February 18, 2022
The Charlevoix County Community Foundation (C3F) is collecting input from those who live, work, and play in communities across Charlevoix County. “The survey asks friends and neighbors to share their priorities for a thriving community,” explains Chip Hansen, President of the Community Foundation. The survey is available online and will be open through March 31st. This input, along with other data, will help C3F board and staff set priorities for discretionary grantmaking, impact investing, and community leadership.
The survey was designed to encourage participants to respond in their own words plus offers a chance to rank top areas respondents feel are necessary for their community to thrive. Since early June, housing, education, and employment have consistently ranked highest. Respondents felt environment and health were nearly as important.
There was broad agreement on the strengths the community has to build on: natural beauty and recreational access to places like lakes, trails, forests, and parks came up again and again in responses. Survey results so far also recognize the people as both a strength and a point of pride. Words like “generous,” “civic-minded,” “compassionate,” and “willing to get involved” were commonly echoed. Other examples of top responses included “neighbors helping neighbors,” “people responding to the needs of others,” and “how everyone supports one another.”
The final question asked respondents to share what they felt could be improved in their communities. Housing was a clear concern to survey-takers, specifically the availability of workforce housing, affordability of all types of housing, the need for year-round rentals, and the benefits and disadvantages of short-term rentals were all mentioned. Infrastructure and services, such as roads, high-speed internet, and recycling, were frequently offered. Respondents had thoughts and suggestions around businesses in the area, including the desire for more retail and restaurants, appreciation of a ‘shop local’ mindset, and mention of encouraging more businesses with affordable rent in downtown areas. There was a trend in some responses around civility, unity, listening to each other, giving respect, being open-minded, and reducing the “drama.” There was also a trend around well-paid, year-round employment that can attract and sustain young people and families.
“We are pleased with the number of responses so far,” notes Mr. Hansen, “but encourage folks to spend 10 minutes taking the survey. The voices we hear from really matter. We also hope that the effort will introduce the Community Foundation to people who haven’t learned about how we help people make a difference close to home.”
Take our survey