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Posted: October 21, 2011

Keeping the public eye on the issues

A new project aims to do just that

Maureen McDonald

During the Denver Metro Chamber Leadership Foundation's recent Leadership Exchange trip to Boston, the delegation heard from the Boston Foundation's President and CEO Paul Grogan, who spoke about education reform via the charter school movement.

While the Boston Foundation's mission is to help enact widespread change, it also strives to keep issues in public view. One way that is does this is through the Boston Indicators Project, a biennial report through the year 2030 that offers new ways to understand Boston and its neighborhoods in a regional, national and global context.

The Boston Foundation's Charlotte Kahn, who is senior director of the Boston Indicators Project, also met with our delegates during a morning breakout session, and she explained even more about the important role of the project in reporting information to regional stakeholders across sectors to help build consensus about key challenges and opportunities in Boston.

By synthesizing data from a wealth of information and research generated by the region's public agencies, civic institutions, think tanks and community organizations, the Boston Indicators Project predicts trends before they are reported nationally and helps to develop strategic alignment among leaders in the public, private and nonprofit arenas.

In the first Boston Indicators Report 2002 - 2004, an "Emerging Civic Agenda for Greater Boston" was presented. It offered coherent, data-driven strategies to move the region forward over the next 30 years. This civic agenda is broken into four categories, including an open, dynamic civic culture, world class human resources, 21st century jobs and economic strategies, and 21st century infrastructure and sustainability. Each category has a definable goal and measurable milestones, which track everything from third grade reading proficiency and diversity of leadership in the region's for-profit, nonprofit and public sectors, to citywide and statewide job growth by sector and the addition of new housing units each year to accommodate population and job growth.

The Boston Foundation aims for the Boston Indicators Project to democratize information, and the reports, along with extensive data and specialized articles, are available online at www.bostonindicators.org . In addition, each report is presented during a community session that gives regional business, civic and thought leaders the opportunity to listen and respond to the data.

At the conclusion of his session, Grogan asked the Leadership Exchange delegation, "Who in Colorado will help keep the issues in public view?" The answer is the Denver Metro Leadership Foundation, through the launch of our own Indicators Project program. Tentatively titled "Colorado in Context," this project will convene existing data from organizations like the Mile High United Way, Colorado Health Foundation and Piton Foundation to help educate Coloradans about key issues, inform process and shape policy.

The Boston Indicators Project serves as inspiration for a similar model here in Colorado, and the Leadership Foundation is proud to lead this new initiative for our state. Stay tuned over the coming months for more information on Colorado in Context.
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Maureen McDonald has been the Executive Director of the Denver Metro Chamber Leadership Foundation since January of 2000. Prior to joining the Leadership Foundation, Maureen worked in institutional advancement in the field of education. She directed the alumni and development teams at St. Mary's Academy and the University of Colorado at Denver. At CU Health Sciences Center, she served as Director of Community Affairs for University Hospital. She started her advancement career at her alma-mater, Washington University in St. Louis, as Associate Director of Alumni and Parent programs.

Enjoy this article? Sign up to get ColoradoBiz Exclusives. The opinions expressed in this article are solely that of the author and do not represent ColoradoBiz magazine. Comments on articles will be removed if they include personal attacks.

Readers Respond

I realize this was about the Leadership Foundation, but as so many have said: "He that cannot obey cannot command." EVERYONE HAS A BOSS teaches work ethic. By David E on 2011 10 21
Speaking only to Boston's plan for "world-class human resources," until the school, or the parents, start teaching 'work-ethic' there is little chance of success. We make fun of Horatio Alger stories, but they did teach kids that having a quality work ethic is the only guaranteed means of success. Is Colorado concerned about work ethic? Do we still remember what that means? By David E on 2011 10 21

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