What is Community Capacity Development in Marion County and in northeast Missouri?

As we have worked with communities in the county we've established a very basic definition of community capacity. We like to say that community capacity development is acquiring the knowledge, the skills and the attitudes necessary to improve and sustain one's community. It's important to have a good working definition of this since we don’t want to limit the term to mean just a good core of experienced leaders, or a strong local government staff or even one or two really active service clubs. Capacity is a more inclusive term and the dimensions of knowledge, skills and attitudes can be considered in this way:

Knowledge – An understanding of the past (heritage), of current conditions and future trends. A good example is the knowledge that your community’s economy was built by someone locally who started off as an entrepreneur.

Skills – Group process techniques such as giving and receiving information, making decisions, managing conflict. Engaging the rest of the community in a town hall meeting to discuss ways to support local entrepreneurs is an example of how those skills work together.

Attitudes – An open and curious approach to new ideas and approaches and an understanding that change can be useful. Making the change from industrial recruitment strategies to a focus on entrepreneurship is an example of this capacity.

MU Extension works with various community audiences who want to be and are instruments of community capacity development. Programs also address homeowner needs just beyond the town borders. Various programs are scheduled throughout the year. Contact your local extension center to learn what opportunities may already be scheduled in your community or to explore the possibilities for tailoring a program specifically for the needs of your group.

Building stronger nonprofit organizations locally

Organizational development. Do meetings you attend last too long? Does committee work overlap? Are committees not getting work done in time for board meetings? Are you meeting just to meet or to accomplish group goals? Are staff and board on a different page in your plan of action? Having problems finding volunteers? Does the group lack direction or get off tasks? Need a board training program? We’ll discuss the possibilities?

Need help with financial resources or finding grants? Presentations: “Are You Here Looking for $$$$$ or Do You Have a Vision, Plan and Program AND Just Need to Find Some Funding?”, “If You Need $$$$ Now, It’s Probably Already Too Late! SO Next Time…” and “Helpful Hints On Getting That Grant.”

Caring for on-lot water and wastewater systems. Get yourself “country savvy” prior the drains and toilets not working a week after moving. Is the odor coming from the “fish pond” near the house really from the fish or the neighbor’s barn lot? Did you get black smelly water in parts of the lawn during the first “rainy spell”? Is the lawn greener in long 2-3 foot parallel strips in that same section of the yard? Did the back yard smell like a sewer during your picnic? Did the drains flow slowly or even stop working after the first holiday baking spree in your country home? Does your basement have a special pump in case the washer overflows? Do pots and pans have a white film in them after boiling water? Is the water in ever orange or the laundry dingy? How about orange or black slime in the toilet tank? Is ample water for family needs or using way to much water a concern: find out why at MU Extension.

Considerations for countryside living. There is more to this than buying or building a house. You may get “courtesy service” once from the public water entity, electricity provider, highway department and even the trash collector but their responsibility ends at the property line. Letting animals, especially dogs, run loose in the country is likely to have more severe consequences than when you were in town. The same for fences, if you don’t consult with neighbors, prior to placement. Understanding simple messages such as” school buses are only running the “hard roads today,” “48 hour water boil order” and “it’s harvest time” mean paying attend to the news and/or knowing neighbors might help to improve family harmony. This class is a must before buying.

Leadership development via community action: Learn while doing

Considerations for community decision making

Small town survival: A variety of topics can be addressed and researched locally: Community improvement, community revenue trends, downtown revitalization options, economic development partnerships, housing demand and supply, local tourism assets, population trends, shop local first campaigns.

Personal Improvement: Would you like to get involved or more involved in community organizations? Do you have good ideas but don’t speak up in groups? Do you see the need for neighbors get together but just don’t reach out to them. Are you overlooked when a less capable committee chair is selected? Ever think of being on a governmental advisory board? We can show you how to gain skills, get some practice and benefit others all at once through involvement in community projects as you get “up-to-speed.”

Participants will develop the following competencies and skills:

  • Solving problems
  • Projects or activities
  • Forming and working with groups
  • Planning for group action
  • Managing meetings
  • Communicating effectively
  • Developing proficiency in teaching
  • Mobilizing for group action
  • Understanding and developing oneself
  • Understanding financial matters
  • Understanding leadership
  • Understanding social change
  • Arbitrating
  • Developing resources
  • Developing followers
  • Changing behavior
  • Clarifying attitudes
  • Working creatively
  • Working Collaboratively

This is a list of the programs, events and activities that extension faculty conduct on an ongoing basis in the Northeast Region. Contact your local extension center to learn about currently offered programs in your area and to explore arranging a program for your group or community.

Building Stronger Nonprofit, Voluntary Organization: A Distance Learning Series — This series provides interactive, informative and educational approaches to improving the management, leadership and fundraising skills of key staff and volunteers. The following sessions are offered:

  • March — Board Development and Effectiveness
  • April — Program Planning and Evaluation
  • May — Fund-raising Basics
  • June — Successful Grant Proposals

This is a partnership with the St. Louis Area Nonprofit Services Consortium and the Nonprofit Management and Leadership Center at University of Missouri-St. Louis conducted via the MU Extension TCRC network. A similar face-to-face series or individual topic sessions for Nonprofit Organization are available on a community level basis. Community Foundation establishment or utilize existing ones to keep financial resources in the local community as wealth transfers among the generations is offered as well.

Care and Maintenance of On-Lot Sewage Treatment Systems — This workshop teaches how to reduce costs to homeowners, minimize self-contamination of home water supplies plus the surrounding watershed and reduce closing time on homes sales.

Considerations for Countryside Living — A workshop alerting the potential rural non-farm dweller to some extra duties they will encounter currently provided by the municipality in most incorporated areas and on a limited basis by homeowner associations in some rural settings.

Experience in Community Enterprise and Leadership (EXCEL) — Helps citizens increase their leadership abilities to address community issues and shape their future. As a community-based process, EXCEL offers a high degree of flexibility, local control and inclusiveness, and focuses on the future of community governance. Learn more about EXCEL.

Growth Management — These sessions discuss examples (models) of programs, methods, plans, ordinances, agreements/arrangements of successful growth planning that preserves small town life, countryside living and agricultural lands in Midwestern settings. We utilize University of Missouri Research Center data plus Confined Agricultural Feeding Operation (CAFO) and Community Water/Sewer issues in case studies and simulations. Community Toolbox skills introduced include economic base analysis, retail trade analysis, manufacturing sector bifurcation analysis, local government fiscal revenue analysis, and demographic composition (workforce skills versus employers needs) and change analysis.

Housing Situation Analysis — This involves identification of specific housing concerns of community residents, public/private partnerships to addressing "affordability" issues, funding available to municipalities and non-profit corporations for housing improvements. Tax credits for preserving and renovating existing structures and basic maintenance, problem prevention and energy saving workshops.

Leadership Development Via Community Action — This can be a series or a selection of individual sessions on topics such as citizen participation and community decision making, the social action process, inter- and intra-group relations, effective committees, making meetings worth one's time and community development project orientations. In the Community Development Project, each participant works via a sub-group to identify and address a local issue with support data, potential solutions, implementation strategies and evaluation criteria.

First, it is all about presenting you with unbiased, research- and evidence-based education about your retirement. There are no sales pitches here – and too often that’s what you get when someone offers retirement planning.

Alianzas — Learn how to bridge cultural differences in your community

Economic and Policy Analysis Research Center — Find information to support local decision making

Fire and Rescue Training Institute

Food Circles Networking Project — Assure local food supplies

Law Enforcement Training Institute

Industrial Assessment Center — Saving energy in Missouri: manage energy costs of public buildings