Advancing Civic Change in Miami

November 18, 2014

Avalanche empowers Miamians to invest in the issues that matter most to the community

When the Miami Foundation sought a new way to inform decisions about community investment in Miami, it called Avalanche Consulting.

Through an in-depth research process, which included local analysis and benchmarking against other major metros, Avalanche uncovered stories that lie at the heart of Miami’s economic and social conditions. The goal of Our Miami is to compel the Foundation and Miami residents to direct public investment, charitable giving, and volunteerism into the issues that most impact the city’s well being.

“The report and OurMiami.org website draw connections between Miami’s quality of life indicators, uncovering powerful conclusions about our city,” said Stuart Kennedy, Senior Programs Manager at the Miami Foundation. “The team at Avalanche was incredible at taking us through a very intensive, complicated process and helping us arrive at a clear and useful report.”

Avalanche worked with a 20-member Advisory Committee to define eight issue areas that impact Miami’s well being: arts & culture, civic engagement, economy, education, environment & public spaces, health & safety, housing & affordability, and transportation. The Committee consisted of a diversity of perspectives, including representatives from healthcare, education, civic services, media, the arts, and other non-profits.

Once issue areas were defined, Avalanche developed metrics and conducted extensive research, producing nearly 60 indicators to monitor for Miami and benchmark with other major metros.

Once the index was complete, Avalanche worked with Miami-based Musa Creative to develop a website that helps the Foundation and Miamians interact with data on the issues most pressing to the city’s prosperity. After exploring the website, visitors can explore and connect with Miami nonprofits involved in each of the issue areas.

At the October launch of the index and the corresponding Our Miami website, the Miami Foundation announced a new accelerator program that will award eight $10,000 grants to area nonprofits, one for each issue area.

“Our Miami is a very special engagement for us,” said Amy Holloway, Avalanche’s president. “Community service is an important value of our firm. We feel fortunate that the Miami Foundation gave us an opportunity to help its community make better decisions about getting involved in improving Miami’s quality of life. Imagine what change would happen if every place invested in a similar process!”

To see Our Miami in action, click here: www.OurMiami.org.

Avalanche Consulting is the nation’s premier economic development strategist. The firm is the best in the country at translating complex information into strategies for growth and communications platforms for communities. Avalanche is deeply driven to make a positive impact and seek clients who are equally inspired to energize their economies. Headquartered in Austin, Texas, Avalanche was established in 2005 and assisted more than 100 communities across the US and abroad.

The Miami Foundation provides civic leadership, bringing stakeholders together to tackle issues of concern in Miami. Working together with its Fundholders and community partners, the Foundation leverages collective knowledge, creativity and resources for a greater impact than any one individual could make alone. More than $170 million in grants and scholarships has been awarded in the Foundation’s rich 47-year history. Today, it carefully stewards more than $200 million in charitable assets.