Using Civic Engagement and Collaboration to Create Community Change: Lessons From Charlotte, N.C.

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  • The city of Charlotte, N.C. undertook a deliberative democracy process using the AmericaSpeaks “21st Century Town Meeting” process.
  • The University of North Carolina-Charlotte performed a retrospective, process evaluation of the initiative examining the initiative’s components, coverage, participant feedback, short-term outcomes, and lessons learned.
  • Early planning and implementation was done by volunteers, which ultimately was not sustainable. A new center, housed within an existing organization, was created to implement the recommendations.
  • The initiative achieved a number of early successes, such as increasing the number of school nurses, expansion of an early childhood development program and an increase in after-school and summer programs for youth.
  • While the center continues to provide services, the broad public awareness and ongoing public participation was challenging to sustain.

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