Tulane VISTA Blog

Fighting Poverty with Passion

Planning for New Orleans’s Water Future

StayLocal had a great holiday season! We encouraged New Orleanians to shop 100% local for the holidays and were even featured on WDSU News!

Now that the holiday buzz has calmed down and we are settled in to our new office (1307 Oretha Castle Haley Blvd.), I have been working with the Greater New Orleans Water Collaborative (GNOWC) on our strategic planning process.

The GNOWC is composed of individuals, organizations, and communities working to address critical water issues throughout New Orleans and the greater region. Our work is guided by the vision and principles of the Greater New Orleans Urban Water Plan. Our goal is to develop a safer and more beautiful city built upon sustainable water management. Within the collaborative, there are five working groups: Community Education, K – 12 Education, Advocacy, Building & Design, and Research & Policy.

The Collaborative spent the past seven months forming working groups and moving key issues forward. Now we are at an important crossroads. The Interim Steering Committee is approaching the end of its term and sees the opportunity to take the collaborative to a new level of excitement, focus, organization and purpose.

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Interim Steering Committee meeting with no heat during freeze #dedication

Back in November the GNOWC received a large sum of money from the Kresge Foundation, thanks to the support of the Gulf Restoration Network, to fund our strategic planning process. This money provides us with the opportunity to set the future path for our Collaborative.

Forty-plus members and allies of the Greater New Orleans Water Collaborative will be involved in various aspects of the planning process. Most of these people will set the broader direction, provide feedback, and ratify the outcomes of the planning process. The core planning team of approximately 12 people (including the Interim Steering Committee) will do the bulk of the work. We have an advisory group comprised of 10-15 additional Collaborative members to provide regular feedback and support at regular intervals. In addition, there is a staff coordinator from the Gulf Restoration Network who will support and guide the process.

Screen Shot 2015-01-12 at 3.53.35 PMThe official process begins in a few weeks, but the work is well under way. We’re currently forming the core and advisory planning groups, and selecting a professional facilitator to guide the process.

The question now is, what the type of facilitator do we need? Do we want a facilitator who provides a framework for the members of the steering committee to produce the strategic plan OR a facilitator who uses what the steering committee comes up with to produce draft versions of the deliverables?

The GNOWC is excited to be working with so many great people and organizations towards achieving our goals.

The best is yet to come!

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This entry was posted on January 12, 2015 by in VISTA Field Reports.

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