our community first, bringing new solutions to bear on seemingly intractable problems. We can seize the opportunity for local leadership to act globally, invest in our future, and address the challenges stemming from changing demographics, environmental crises and a globalizing economy to engage in “nation-building at home,” as Thomas Friedman suggests in Hot, Flat, and Crowded. There are, however, many reasons to be optimistic. San Diego is home to many of the world’s leading innovators and idealists. We enjoy the human capital resources to research and influence public opinion about critical issues such

as shared regional prosperity, sustainable energy and water resources, education for innovation, pandemics and medical breakthrough technologies, immigrant civic integration, educational leadership in multicultural settings, binational cultural and environmental cooperation, healthy natural lands and wildlife, land use management, sustainable agricultural development, and employment training for the future economy, among many other topics. Unfortunately, San Diego’s research and business communities, as well as many public officials, work in isolation from one another, and a vacuum exists where the catalyst for public dialogue, a “public square,” to engage us all in determining the future of our region, is needed. However, with the collective will and new leadership through the Center for Civic Engagement to bring constituents together in discussions and collaboration, everyone stands to gain by including all members of the greater community in dialogue to determine and implement solutions for these challenges in our region.

Key Insights and Recommendations to Activate Our Greater San Diego Vision 7


Methodology To gather lessons learned to apply to this visioning effort in San Diego County, we identified model regional visioning efforts throughout the United States to focus our research. The following summarizes the process to identify and analyze 17 such efforts to research best practices and lessons learned that can be applied to Our Greater San Diego Vision. Three broad steps were followed: 1. Compile a list and brief overview of all visioning efforts in the United States 2. Identify a core group (15-18) of model visioning efforts for more in-depth inquiry of lessons learned 3. For the core group, gather information regarding best practices and lessons learned through webbased research, reviewing published reports, and interviews Visioning efforts typically involve the community to help shape the future growth of a city, county, state, or region. A list of about 70+ regions was compiled that have organized visioning efforts throughout the United States. The full list was developed through consulting staff and advisors at The San Diego Foundation, and web-based research. To identify the visioning efforts that would act as models for research, 16 criteria were developed for comparison. The criteria were identified based on priorities for OGSDV as well as availability of information and alignment with our initiatives and goals. A full list of the 16 selected criteria and their explanation is in Appendix 1. All 70+ visioning efforts were analyzed and compared

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Figure 3: Shows the geographic area covered in each vision in square miles.

to the criteria through web-based research. Once all efforts were analyzed, they were organized by how many of the 16 criteria they met. Those that met 11 or more criteria were further compared to ensure that each criterion had sufficient representation in the final selection. For example, the least represented criteria were Public Funding, Social Media, and Foundation. Therefore, the efforts that met 11 or more criteria but also incorporated these less represented criteria were included in the final list of model visioning efforts. Additionally, it is important to gather a crosssection of case studies that cover efforts led by all different types of organizations and efforts that addressed one topic very well (e.g. research on the best funding opportunities). Considering these factors and how closely the efforts matched the identified criteria, 17 model efforts were identified for research purposes to inform the process of OGSDV. To gather information

on best practices and lessons learned from other visioning efforts, a list of research questions was developed with input from various San Diego Foundation staff and advisors (Appendix 2). These questions were applied to all 17 model visioning efforts, and were answered through web-based research. Furthermore, for each effort we were able to contact, telephone interviews were conducted that focused on community engagement, fundraising, and lessons learned for bringing the vision to life. A list of questions can be found in Appendix 3. Where possible, the conversations were recorded for future reference. Once the research was completed, the information was compiled and analyzed below to identify best practices and lessons learned from model regional visioning efforts to apply to the Center for Civic Engagement’s realization of Our Greater San Diego Vision.

Key Insights and Recommendations to Activate Our Greater San Diego Vision 9


Key Insights and Recommendations from Research

After comparing regional visioning efforts throughout the United States, the following 17 regional visioning efforts were selected as models for the research. Additional information about each region can be found in Appendix 4: • Bay Area Alliance for Sustainable Communities — Bay Area, California • Bay Area You Choose — Bay Area, California • Bend 2030 — Bend, Oregon • The Boston Indicators Project — Boston, Massachusetts • Burlington Legacy Project — Burlington, Vermont • Center for Houston’s Future — Houston, Texas • Dream a Sound Future/The Happiness Initiative — Seattle, Washington • Envision Central Texas — Central Texas • Envision San Jose 2040 — San Jose, California • Envision Utah — Utah • Go to 2040 — Chicago, Illinois • The Grand Vision — Traverse City, Michigan • Hawai’i 2050 — Hawai’i • How Shall We Grow? — Central Florida • PlaNYC 2030 — New York, New York • Vision For a Greater New Haven — New Haven, Connecticut • visionPDX — Portland, Oregon

The key insights and recommendations for The Center’s fulfillment of priorities for Our Greater San Diego Vision based on this research are outlined below. Summary of Key Insights and Recommendations:

• Strategic collaboration is key • Identify potential partners and engage them early • Involve local government from the start • Citizen engagement should be tailored to each community • Continue to provide updates on progress • Use technology to communicate the Vision and its impacts • If fundraising is necessary, start early • Break through boundaries

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Strategic Collaboration is Key There is one insight that was common to every visioning effort we interviewed — the lead organization did not work alone. Each conversation revealed that throughout the process, collaboration was key to achieving the goal. Given that The San Diego Foundation doesn’t have access to every group, region, or resource necessary for this initiative, partnerships will prove to be useful in ensuring success of OGSDV and addressing regional priorities and challenges. Partner organizations in other regions collaborated in public education and awareness, community outreach, and implementation among others. The Foundation has already identified and engaged several partner organizations including nonprofits, representatives from local government agencies, and educational institutions to complement our visioning efforts. However, as additional needs arise for which we do not have the internal resources, future strategic collaboration will continue to be useful in achieving The Center’s goals through this initiative. In Seattle, with their Sustainable Seattle/ Dream a Sound Future initiatives, they have experienced organizations and leaders approaching them for potential partnerships. Where the mission aligned with the goals of their project, partnerships came naturally to ensure progress of the visioning initiative. The San Diego Foundation represents the community as a whole and doesn’t have a

position or specific agenda to push in the visioning effort, similar to Silicon Valley Community Foundation’s role in the Envision Bay Area regional planning effort. For Silicon Valley Community Foundation, this role resulted in some limitations, but also provided some great opportunities. One limitation included inability to advocate given their neutral position. To address this limitation, they partnered with several organizations, including the Greenbelt Alliance, that filled this role and provided significant support to the effort. This partnership also proved useful in other roles including outreach for the overall effort. Silicon Valley Community Foundation’s nonpartisan role in Envision Bay Area also provided some great opportunity. They were able to form certain partnerships that would not have been possible had they played a more advocacy-driven role. For example, KQED, a local public broadcasting station, provided several news stories and publicity about the effort. Given their commitment to providing unbiased news, they wouldn’t be able to support the effort had Silicon Valley Community Foundation taken a stronger position. Similarly, The San Diego Foundation can form strategic partnerships to support the effort and its impact, while still remaining a nonpartisan leader and maintaining the opportunity for additional partnerships.


Key Insights and Recommendations to Activate Our Greater San Diego Vision 11


Identify Potential Partners and Engage Them Early In many cases, a vision is developed for a specific region that involves collaboration, cooperation, and significant time and energy. However, the realization of different elements of the vision often falls short of initial expectations due to lack of funding, resources, or support from the necessary parties. With Our Greater San Diego Vision, definitive action and ongoing community engagement in response to the Vision will be even more important than the development of the Vision itself. Planning ahead while developing the Vision will ensure that the Center for Civic Engagement is best-poised to carry the Vision forward, as a catalyst for deepening community conversations about the future of our region, in terms of shared values, collective aspirations, and priorities for how we grow. In most cases, one entity led the vision development while others subsequently worked to realize key elements of that vision. For this reason, it is crucial that the Center identifies potential partner organizations and provides them with appropriate resources to help fulfill its roles within the community in the coming months and years. These parties could include government agencies, nonprofit organizations, research institutions, and business groups, among others. If the process of developing the Vision doesn’t allow these groups to include their opinions or voice their concerns, they could be resistant to collaborating in advancing priorities from the Vision. Potential partners should not only participate early on in the visioning process but they should also have access to the

necessary tools and support to act upon the Vision. These resources might include research, convenings, connections to other key organizations and individuals, and financial support. Where possible, it is important that the Center for Civic Engagement ensures access to and/or develops such tools. By anticipating partners and their needs, the realization of OGSDV will be more successful. As Shelley Lauten, President of myregion. org in Central Florida stated, “It will be an uphill battle if the people that have to implement the plan aren’t at the table from the very beginning.” For example, in Utah, in the 1970’s, Utah Governor Calvin Rampton promoted legislation that commissioned land conservation and development with the idea that it would drive underlying planning assumptions throughout the state. However, they excluded one key stakeholder group — local land developers. These local land developers, together with the support of a local radio talk show, initiated a movement to repeal the State’s land-use planning law that was ultimately successful. During initial talks for Envision Utah in the 1990s, it quickly became a priority to engage local land developers in the visioning process as a result of previous events. Local land developers greatly influence growth in a region. Therefore, this is one group that will be important to realization of Our Greater San Diego Vision. By working to gain support from potential stakeholders early, often and consistently in the process, we can more effectively build consensus and work together toward common solutions.

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Involve Local Government from the Start Local governments often play a pivotal role in making the key priorities identified by regional visioning efforts a reality, by developing plans, enacting policies, or dedicating public funding to such priorities. With 18 cities, the County, and 18 tribal reservations, the San Diego region encompasses a large and diverse population and geographic area. Yet, many critical decisions — especially those related to land use — are made by individual jurisdictions that have their own issues and priorities. Local elected officials are charged with representing their constituents on these issues and priorities. Local elected officials will be instrumental in driving the process locally by engaging their constituents and the local organizations that could be key partners in the effort. Therefore, engaging local governments from the start will be crucial to gaining local support and ultimate success in realizing regional priorities identified in Our Greater San Diego Vision. Before a jurisdiction will support, promote, or encourage a regional effort, they must have the opportunity to represent their constituents and the concerns and important issues specific to their jurisdiction.

In Portland, Oregon, their effort visionPDX demonstrates the importance of government support. Initially, visionPDX was spearheaded and supported by one person in city government, Mayor Tom Potter. Once his term ended, there was no remaining government representative that had been involved throughout the process to continue the effort. Over time, visionPDX lost traction in the local government and was no longer a priority for the City Council agenda. If additional representatives had been involved and engaged, especially from jurisdictions within the region, there might have been more long-term support. Currently, a group of committed volunteers is trying to bring life back to visionPDX and engage other City Council candidates and officials in the plan to help push it as a priority. However, it has been difficult given that these government representatives were not involved from the start. In order to ensure that OGSDV continues to be a priority as City Government representatives enter and leave office, it is important to engage a multitude of local government representatives in an ongoing manner to sustain their support for vision-related activities over time. Engaging local governments from the start will be crucial to gaining local support and ultimate success in realizing regional priorities identified in Our Greater San Diego Vision.

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Citizen Engagement Should Be Tailored To Each Community Our Greater San Diego Vision‘s charge is to develop a plan that addresses the region’s future growth while listening to every community group’s needs and priorities. However, the San Diego region is incredibly diverse ethnically and demographically. It has one of the largest immigrant communities in the country, yet they are often isolated in distinct neighborhoods. Additionally, given the growing income disparity in the county, each community within the region has different issues and priorities. Successful community engagement should not be uniform throughout the region but rather should strive to appeal uniquely to each group. For example, pertinent issues and priorities will look different in South County versus North County. Similarly, issues and priorities will differ among the younger versus older populations or among Latinos versus African Americans. Not only is it important to engage a diversity of groups, but outreach to each group must be unique to ensure everybody is given the chance to voice their opinion in the most productive way. In Central Florida, through their How Shall We Grow? visioning effort, they identified 7 “circles” within the community. These specifically defined these circles as: business, government, community-based organizations, “young people”, “old people”, places of worship, and media. By engaging each circle, and catering opportunities to participate specifically to each circle, they were able to provide diversity in the groups engaged in the process and, in turn, they developed a comprehensive vision that addressed as many issues as possible in the region. The Center could model their community engagement efforts after Central Florida by identifying the main “circles” in our region. Additional circles unique to San Diego County could include military and higher education. Similarly, this would allow community engagement to not only reach a diversity of groups, but also reach them in the most appropriate ways.

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Continue To Provide Updates On Progress The realization of a regional vision takes time, effort, collaboration, and much more. Given that community representatives and resources are used for the process, everybody in the region has a stake in the process and the outcome. If the community engagement process stops once the vision is developed, there are no tangible results that stakeholders can see and experience firsthand. While action on key elements of the vision will be just as important as developing the vision for OGSDV, communicating the progress will also allow those involved and affected to see the results and outcomes throughout the process. Several regions have communicated the progress by selecting a set of indicators to report on periodically throughout the process. This allows stakeholders to see the vision in action in preparing the region for future success. These data and reports should be fact-based where possible to provide credibility to the tracking and progress. The Boston Indicators Project is currently developing a new website

to track and communicate progress for each indicator and demonstrate any improvements in the region as a result of their efforts. The website will be based on a process that constantly updates data as it’s available for download along with analysis and visualization. Additionally, they will host a public event called “Data Day� to showcase new tools and provide tutorials on how to use the website and information. These tools will allow constant updates and the ability for the public to not only access the information, but also understand it and the impact the project is having on the community. However ,the Center chooses to communicate progress to the public, the updates should be continuous and easy to access and understand.

The realization of a regional vision takes time, effort, collaboration, and much more.


Key Insights and Recommendations to Activate Our Greater San Diego Vision 15


Use Technology To Communicate The Vision And Its Impacts With so many forms of technology available, it is important to selectively choose the best form to communicate information to the desired audience. Given that stakeholders and residents will want to receive updates on the progress with Our Greater San Diego Vision, the technology we choose to do so will determine their effectiveness. Different technology reaches different demographics. For example, individuals that aren’t comfortable using computers might be easier reached by telephone while younger individuals might respond best to communication via Facebook push notification an App or YouTube. If communication is necessary to a specific demographic, it is important to identify the best technological means to reach that group. If communication to the general public is ideal, using several forms of technology that reach different targeted groups may prove most effective. One region that embraced many forms of technology to communicate their vision was Chicago through their Go to 2040 regional visioning effort where they largely focused on tracking progress. They developed MetroPulse, a website to track the progress through a set of regional indicators for metropolitan Chicago. Through their website, www.metropulsechicago. org, visitors can access information for each indicator including data, metrics, and status. However, not all residents will be

interested in the data or indicators, so they also developed a multimedia page on their website that included first-hand stories of how residents’ lives are impacted by the plan and various videos through their YouTube channel to communicate progress. They also relied on Facebook and Twitter to engage the community, especially in promoting their public workshops and events. Through utilizing several different forms of technology to communicate, they are able to reach a broader range of stakeholders and residents. Given that the landscape of social media is constantly evolving and the benefits of utilizing social media resources in communication will continue, it is important that The Foundation also continue to optimize the use of these tools moving forward.

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If Fundraising Is Necessary, Start Early Fundraising was important to many community-led visioning efforts around the country. Through research and conversations, the importance of fundraising early quickly became apparent. If fundraising is not initiated before the process is too advanced, it will be more challenging to gain financial support because of less possibility for the donor to impact the outcome and be involved in the entire process. A few regional visioning efforts were supplied with sufficient funding to complete the project from the start, especially if funding was coming from government or private foundation sources. However, with many efforts, it was necessary to fundraise to support the effort. The San Diego Foundation received support from individual donors as well as in-kind and financial contributions from corporate and media partners to develop the vision. However, funding is still necessary to support the variety of community efforts necessary to realize the Vision.

Local businesses are important potential donors in regional visioning efforts because they are invested in the future of the region, and local stakeholders are often their employees and customers. Therefore, they will likely support such efforts, but only if they have been involved starting early in the visioning process. In Central Texas, despite early success in fundraising, they did not engage local businesses early in the process. As funding for their visioning project Envision Central Texas was getting tight, they turned to the local business community. However, this fundraising effort has proven to be a challenge because funding a regional visioning effort in which the local businesses were not initially engaged is a hard sell. Therefore, The Center should continue to engage local businesses and other potential donors throughout the process and fundraising will then follow more smoothly in the later phases of the project.

Break Through Boundaries In any region, boundaries exist, whether they are jurisdictional, sectoral, or institutional. With Our Greater San Diego Vision, the goal is to engage as many different people, groups, and communities possible to ensure as many issues and priorities are addressed as possible. By breaking through boundaries and bringing diverse groups together to discuss issues they wouldn’t normally collaborate on, new ideas and strategies are shared that enhance the overall project. For example, by overcoming jurisdictional boundaries and inviting representatives from Chula Vista, Encinitas, and Poway to collaborate, each city will have different perspectives that together will strengthen the overall vision. Similarly, by convening representatives from different sectors, different expertise can be used to address issues and solve problems. Each sector can also engage their respective constituents to reach a broader base of stakeholders and further enhance the project. Overcoming boundaries ultimately allows a more collaborative and cooperative effort.

The Burlington Legacy Project in Burlington, Vermont wanted to ensure all their stakeholders were represented through the process, so they formed a steering committee to specifically address this goal. They achieved diversity in their stakeholders not just demographically, but institutionally as well. For example, they engaged the university, healthcare institutions, the Chamber of Commerce, and the Burlington Business Association. Each institution’s involvement included a financial donation to the effort which, although relatively small, still demonstrated their commitment to working collaboratively to make change in Burlington. Additionally, each institution was able to reach out to and engage different stakeholders to ensure a wide base of community engagement in the process and bring together representatives from different institutions that otherwise might not collaborate.


Key Insights and Recommendations to Activate Our Greater San Diego Vision 17

Internal Examples Of Key Insights In Action 6.1

Increase Internal and External Capacity 6.2

Additional Funding Insights 6.3

Capacity to Realize the Vision

Internal Examples of Key Insights in Action Insights from research will help inform The Center’s efforts in fulfilling our roles and focusing on the core areas of focus, and many recommendations have been made toward that effort. While implementing all of these recommendations seems like a significant challenge, The San Diego Foundation has already implemented these recommendations in several of our existing programs. The examples described below demonstrate The San Diego Foundation’s internal capacity to implement each recommendation. Strategic Collaboration Is Key Throughout San Diego Regional Disaster Fund operations, collaboration has been crucial to forming strategic partnerships to contribute to the success of the cause. For example, throughout the communities affected by the severe 2003 and 2007 wildfires in San Diego County, The San Diego Foundation and its Regional Disaster Fund partnered with organizations within each community to set up Community Recovery Teams (CRTs). The CRTs were established to provide a local and familiar venue for accessing the resources necessary for individuals and families to get their lives back together rather than relying on more distant, unfamiliar, and difficult to access resources throughout the county. These collaborations also allowed a more local voice to represent the impacted community in larger countywide efforts.

6.0 6.1

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Identify Potential Partners and Engage them Early Because implementation is crucial to the ultimate success of OGSDV, it is important that the Center identifies potential partners to help carry the vision forward and engages them in the process as early as possible. Thus far, government representatives, nonprofit organizations, and local businesses have been engaged throughout the OGSDV process by convening a regional vision council, advisory task forces and ad-hoc committees to address each focus area of the initiative (work, enjoy, live, and learn). During these meetings, discussion topics included the role of The San Diego Foundation in supporting the overall initiative and identifying partners in implementation in conjunction with the Center for Civic Engagement. Even though early engagement has occurred with the important groups, efforts to engage additional implementers should continue as needs change throughout the process. Involve Local Government From The Start The Foundation’s Climate Initiative, through the Environment Program, supports efforts to deepen community awareness about the local impacts of climate change and spur regional action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. One way to support these efforts is to convene and partner with local governments to address climate change concerns in San Diego County. The Climate Initiative has successfully engaged representatives from every local jurisdiction in the county to support their efforts. Because of these efforts, San Diego County is the first county in the country where all local governments have committed to addressing the impacts of climate change and demonstrates our ability to engage local

governments in regional discussions. Citizen Engagement Should Be Tailored To Each Community Given The Foundation’s role in San Diego County, community engagement is integral to every effort. Through community engagement efforts, we strive for diversity and reaching a wide geographic area. Within the Arts & Culture program, diversity is perceived somewhat uniquely relative to other programs. Through experience and research, we realized that diversity in Arts & Culture looks different than other programs, and therefore targeted our community outreach first by engaging diversity in terms of artistic style and/or medium, then diversity in age and geography. Outreach for each group looked very different and specific to each demographic because of The Foundation’s commitment to understand and engage diversity in the arts community. Continue To Provide Updates On Progress The San Diego Foundation has experience in developing metrics to report on progress of initiatives throughout many of our programs. Through the Focus 2050: A Regional Wake-Up Call, the project and the final report were based on the latest analysis and climate science from regional researchers from several institutions. The report has been translated into Spanish, and published and distributed around the county to communicate the progress and outcomes of the initiative. Other programs have developed metrics for their initiatives, and reported on those initiatives to communicate progress and impact to the public. Despite these successes, The San Diego Foundation has identified our ability to communicate progress as an area for improvement. Through building internal capacity and/or pursuing contractual relationships, we will

Key Insights and Recommendations to Activate Our Greater San Diego Vision 19

strengthen our ability to report progress throughout the initiative. Use Technology To Communicate The Vision And Its Impacts An important step in the process of creating Our Greater San Diego Vision was an online public choosing tool, called Show Your Love San Diego. This website allowed San Diego residents to choose their preferred future of the region by identifying priorities for expected growth. However, success of the campaign depended on reaching as many people of diverse backgrounds throughout the county. The Foundation implemented an innovative method for reaching out to youth and residents who didn’t speak English — “ The iPad Outreach Team.” This team consisted of 30 students that spoke several languages. They were each given an iPad with software to participate in the online choosing, and if they were able to find at least 250 people to participate in the online choosing, they could keep their iPad. In the end, all 30 students reached the goal of 250 participants, and several well exceeded the goal while reaching many other students and non-English speakers. This campaign provided The Foundation an opportunity to use the most current technology to communicate the Vision and gain the necessary public participation. If Fundraising Is Necessary, Start Early Endow San Diego was a regional, multi-year initiative designed to build permanent endowments for citizens and organizations committed to improving the quality of life in San Diego’s communities. Typically, the minimum financial commitment to establish an endowment with The Foundation is $25,000. However, through Endow San Diego, the minimum was lowered to $10,000 to allow for easier participation by citizens and organizations to start a fund. This provided early fundraising to jump-start the initiative, and demonstrates the Foundation’s ability to develop new fundraising strategies early in an initiative to contribute to overall success. Break Through Boundaries In December, 2011, The Foundation hosted one of its most successful campaigns — giveBIG San Diego. The event brought all different types of nonprofits throughout the region together with a common goal — raise money and awareness for nonprofits in the community. Altogether, the campaign raised almost $2.4 million, and demonstrated The Foundation’s ability to break through boundaries and bring together diverse representatives throughout the region that otherwise would not collaborate to achieve and exceed their goals.

20 The Malin Burnham Center for Civic Engagement at The San Diego Foundation:


Increase Internal and External Capacity Even though previous work demonstrates The San Diego Foundation’s ability to fulfill the recommendations, additional capacity toward these efforts will strengthen the CCE’s ability to fulfill its roles and accomplish its goals within the San Diego community. A few areas where we can increase our capacity include (1) tracking key indicators, (2) internal research capacity, (3) expertise in some of the vision priority areas, and (4) civic engagement. Fortunately, the San Diego Foundation has access to excellent partner organizations within the community. One such organization is the Equinox Center, a local organization that researches innovative solutions to the complex balance between accommodating regional growth with the finite natural resources in the San Diego region. Given that The Foundation has partnered with them on previous work, this is a viable partner in furthering the goals of the Center for Civic Engagement and enhancing our capacity to track key indicators throughout the process. The San Diego Foundation already has a significant research capacity as demonstrated by commissioning research from academic institutions and other reputable organizations and providing research fellowships to current graduate students. Previous research topics have included a scan of regional efforts to address climate change, a benchmarking survey of local government progress on addressing climate change in San Diego, and access to health care for underserved

and elderly communities, and can include future topics to better inform the regional visioning efforts here in the San Diego region. Expanding on these efforts will only strengthen our research capacity and further contribute to our success in realizing the Vision. OGSDV has several priority areas — where we work, enjoy, live and learn. While we have already convened several advisory groups for each area, additional expertise, both within and outside the organization, will contribute to our ability to adequately address each priority area. Such experts can include representatives from local businesses, government agencies, community representatives, academia, etc. and the expertise can be strengthened through strategic partnerships. Civic engagement is an important element to Our Greater San Diego Vision. Even though The San Diego Foundation has prioritized this element, there is still a lot to learn and additional work to be done, and will be an ongoing effort. Fortunately, there are many pilot projects that offer useful information and resources to learn from, as well as many pioneers in the field that are potential partners and experts in these efforts. The pilot programs include The Pomegranate Project and The Commission on San Diego Infrastructure and Equity, and experts include Manuel Pastor among others. By capitalizing on these resources and contacts, civic engagement efforts could be even more robust.

Key Insights and Recommendations to Activate Our Greater San Diego Vision 21


Additional Funding Insights In a regional visioning effort, such as Our Greater San Diego Vision, it is essential that community organizations, businesses, nonprofits, and government agencies among others work together toward the ultimate goal. Because additional funding will be necessary to complete the work, collaboration and cooperation will include fundraising from many partner organizations. Based on information from other regions, there were some additional insights specifically related to fundraising. Gathering enough support through fundraising is critical to the ultimate success of OGSDV, and a significant component to fundraising is also reporting. Donor organizations request information about how their money is used, and nonprofits are often expected to report accordingly. Reporting relies on tracking funds and usually requires the following information: amount of contribution, donating organization, how the funding was used (i.e. impact in the community), etc. With such a significant project, OGSDV will likely be funded from generous donations from

a variety of organizations and foundations. Additionally, to fulfill the goals of the visioning process, the CCE will partner with several community organizations to complete the necessary work, and fundraising will be a significant component to the work. Given that each donor organization has different reporting standards and each partner organization, even though working toward the same common goal, will have a different way of using funds, there is potential for complication in tracking and reporting funding. To simplify the process, it is important that specific tasks are identified ahead of time including the party responsible to execute the work being funded, the funding needed, and where the funding came from. This will ensure better tracking and reporting of funding and progress of the project over time and simplify the overall process.

22 The Malin Burnham Center for Civic Engagement at The San Diego Foundation:


Conclusion As evidenced by the research, there are many lessons to be learned from successes and challenges in developing and implementing regional visions. Every region has unique issues, priorities, limitations, and opportunities, but they all overlap with a mission to succeed in planning for future growth. While the research thus far has resulted in many key insights applicable to our efforts here in San Diego County and elsewhere, continuing these conversations will only result in deepening our understanding of the opportunities that lie ahead with the Center for Civic Engagement. During each interview, representatives from each region were incredibly willing to share their knowledge and experience to benefit our efforts locally. The more information we can share with other regions, the more we can learn from each other. As the list of insights and recommendations grows, it is important to understand our limitations and resources, and develop realistic goals and accompanying actions. As such, looking to successes within The San Diego Foundation thus far, as done in this report, will gauge our ability to embrace new ideas and implement them in our efforts with Our Greater San Diego Vision. Given that The Foundation has demonstrated internal capacity to fulfill each recommendation, the previously mentioned insights and recommendations are realistic actions for the Center to embrace throughout the initiative.

Key Insights and Recommendations to Activate Our Greater San Diego Vision 23

Appendix 1: Criteria for Analyzing Similar Visioning Efforts 8.1

Appendix 2: Web-based Research Questions 8.2



Appendix 3: Interview Questions 8.3 Appendix 4: Information for Model Regional Visioning Efforts 8.4

Appendix 1 : Criteria for Analyzing Similar Visioning Efforts Online Information

Sufficient access to information online regarding the vision and the process to develop it


Plan addresses economic development


Plan addresses culture and community amenities


Plan addresses housing, mobility, environment and/or cost of living


Plan addresses education


Identified action items for implementation and/or tracking success


Development and implementation of the vision are supported by philanthropic efforts


There were strategic partnerships or collaborations behind the effort


Contact information is available

Social media was utilized to develop and communicate the vision

Social Media


There was support and/or involvement from a community foundation


There are government entities involved

Ongoing Engagement

Community engagement continues after development of the vision

Social Equity

Involves underrepresented communities and addresses the concerns for those communities

Health Care

Public Financing

Plan addresses access to health care Leveraged public funds (taxes, bond measures, etc.) to develop and implement


24 The Malin Burnham Center for Civic Engagement at The San Diego Foundation:


Appendix 2: Web-based Research Questions


Where are other regional models of visioning efforts elsewhere in the United States that resulted in concerted community action on issues of regional importance?




What types of regional collaboratives emerged to advance the implementation of visioning priorities? How were these collaboratives structured, in terms of their mission, vision, goals/ objectives, and governance? Where there specific efforts undertaken to engage underrepresented communities in implementation efforts?



Where are other examples of collaborative efforts among philanthropic organizations, public entities, nonprofits and businesses to advance a set of common priorities for a region? (Focus specifically on priorities that align with the four task forces we have assembled)


Who were the lead institutions/organizations that drove the implementation of visioning priorities? What individual roles did they assume to advance the collective goals? How was success monitored and communicated throughout the implementation process?


What were the priorities that emerged out of the visioning efforts for regional action? Were there specific strategies utilized to address social equity concerns as they related to the priorities?


What are the primary activities that are being undertaken by these regional collaborative to implement the vision? (e.g., research, public education campaigns, policy initiatives, ballot measures, etc.)

How have these collaboratives sustained community engagement and involvement? How have they used social media as a tool for this? How were financial resources mobilized to support the implementation of visioning priorities?


Has philanthropy emerged as the leader of implementation in any of these, and if so, how did they structure their efforts in terms of mission, staff, funding, and partnerships?


What were the key success factors involved in other efforts to implement a regional vision or other common priorities for a region? What were crucial pitfalls or failures in other efforts? What lessons do both the successes and failures provide for the Center for Civic Engagement in the implementation of visioning priorities?

Appendix 3. Interview Questions

Telephone interviews with various people involved with visioning efforts focused on the following questions to inform our research. Several of them were duplicates from the web-based research questions:

Implementation: What are the primary activities undertaken to implement the vision in your region? What was your role in implementation? Who specifically, within the organization or the community, led the effort? How did you get your staff involved and engaged?

Funding: How were financial resources mobilized to support the implementation of visioning priorities? Did fundraising have a role? Has philanthropy emerged as the leader of implementation in any of these? Were you able to gain access to any national funding? What was your operating budget?

Community Engagement: How was the community engaged throughout the implementation process?

Lessons Learned: What were the key success factors involved in other efforts to implement a regional vision or other common priorities for the region? What were crucial pitfalls or failures in other efforts?

Collaboration: Was there a collaboration behind implementation, and how was it structured? What worked and didn’t work? How did you enlist partners? Did it always involve money, or were there other ways to elicit interest and support?

Key Insights and Recommendations to Activate Our Greater San Diego Vision 25


Appendix 4: Information for Model Regional Visioning Efforts



Type of Organization

Size of Region

Bay Area, CA

Bay Area Alliance for Community Organization 9 counties, 101 cities, Sustainable Communities 7 M people

Bay Area, CA

Bay Area You Choose

Community Foundation

9 counties, 101 cities and towns

Bend, OR

Bend 2030


170,000 (2009)

Boston, MA

The Boston Indicators Project

Community Foundation

Greater Boston = 4.5 M people Indicators2008/

Burlington, VT

Burlington Legacy Project City/State Government

Houston, TX

Center for Houston’s Future

Community Organization 2.1 M people and 579 square miles (2010)

Seattle, WA

Dream a Sound Future/ The Happiness Initiative


3.4 M people (2010)

Central Texas

Envision Central Texas


Will grow by 1.25 M people in next 20-30 years

San Jose, CA

Envision San Jose

City/State Government

Just under 1 M people (2010) gp_update/


Envision Utah

Public/Private Partnership 2.5 M people, 5 M expected by 2050

Chicago, IL

Go to 2040

City/State Government

40,000 (2000), expected 65,000 by 2030

About 10 M people, 7 counties, 280 municipalities


Traverse City, MI The Grand Vision

Community Organization Less than 250,000 people


Hawai’i 2050

City/State Government

Hundreds of islands over 1,500 miles

Central Florida

How Shall We Grow?


3.3 M people (2009)

New York, NY


City/State Government

Over 8 M people and 305 sq. miles (2010) html/home/home.shtml

New Haven, CT Vision for a Greater New Haven

City/State Government

862,989 people (July 2010)

Portland, OR

City/State Government

Almost 2.3 M people in Portland metropolitan area


26 The Malin Burnham Center for Civic Engagement at The San Diego Foundation:

The San Diego Foundation Board of Governors Jennifer Adams-Brooks, Chair

Yamila M. Ayad

Jim Farley

Nancy A. Spector

Robert Dynes, PhD, Vice Chair, Center for Civic Engagement

Darcy C. Bingham

Bill Geppert

Horacio Valeiras

James Cahill

Benjamin Haddad

Carisa Wisniewski

John Cambon, PhD

Kevin Harris

James Ziegler

Constance M. Carroll, PhD

Jennifer LeSar

Ted Chan, MD

Connie Matsui

Kay Chandler

Paul Meyer

Richard A. Collato

Hollyce J. Phillips

Roger C. Cornell, MD

Derek J. Quackenbush

Sandra Daley, MD

Barbara A. Sawrey, PhD

Garry Ridge, Vice Chair, Charitable Giving and External Relations Steven R. Smith, Vice Chair, Secretary John D. Wylie, Vice Chair, Finance Gerald (Jerry) E. Hoffmeister, Immediate Past Chair

The San Diego Foundation Staff Daniel Beintema, Vice President, Operations & Community Partnerships

Majna Dukic, Urban Studies and Planning, U.C. San Diego Lauren Smyle, Urban Studies and Planning, U.C. San Diego

Emily Young, PhD, Senior Director, Environment Program Emily Welborn Guevara, MESM, The San Diego Foundation

Expert Contributors Peter James MacCracken, APR Joe Sterling

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Rev. 02/2013

Key Insights and Recommendation to ACtivate  
Key Insights and Recommendation to ACtivate  

This report includes the methodology for the research, key findings and implications, and next steps for The San Diego Foundation’s Center f...