2016 was a year of remembrance, celebration, and new starts. We began the year by digging into the history of the formation of Community Partners. We combed through old newspaper clippings and scrapbooks put together by the first members of Community Partners.
A few of our partner’s favorite memories celebrated during our 20th Anniversary include YAB members advocating for a tobacco free Nebraska policy and the creation of RYDE, the first rural Nebraska coordinated transportation system.
We kicked off the 2016 Annual Fund Campaign at the Block Party, a fun afternoon of activities for families in the community. We gathered donated T-shirts to wrap around the trees in Harmon Park to symbolize how our organization works with community members to create a healthier community. We donated the shirts to the local Jubilee center.
Past and present board members came together to celebrate all the accomplishments of the last 20 years. The minutes from the very first board meeting were read, and we asked for members to share their favorite memories. Former board member Beth Baxter said, “A commitment to improving the health of our community was the driving force that brought 25 individuals from diverse backgrounds together 20 years ago to begin the process of identifying community strengths and needs. Community Partners has provided an avenue to do something tangible and lasting about the health issues in the community.”
A project which started two years ago as America’s Best Community was launched into a non-profit called Kearney Works. This project developed from the need to develp the workforce in Bufalo County. The community decided we could create a non-profit to address the issues of underemployed and unemployed in the county. Since the launch, it has hired a director and is getting prepared to open it’s doors next year.
We added to our partnerships this year by the formation of two new collaborations, Be Well Buffalo County and Healthy MINDS. Be Well Buffalo County, made up of business leaders and community members is focused on creating a community wellness plan. The HealthyMINDS collaborative formed to braid system funding to improve behavioral health systems for our community. Under the collaborative, coalitions are forming to address suicide preventions, early childhood behavioral health, and school mental health.
We finished the year by inviting all of our partners to Give S’more with us during Give Where You Live. We had 105 donors in 24 hours, and we held a S’mores roast downtown. We roasted marshmallows and cheered to a good year of remembering the growth of the community, and adding new members to our partnership. We are so excited for what the 21st year of Community Partners will bring to the community.