Working in the Gap Mini-Conference Summary Report

On October 28, 2016 the East Central Wisconsin Regional Planning Commission, in partnership with the City of Oshkosh, Winnebago County UW-Extension, and Goodwill Industries NCW’s Neighborhood Partners program hosted a half-day learning workshop on “working in the gap” which was put in the context of strengthening neighborhoods.

The concept of “the gap” is directed at people who work for a public or private institution that associates with, or supports, neighborhood groups or other citizen-led efforts. City departments (government), religious institutions, school districts, and other non-profit organizations are just a few examples of entities which often require their staff to work within this “white space” between institutions and citizen led efforts. Elected officials are also working in the gap on a regular basis as their decisions will typically affect these activities in some way. A lot has been done to explore how we create stronger grassroots efforts as well as stronger institutions, but not a lot has been done to define the principles and practices essential to these two building blocks of communities as they relate to each other.

This report condenses and summarizes the results of four separate questions which were asked of the participants during the morning long session. While these focused on ‘neighborhoods’, they could apply to nearly any grassroots, citizen led initiative:

  1. What does working the gap mean for you / your role / your relationship with the residents/neighborhoods/community that you serve?
  2. What could your role look like if you applied the principles of good gap work to your relationship with residents/neighbors/community?
  3. If we were to get better at being a gapper, what would we continue to do? What would we stop doing?
  4. What structures or systems would need to be in place, improved, or modified to be a more successful gapper?

Read the full report:

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