The Southwest Neighborhood Assembly (SWNA), as Southwest’s civic association, has as its mission the protection and enhancement of our community’s quality of life. With all that is happening in our quadrant, we are consistently presented with an enormous range of issues to address—some larger than others, but all relating to how we lead our lives here—and the possibility of myriad activities that we could undertake to address them. As a board of six individuals (seven when we are fully staffed) who are volunteers with our own “day jobs,” we are obviously constrained as to what we can reasonably and effectively take on. Even assisted by the community volunteers who staff our task forces, and the individuals who have organized the groups for which we serve as a fiscal sponsor, we are constantly asking ourselves the question, “How can we have the most impact in Southwest on behalf of all of our residents?” We periodically consult with our colleagues at the Advisory Neighborhood Commission and the Southwest Business Improvement District to get their perspectives on this question, and of course have individual conversations with many of our residents.
To answer the above question, at a recent board meeting, we carefully analyzed what is going on in our community, considered the input from other stakeholders, as well as our capabilities and resources, and determined that for our 2017-18 year, we would undertake the following strategic initiatives:
- Working to optimize the transportation options available to, and mobility of, SW community members, in the context of coordinated transportation planning efforts between the District government and key SW stakeholders.
- Continue to identify, through various means, issues of concern to SW community members and determine the best way(s) of addressing them.
- Work independently and in collaboration with other stakeholders to develop and sponsor community-building activities and events that engage all segments of our diverse community.
- Build greater awareness of SWNA, develop sustainable sources of funding, and increase volunteer participation from all parts of the SW community to enhance organizational capacity.
- Grow our support for the youth of Southwest through increased involvement of community businesses, individual volunteers, and other stakeholders.
- Collaborate with others to ensure preservation of green and open space in Southwest and to seek opportunities for enhancement.
Focusing on these initiatives does not mean we will disregard other matters that we identify or that are brought to our attention. Further, our task forces will continue to work on matters important to them even if they are not necessarily related to our board’s strategic initiatives. However, we will be most active in pursuing these initiatives and concentrating our time, energy, and other resources on them. We will also be looking to engender greater volunteer involvement from the community to work with us on these initiatives—clearly, our small volunteer board, as capable as it is, must find collaborators. We hope you will join with us and in the coming months. At our monthly community meetings and through The Southwester and other means, we will let you know what we are doing and how you can help.
By: Bruce Levine