If you’re a system as large and diverse as Grand Rapids Public Schools, how do you gather meaningful feedback from parents and stakeholders in your district? You hire Public Agency at WMCAT and our Community Catalysts. This talented collective, one of two social enterprises at WMCAT, recently facilitated four community engagement meetings for GRPS as a part of the district’s Transformation Plan listening tour.

Public Agency at WMCAT’s Community Catalysts

Rather than a room with rows of chairs and “officials” at the front asking for feedback, Public Agency designed an interactive, meaningful and stakeholder-driven process. We engaged our Community Catalysts, a network of diverse citizens who use design thinking to tackle big issues, to help facilitate the sessions. The group as a whole reflects the diversity of the district; they are residents, parents, and volunteers, who have working experience in nonprofit, business, and government. Four of the twelve involved in the listening tour were bilingual. Catalysts spent time with small groups capturing oral and written feedback around ‘what is working? ‘what is not working?’ and ‘barriers and solutions.’

“People want to feel heard,” says Adam Weiler, Director of Social Enterprise at WMCAT. “That happens through listening. Traditional engagement strategies don’t always allow for the intimacy of listening.”

Public Agency at WMCAT gives voice to residents, puts facilitation into the hands of Community Catalysts, and designs equitable, authentic, and actionable engagement experiences.

If your organization is ready for a new way to hear from clients or constituents, reach out to Public Agency to transform your way of doing.