Letter to Future Investors - Connect The Dots Insights
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Letter to Future Investors


Enterprise Center

Executive Summary:

Following the designation of the 46th and Market neighborhood as an Opportunity Zone in West Philadelphia, The Enterprise Center contracted Connect the Dots to design a creative engagement strategy to gather community input and guide future investment towards a more equitable and community-oriented model. In order to collect community feedback, CTD built partnerships with 7 community-based organizations to help with outreach and to co-create hybrid engagement tactics in the form of accessible digital and phone surveys, online chat sessions, and remote workshops. In addition to a ‘Letter to Future Investors’ that now introduces the City’s Investor Prospectus for the area including community-based recommendations for investors to better guide the neighborhood’s development, the project also led to the creation of a community partnership network that can better negotiate with investors, advocacy organizations and city government on future projects.

Services Performed:

Connect the Dots focused engagement efforts on practices of trust building within community partnerships while layering remote engagement tactics to maximize accessibility.  Co-design with neighborhood organizations prioritized sustainable engagement over extractive and immediate data collection.  This project also occurred in the heart of the pandemic in a neighborhood with a vast digital divide so CTD had to innovate and consider remote and hybrid options – not just online.

  • Phase 0 included relationship building and selecting community partners.This included 100 phone calls to introduce the team and start relationships.  A project website was organized alongside a Google Voice hotline and physical hubs at open community centers. This included
  • Phase 1 focused on survey dissemination. Connect the Dots built in multiple streams of outreach for the survey dissemination, acknowledging that residents were likely overwhelmed with current events, and should be able to come across any survey conveniently and without added pressure. CtD organized a 1-1 phone-in version of the survey, a colorful and engaging paper version, and a  group online discussion version for those who prefer a group setting. CTD worked with partners to distribute flyers and posters sharing all of these options. Youth options were also organized by Rising Sons, a nonprofit partner of CTD focusing on marginalized youth.
  • Phase 2 focused on facilitating 4 community leader focus groups to hone in on the pressing issues that came out of the survey and to fill in gaps. 
  • Phase 3 included writing the letter to investors given collected input and learnings. It also included the creation of a toolkit to be shared with local organizations, which was crafted by offering several opportunities for feedback and editing.

Project Outcomes:

The Letter served as a first port of call for future investors and developers, reaching thousands of residents in the area, as an initial means to understand how their work can tie in with the community’s aspirations. It also served as a tool for those who will be negotiating with investors and developers (such as community groups, the City and the Councilmembers) to make sure community interests are represented. Overall project outcomes thus include:

  • People engaged: 450+
  • Clear goals sourced from participants to guide neighborhood development in collaboration with investors. 
  • Development of partnerships within the neighborhood community partners with investors, advocacy organizations, and city government in the long term. 
  • Prioritized communal sensitivity, a trauma informed approach, and meaningful trust building.