In the Groundwork phase, the goal is to assess the need for a resilience plan and the community’s interest and willingness to start and complete the process.
As it is determined that there is enthusiasm at the community government level, presentations to key community leaders are done to get buy in on the process and commitment to doing their part. Early understanding of resilience thinking is important.
The goal is also to get some early understanding of the community assets, risk, and vulnerabilities. This phase should also have a draft Area of Concern since this will determine outcomes later in the process.
Looking at the entire resilience process, where are there gaps in capacity and how will they be addressed?
Note of Importance: In this phase, there will be a need to determine the Implementation Group. Since rural communities, especially disadvantaged communities, lack adequate resources and have significant capacity gaps, who will take the final plan and implement the actions must be determined ahead of time. Additionally, this same group should be a part of the Stakeholder Group going forward.
Since many rural communities will not have strong citizen involvement, and there will likely be no existing group able to take on this large task, it is recommended that the community create a non-profit organization to be the Implementation Group (Community Development Organization of…). If the community is an incorporated city, the nonprofit can be legally attached to the city and therefore controlled without the need for written executed agreements. While this will allow a city to supervise progress of the implementation process, a city would also have a fiscal responsibility for the nonprofit.
Finally, the funding of this group will require some consideration by the leadership group. Two possible funding methods would be sales tax increase dedicated to the mission of the Implementation Group or the city council could explore set aside budget line items, especially for startup purposes. In the long run, the goal for the nonprofit should be to fund the agency via project funding sources.
- Presentation to Decision Makers of the Community. It’s important that the community’s board (city council, for example) and management (city manager) buy into the process and make a commitment to involvement in the process.
- Identify an NGO (Sub-recipient). The use of a local nonprofit serves to help fill the staffing resource issue with rural communities. The NGO does all the detailed work to complete a rural resilience plan (community outreach, web page development, authoring the plan, for example) and become the public face of the plan. The NGO needs to be local and well thought of as the face of the process.
- Identify key capacity gaps. How will the NGOs time be paid for? Does the community have a Planner on staff?
- Board Approval (including City Manager/County Admin) and Commitments For example, will the plan be part of the General Plan or not?
- Identify a Lead Person with the Approving Agency
- Determine the Initial Area of Concern
- Determine the Make Up of the Leadership Group (have first meeting/training)
- Develop a Preliminary List of Members for the Stakeholders Group
- Determine the Implementation Group (NGO?) and funding source.