Internationally-Recognized Plan for Community Development

City-wide Collective Impact Case Study



City of Riverside, California


City and Community of Riverside, 300,000+ residents


A collaborative, cross-sector, and community-based effort to grow the local economy and increase quality life in the City

OUR SCOPE:        

Strategic Planning & Plan Implementation, Organizational & Leadership Team Development



Guide Aspirational City Leaders with a Mandate for Growth

In 2009, Riverside’s outgoing 18-year Mayor committed to setting the trajectory of his beloved community toward a boldly aspirational vision: make community prosperity everyone’s business. He envisioned elevating the city’s economic development efforts to a community-based movement for higher quality life, and expanding job creation and business development activities into cross-sector strategies focused on sustainable industries.

To prepare the city to rise up to this vision, the Mayor needed experienced planners to help build the strategies to reach those aspirations and then focus the efforts of community collaboration across sectors (government, business, education, nonprofit, neighborhoods).



Award-Winning Vision for Community and Economic Development

Within four months of partnering with the City, we guided a Steering Committee of community leaders from a first meeting to the creation of a complex strategic plan to increase economic development and community quality of life. The plan was unanimously approved by the Riverside City Council.

In recognition of our deep understanding of both the City of Riverside and cross-sector collective impact, the City engaged our firm for an additional 4 years to act as the backbone organization alongside the City’s Economic Development staff. To support implementation of the plan, we designed, developed, and facilitated two cross-sector governing bodies: a Leadership Core, which included the Mayor, City Manager, and representatives of business, education, and community; and a Champions Council, a hub of 50 diverse civic leaders, city staff, and electeds.

In addition, we developed and facilitated an Education Roundtable (collaborative group all education institutions in the City); Communicate Workgroup (that developed communication strategy and online presence); Measure Workgroup (that created a customized quality of life survey and led development of action plan informed by baseline results). In 2013, we transitioned backbone responsibilities to City staff, so the City could sustainably manage further work.

The success of our work with Riverside has been internationally recognized. Our original strategic plan received the 2010 Award for Vision from the Urban Land Institute of Orange County/L.A. County, and the City received numerous other awards, including 2012 Intelligent Community of the Year (an international award for inclusive digital advances) and Newsweek’s “Can-Do City” designation (nationally #3 overall and #1 for sustainability).