AUGUSTA — Dozens of leaders in southern Kennebec County are spearheading a process to establish 10-year community goals in health, education and financial stability.

The Kennebec Valley Goal-Setting Council, created by United Way of Kennebec Valley, seeks broad feedback in the form of surveys and community conversations with people who live, work or play in the region.

The council is comprised of 17 community leaders from the business, nonprofit and government sectors and is supported by three expert panels focused on health, education and financial stability. Chuck Hays, president and CEO of MaineGeneral, and Katie Doherty, president and CEO of the Kennebec Valley Chamber of Commerce, are co-chairing the group.

“At MaineGeneral, we’re constantly reviewing and contributing to community health data to better serve our communities,” said Hays, according to a news release from UWKV. “By putting a regional focus on trends in health, education and financial stability — the primary building blocks for a good life — we can create a foundation for individual and community prosperity. If you remove any of those building blocks, the other two will topple — which is exactly why we all must work together.”

More than 50 local leaders will help set goals, strategies and indicators, informed by community conversations with, and surveys of, diverse and numerous people. The council’s aims to unite hundreds of organizations and individuals under the community’s shared vision when the goals are announced in 2022.

“For the business community, setting regional goals with measurable results is a sound investment in Kennebec Valley’s future,” said Doherty, who also serves as vice-chairwoman of UWKV’s Board of Directors. “When we all work together to reduce poverty, we generate strong returns to society over time in the form of higher real Gross Domestic Product, reduced expenditures on health care, and improved quality of life.”

The Council invites anyone who lives, works or plays in southern Kennebec County to complete a brief survey online or attend one of several community conversations to help inform goal development. Community conversations are scheduled to occur at 6 p.m. May 5 at Augusta’s Mill Park; at 6 p.m. May 10 at Gardiner’s Central Fire Station; at 5:30 p.m. May 13 at the YMCA Camp of Maine in Winthrop; and 5:30 p.m. May 25 virtually on Zoom. All are welcome, and interpreters will be made available. Participants will be eligible to win local gift cards.

To complete the survey or register in advance for a community conversation, visit uwkv.org/community.

The council has also collaborated with Plimpton Research to produce four research papers identifying community demographics, data trends, and existing needs. These papers were published in February 2021 and are available on UWKV’s website. Organizations and individuals are encouraged to use and share this information in order to strengthen their own efforts in Kennebec County.

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