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Inclusive Dubuque: Building an Equitable, Inclusive Community Culture


by City of Dubuque, IA

Inclusive Dubuque is a peer-learning network of partners from business, nonprofits, education, government, philanthropy and the faith community formed in 2012 to support an equitable and inclusive culture to meet the economic and cultural needs of our diverse community.

The network organizes people, identifies opportunities and takes action to challenge and change social and economic structures.

63 partners make up the Inclusive Dubuque network – see the complete list here.

Key Strategies

Equity Profile:

In February of 2015, Inclusive Dubuque began collecting data to discover how diverse groups are affected by various systems within our community. Dubuque’s Equity Profile focused on seven areas: economic wellbeing, housing, safe neighborhoods, health, education, transportation, and arts and culture.  The Equity Profile is identifies areas of strength and opportunity, helping the network and our community set priorities and take action.

Hundreds of Dubuque citizens participated in the Equity Profile:

  • 60 community dialogues held
  • 1,995 online surveys completed
  • 584 participants attended dialogues
  • 41 facilitators trained
  • 305 community members have signed up to stay connected

Working Groups:

Working groups have formed to understand and tackle challenges related to equity in Education, Arts and Cultre, Neighborhoods, Housing, Health and Economic Wellbeing.  Using information gleaned from the Equity Profile, these groups are meeting monthly to identify priorities, measurable indicators, and engage partners and programs that can effect change.  Working groups continue to grow as members identify other voices that should be at the table. Data will continue to be gathered and actions measured using Results-Based Accountability and Scorecard.

Since December 2015 more than 91 people have joined the following working groups:

  • Education Working Group: 19 members, including representatives from the school district, local universities, Boy Scouts, St. Mark’s, YMCA/YWCA and other youth organizations, as well as community members concerned about education in Dubuque.
  • Arts and Culture Working Group: 11 members, including those working in the arts in Dubuque, and representatives from local universities, the BVM, and the school district.
  • Thriving/Safe Neighborhoods: 17 members, including representatives from the Police Department, Human Rights Department, Department of Correctional Services, Juvenile Court, neighborhood associations, NAACP, and local universities.
  • Housing Working Group: 9 members, including representation from the Housing Department, Project Concern, Opening Doors, Almost Home, NAACP, and the Association of Realtors. Representation from the Landlord Association is being actively recruited.
  • Health Working Group: 19 members, including representatives from local hospitals, community health organizations, mental health providers, nonprofit organizations such as Crescent Health, Helping Services, Hillcrest, SASC, NAMI, 4 the People, and local universities.
  • Economic Wellbeing Working Group: 16 members, including representation from the City of Dubuque, CVB, businesses such as John Deere and Prudential, and nonprofit organizations such as the NAACP, Project HOPE and St. Marks.

Peer-Learning Opportunities:

An important priority for Inclusive Dubuque is to offer regular peer-learning opportunities and training to the network and the community at large in order to deepen our collaborative understanding of social justice, and what it means to be an equitable and inclusive community.

Peer-learning opportunities since 2015:

  • Monthly Inclusive Dubuque Network Partner meetings – 40-45 partners attend each mtg.
  • Julie Nelson, Government Alliance on Race and Equity and Haas Institute: Structural Racism Training – attended by more than 50 partners
  • Madeleine Taylor, PhD., author of Connecting to Change the World: Harnessing the Power of Networks for Social Impact – attended by more than 50 partners
  • Chad Simmons: Diversity Focus – attended by more than 30 partners
  • Results-Based Accountability and Scorecard Training – 32 partners trained and using RBA
  • Restorative Strategies – 50+ partners attended

Leverage Resources:

The Inclusive Dubuque Network supports equity and inclusion by sharing resources;

  • Shared trainings
  • Shared data between partners
  • Network partners have leveraged more than $400,000 from local and national sources to support a more equitable and inclusive community

Taking Action:

  • Chamber, GDDC and NICC are coordinating efforts to engage minority businesses and entrepreneurs
  • Schools are implementing cultural proficiency training
  • More to come…

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Jurisdictions

City of Dubuque, IA

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