Members of the group didn’t take time Tuesday to flesh it out, but the idea of cooperative goal setting amongst various social action groups came up at a roundtable discussion with local Assemblyman James Gallagher.

The conversation had turned to how we could go about building community coalitions to address community causes.

“Competing do-gooders” was thrown out there to describe what’s happening, to some extent, at present. A plethora of worthy groups have an even greater plethora of causes ... all good, all deserving of support. Each service club has its own set of causes; each philanthropic organization does, as well as every church, and any other government or private sector entity hoping to improve the community.

Which is fine. We all have a different bent on what’s top priority. 

But what ought to be the major focus of the entire community of do-gooders? 

What if we all found a common focus – one major thing at a time; kept our own side issues, but agreed to cooperate on one overarching cause?

The conversation for a while was how to build awareness of the issues surrounding healthy lifestyles. That would certainly improve the community as a whole. Maybe the overarching health issue ought to be obesity and diabetes. What can one institution, such as Adventist Health, do? What could happen if a dozen organizations focused on the common problem? 

Likely, the great problem is to get all the right groups to agree to come to an agreement on the focus. What would it be that we concentrate on first? Mental health? Healthy lifestyles? Education? Homelessness? Housing?

Or would it be more basic? Somehow strengthening families and neighborhoods?

How do we go about building on the idea of all groups, philanthropic organizations, foundations, service clubs  agreeing on one big thing?

It might be worth investigating.

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