Leaders within Washington County began meeting in response to a competitive opportunity to receive technical assistance from Maine Rural Partners (MRP) under it’s Harness the Wealth! (HTW) capacity-building program. Another grant proposal was submitted by the Washington County Commissioners to the Regional Efficiency Fund to support HTW in Washington County and to investigate opportunities for cost savings through cooperation.
At the County Commissioners meeting of 9/31, the following structure was agreed upon for HTW in Washington County:
- Commissioners appoint a Management Team of 12-15 people broadly representing the county geographically. This group will meet monthly.
- An executive committee of 4 is elected from within the management team to work with the County Manager. This group will meet every 1-2 months, plus communication in between meetings.
- A larger Governing Team is established to officially endorse the process and attend quarterly meetings.
The Management Team chose the name Washington County: One Community based on the belief/assumption that we are stronger as a county wide coalition rather than a diverse collection of municipalities and developed three tasks for the coalition:
- Strategic planning
- Capacity building
- Community Investment strategies
First Community Planning Retreat held. Resulted in development of:
- Visions, Missions and Goals.
- Five Focus Teams:
- Infrastructure/Social Capital, Economics, Youth, Wellness and Communications
Washington County: One Community and Coalition for Healthy Tomorrows voted to merge as one broad based coalition. The intent for the merger was to house both DownEast Healthy Tomorrows and St. Croix Healthy Communities under one umbrella to strengthen capacity, resources and cost sharing. Both coalitions were working toward a merger. Ultimately, due to a limited timeframe for fiscal sponsorship identification, SCVHC decided to partner with Downeast Health Services and work with WC:OC to develop a united partnership going forward.
Newly merged, the board (including existing members of Downeast Healthy Tomorrows) developed bylaws, conflict of interest policies, a member commitment pledge and a revised mission statement. WC:OC continued to work with the County of Washington to develop the necessary foundation for fiscal sponsorship.
November 2007 – December 2008
WC:OC continued to build capacity over the next year gaining community engagement, achieving identified goals and earning the Maine Rural Partners – Partner of the Year award. Highlights include:
- Communications: County-wide quality of life survey, communication plan, website, brochure, informational flyers throughout the county
- Wellness: Food pantry initiative, funding for Food & Fuel Alliance, underage drinking initiative with Sheriff Office, Asthma collaborative, policy development, securing funding for weatherizing homes, merger with Washington County Drug Action Team
- Economics: Farm to school initiative, school fundraiser project, Think Local First initiative
- Social Capital: Homeless identification, merger with Mighty Women, hosting over 25 organizational presentations
- Infrastructure: Liaisons established between WC:OC and Sunrise Trail Coalition & Regional Airport committee, developed map of all public/private transportation routes w/in Washington county, Park and Ride commuter points w/in Washington County
- Youth: Secured Funding through Rural Community Development Initiative to connect Washington County youth to place-based economic networks. Washington County Youth Leadership Institute program; Engaging local school districts and youth serving organization to develop program that will provide an opportunity for at risk youth to enhance their leadership skills.
WC:OC officially identified the County as the fiscal manager for all major funding sources and began the movement of contracts from all other fiscal sponsors. By January 2009, WC:OC completed the transition of funding to the County of Washington. Space was located in Machias and the office opened in February.
There are currently three board members that have remained on the board since the merger (Cindy is relocating and has resigned).
2009 – Present
WC:OC hosted a community visioning session in January. Over seventy-five participants spent the day identifying priorities and developing strategies that would increase the quality of life for Washington County residents.
WC:OC held a Hall of Flags event in Augusta showcasing the collective work of the organization and their partners. Senator Raye stated that the event boasted the largest attendance he had ever witnessed.
WC:OC became the official coalition for the Southern HMP. The Board is the umbrella coalition guided by the wellness committee for environmental and policy recommendations. During this year the Wellness committee.
Summer 2009 the BOD responded to the request of Anne Perry to view the video Unnatural Causes. The BOD strived to engage focus team members and identify priorities to address health disparities.