Our belief is that the challenges we face as a community are too great for a single individual, organization, or sector to solve alone. Only through true collaboration will we meet the pressing needs of our present and our future.
We envision a community working together to create the most effective systems for health & human services in the country so that all individuals can thrive.
Inclusion of Ideas, Perspectives, & Underrepresented Voices
Trying New Approaches & Learning from Experiences
Leveraging the Best from Each Sector
Relationships as the Foundation of Trust
Community SPOKE is a 501c3 nonprofit organization whose mission is “to enhance the quality of life for all Ottawa County residents through a strategic, coordinated, and systemic response to human service’s needs.”
Created in 2013 out of a partnership between the County of Ottawa and the Lakeshore Nonprofit Alliance and formally incorporated in 2015, this collaborative effort sought to bring together top leadership from both government and nonprofit agencies to tackle some of the greatest challenges experienced in the health and human services sector.
The vision of Community SPOKE is a “a community working together to create the most effective systems for health & human services in the country, so that all individuals can become interdependent, productive, and contributing members of the community.”
How We Work
Community SPOKE achieves its mission and vision through two primary activities.
First, Community SPOKE utilizes data to identify the greatest needs in our community, facilitates a collaborative process involving cross-sector input (business, government, nonprofit), and works towards a shared solution and implementation strategy. The greatest value that Community SPOKE brings to the community is the ability to create a neutral space for these conversations to begin, to serve as a facilitator, and to be a catalyst for early stage collaborations.
Second, Community SPOKE works to build the “ecosystem” where structured collaboration can be successful. A healthy ecosystem for collaboration includes such elements as strong leadership, aligned funding, good data collection, strong backbone infrastructures, cross-sector buy-in, and the use of public/private partnerships.
The word “Spoke” has the following definitions:
- to communicate, signify, or disclose by any means; convey significance.
- one of some number of rods radiating from the center of a wheel (the hub where the axle connects), connecting the hub with the round traction surface.
Similar to the dual definitions provided above, the name Community SPOKE has two meanings. First, the organization seeks to be a mouthpiece by which we inform the public of our greatest community needs as well as the good work already taking place to address those needs. Second, Community SPOKE identifies with the role of a physical “spoke,” which functions as part of a wheel.
We are not a “hub” which everything revolves around (giving a sense of superiority and hierarchy). We are also not the tire or round traction surface, which is the part of the wheel where the “rubber meets the road.” Rather, we see ourselves more as the connective tissue in the “spokes” that connect these two critical parts.