The Foundation for a Healthy St. Petersburg is opening A Center for Social Change in October, 2019. The Center is designed to be a place where community members can come together and work toward solutions and interventions to improve health equity in South Pinellas County.
The business and technology sectors have long understood the value of bringing smart, creative people together with resources to innovate new products, services and business models. Why shouldn't we approach social problems and social change using the same tools? Why not tap community wisdom and creativity to improve community health? And why not dedicate a center to social change that raises up local voices?
The need for a new way of solving problems and addressing opportunities came from three years of deep listening to the residents, nonprofits, governmental entities, and faith-based leaders who believe that improving the lives of all citizens in South Pinellas County will require multi-sector work.
What we've learned so far from listening sessions across the county...
A Center for Social Change is built on the premise of people's innate capability for innovation.
The Center will include room to host events large and small, technology to support group work, and programming informed by listening to many sectors of Pinellas County residents.
Activities and events at the Center will bring many people to the neighborhood and create a new hub for civic engagement and community empowerment.
Faith leaders and faith communities can come together and unite to learn, address community needs and share resources.
24 cities, over 100 city council members, and thousands of employees will have a place to share expertise and engage with other sectors.
The corporate sector will bring their expertise and track record of innovation to these collaborations.
Nonprofits can engage the center to train employees, collaborate, utilize technology, meeting spaces and trained facilitators — or co-create with private and public sector partners.
Individuals can be a powerful force for change with proper support and engagement.
A Center for Social Change will be shaped and influenced by the voices of South Pinellas County residents.
We can't predict the path or the programs that will take shape — it's the nature of innovation to question existing ways of doing things. We believe that bringing together unexpected combinations of people with the freedom and space to collaborate will result in "out of the box" thinking and fresh approaches to the social conditions most in need of change if we are to achieve optimal health for all.
These are the ways we've observed that new ideas for social change have emerged from the community so far:
Ideas generated within the core Foundation Focus Areas (housing, food/nutrition, education, equitable economic development)
Interest generated through responsive grant applications
Ideas proposed by individuals
Ideas emerging from any sector that requests incubation/convening services
Ideas arising from emerging challenges (opioid crisis, gun violence, disaster preparedness)
Trustees Approve Center for Social Change Lease
Center for Social Change Opens with Multiple Activities Over Several Months
The Foundation has leased a 23,250 square foot former retail space at 2333 34th Street South in St. Petersburg. Construction is scheduled to start November 2018, in a design-build led by Wannemacher Jensen Architects. A full restoration of the facility, including new systems and extensive interior and exterior refurbishment, will be undertaken. The space has been vacant for several years and is located in the Community Redevelopment Area (CRA) in South St. Petersburg, in the heart of the service area for the Foundation.
A Center for Social Change will have much-needed meeting space that can accommodate large groups of up to 300, and be subdivided into smaller, flexible meeting spaces on demand. The Foundation offices will be located at the rear of the space. The Center will be outfitted with technology, supported by data, and staffed by facilitators trained to fuel the wisdom, innovative spirit and knowledge that exists in the community.
A: Listening to our community has shaped our approaches during our three-year history, and that listening and responding will continue as we look for guidance on how to develop A Center for Social Change. A Center for Social Change will be open to all community residents with ideas for positive change impacting health equity and the elimination of barriers to good health and health disparities.
Organized listening sessions will launch in September 2018. The Foundation has engaged an experienced research and advocacy organization to manage interviews, surveys and other engagement strategies to hear from A Center for Social Change's neighbors about how they would like to use the Center. They will advise the Foundation on Center programming as well as the best ways to invest locally and serve as an economic catalyst and hub for civic engagement.
Nonprofit leaders will have an opportunity to help determine the programs and services that are needed to fuel social change in South Pinellas County. The Foundation is also polling individuals representing the faith, business and public sectors to assist us in the process of envisioning how A Center for Social Change can most effectively support social innovation in our county to advance health equity.
A: Yes! Business and technology sectors have long understood the value of bringing smart, creative people together with resources to innovate and "incubate" new products, services and solutions. Increasingly, communities are coming together to prioritize social innovation and social change using some of these same techniques. Learn more about other social change incubators.
A: The projected opening is October 2019.
A: 2333 34th Street South, an approximately 23,250 square-foot vacant retail space on the south end of the Lakeview Shopping Center in St. Petersburg. The Foundation offices will occupy the back portion of the Center and the front space will be the public meeting space.