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What's next?

PlanScape Impact(s): Basic Needs ; Children & Youth ; Diversity and Inclusion ; Health ; Income




Compass Points brought out a number of notable trends and needs from a pure data analysis standpoint.  At the same time, area organizations are doing their stakeholder surveys.

The next question is: how does the community ensure there are linkages between the various metrics and actions.

For example, back in September, the United Way releases the following community findings. 

United Way releases summary detailing findings of community conversations effort

Rochester – As part of an increased community outreach effort to critically inform its work in the coming years, United Way of Olmsted County hosted numerous community conversations over the last several months. With 45 conversations completed and 424 people attending, United Way is now releasing a summary of findings for public use.

“United Way is actively turning outward, diving deeper into knowing who our community is and what its aspirations are,” United Way President Jerome Ferson said. “These community conversations have revealed a great deal about people’s desires for the community, and we’re grateful so many people were willing to share their aspirations with us. We look forward to hosting many more conversations in the future.”

Each conversation focused first on learning what kind of community the participants hoped for – understanding their aspirations for our shared community. From those aspirations, the conversations sought to identify barriers and challenges to reaching those preferred futures. Most of the conversations were held by invitation, with requests extended primarily to communities that are traditionally underrepresented or that disproportionately experience barriers to reaching their full potential. Additionally, public sessions were held in Byron, Stewartville and Rochester with open invitations to the entire community of Olmsted County.

The summary document, with findings prepared by United Way staff and volunteers actively involved in the community conversations effort, revealed a community that finds itself socially disconnected from one another, where cost of living is a primary concern for many, and where accessibility of services and awareness could be improved.

Social Disconnection

The most consistent and powerful theme from these conversations has been the strong sense of disconnection that people feel from one another and from the rest of the community. Disconnectedness presents in three distinct, but related ways: inequity, segregation and isolation.

Cost of Living

There are several specific concerns that are repeatedly raised in the conversations: affordable housing, public transit, affordability and availability of childcare, and the “cliff effect” on public benefits. Considered together, these specific issues add up to a broader concern about the cost of living in Olmsted County.

Accessibility of Services

Another of the most frequently raised concerns has been the ability of individuals in our community to access and navigate the human services system. There is a perception that supports exist in our community, but that people in need are unaware or unable to access them. Awareness is lifted up as an information problem – people don’t know about the availability of services, programs and supports, and they don’t know what their own knowledge gaps are. Additionally for those who are aware of the availability of supports, there are perceived barriers to accessing services for marginalized groups – often the very groups most in need of such supports. A support currently available in the community, and supported by United Way of Olmsted County, that might significantly impact this concern is the 2-1-1 information and referral service.

A more detailed summary of the collected community conversations findings can be found at



PlanScape Impact(s): Basic Needs ; Children & Youth ; Diversity and Inclusion ; Health ; Income

Site Information
  • For the commercial sector, we tend to register startup activities (new companies and new commercial projects) that bring diversification and high-impact opportunities to the area.
  • For the non-profit sector, we wish to shine light on all the organizations and services that otherwise labor under relative obscurity.
  • Our hope is that will encourage cross-sector collaborations and creative solutions.

While there are a number of registries in the community,'s  distinct value is to pilot a database with a data structure and categorizations that answer the questions such as: What organizations or projects/programs in our community that have purported relevance with some of the over-arching focuses put forward by initiatives such as DMC, J2G and Health Improvements?

This database could be used as one of the ways to explore the capacities of the community. If you are someone on an exploratory journey to learn about the greater Rochester community. could be an interesting first step.

The following defines the various project phases:
  1. Available - a product, program or service is in production
  2. Develop - program or application is being developed
  3. Plan - idea is solid, stakeholders are identified, and there is strong commitment to go forward from all parties.
  4. Concept Phase - idea scoped out with enough details to give an early sizing and/or to build a proof of concept
  5. Pre-concept Phase - an early idea or a requirement.
Links to Beam and beam sub-sites: