Why empowering cultural diversity in our community makes a difference.
The Cultural Centers of Lincoln serves as a model of multicultural collaboration to develop a public dialogue that will increase understanding of the value of diversity for Lincoln/Lancaster County and all Nebraska communities. While each community cultural center represents a distinct constituency, they share many characteristics, values, and goals. The Cultural Centers of Lincoln operates to support the individual centers, while building upon their strengths in a collaborative manner to produce community outcomes centered on diversity, social justice, and cultural competency.
Beginning in 2019, the Cultural Centers of Lincoln (CCL, formerly the Cultural Centers Coalition) in partnership with the Community Health Endowment (CHE) and other advisors, developed a shared vision of cost-efficient collaboration, multi-cultural community development, and agency sustainability. The Cultural Centers Collaborative: Empowering Diverse Solutions (EDS) project was developed to enhance the capacity of the CCL agencies and their communities to collaborate with local service systems, funders and other stakeholders to develop solutions that efficiently address determinants of poor outcomes across diverse at-risk neighborhoods.
Unfortunately, a disproportionate number of minorities are born or immigrate into Lincoln neighborhoods plagued by persistent poverty and associated disparities. Without effective strategies to reduce the burden of poverty on these neighborhoods, poverty and associated issues will likely keep pace with high minority population growth rates.
At-risk neighborhoods are also rich in cultural diversity, resiliency, adversity adaptations, knowledge, and other assets that may be molded into innovative approaches to community recovery and development. The EDS project will bring this potential to the planning table. In the first year, the project will: (1) enhance CCL administrative capacity, visibility, and partnerships; (2) engage partners and community members in problem analyses, strategy development, and collaborative planning; and (3) develop and initiate phased strategy implementation and revenue generation plans to address community priorities.
Development of administrative capacity during year one will focus on project development, fundraising and project management. To prevent redundant costs across coalition members and other partners, additional shared capacities, such as accounting, human resource management, administrative assistance, printing, and other components will be incorporated into collaborative plans. A standards-based evaluation framework will also be established to ensure that strategy implementation is refined and expanded based on accumulation of lessons learned and new insights. Years two and three will focus on implementation.
Preliminary focal areas include: basic needs (e.g. food and economic assistance); workforce development; community liaison / partner service enhancement; health / mental health services; early child development; multicultural senior services; transportation; youth sports; recreation; culture / language maintenance and development; and cross cultural relationship building.
Called to serve our neighbors together and have diversity in faith and nationality
Commitment to effective, efficient, and achievable outcomes
Cultural sensitivity – promoting/ensuring (promote awareness, openness to cultural issues avoid cultural elitism)
Diversity and inclusion
Make sure no group is left behind – new culturally distinctive groups are emerging into our society
Notion of privilege – be aware of privilege and how it impacts policies and decisions
Practical versus theoretical
Prioritizing product over process – focus on outcomes
Quality of care
Reciprocal respect for all members working with the cultural centers
Responsive to emerging issues