A Community Hub for Creating Positive Change in Fairfield County

Apr 22, 2024

Dear Friend,

What makes a community strong?

Asking ourselves this question helped inspire the creation of the Fairfield County Equity Lab – a new project that is connecting people from all walks of life who are committed to creating positive change in Fairfield County.

Through the Lab’s work, we are learning the answer:

Shared Purpose: A strong community is united by a common purpose or goal. In this case, it’s promoting positive and equitable change in our region. When individuals and institutions align around this purpose, there is no limit to what we can achieve.
Inclusivity: A strong community welcomes people from all walks of life. By bringing together individuals with diverse backgrounds, perspectives, and expertise, the Fairfield County Equity Lab can tap into a wealth of ideas and experiences, leading to better solutions to our community’s most pressing challenges.
Collaboration: Effective collaboration is essential for addressing complex issues. The Lab provides a platform for residents, businesses, government entities, hospitals, universities, and other stakeholders to collaborate, share resources, and build upon their collective strengths.
Community Engagement: Engagement is key to building a sense of belonging and ownership within a community. The Lab actively engages the entire community in making decisions, soliciting feedback, and creating solutions. This fosters a sense of empowerment and investment in the region’s future.
Education and Learning: Learning is a continuous process, and a strong community values education and knowledge sharing. The Equity Lab serves as a hub for learning, providing opportunities for residents to gain new insights, skills, and perspectives through workshops, trainings, and other educational activities.

After just a few months, the Equity Lab is sparking conversations and generating energy around creating a community where all our neighbors will have an equitable opportunity to thrive. It’s providing opportunities to discuss innovative ideas, fueling local research, and fostering new relationships.

Working ‘In Community’

If you’ve been following our social media feeds — or have attended a recent Community Foundation event — you’ve likely already been exposed to some of what the Equity Lab has to offer.

The Equity Lab is what brought Pulitzer Prize-winning author Matthew Desmond and barrier-breaking physician Dr. Uchè Blackstock to Fairfield County to lead powerful conversations about poverty and health inequities.

On May 2, investigative journalist Nikole Hannah-Jones will share her insights from a career covering racial injustice and discuss the enduring legacy of the Trans-Atlantic slave trade in our culture, politics, economy, and institutions.  She will also share thoughts on how to protect our precious, yet increasingly delicate, democracy.

The Lab is also playing a central role in bringing our community together to learn more about the forthcoming “Upside of Equity” research — a year-long study that will measure the impact of racial equity on our region’s economy and how advocating for policies that advance equity can lead to economic benefits for all Fairfield County residents.

And it is serving as the driving force behind the newly launched Community Equity Incubator — a two-year resident leadership program that is accelerating the growth of innovative, equity-focused community-based organizations through funding and training.

Creating a More Resilient Fairfield County

The Equity Lab’s commitment to bridge building couldn’t be more relevant in today’s climate of division and polarization.

By emphasizing the importance of knowledge, empathy, and finding common ground, the lab is addressing the root causes of societal challenges and breaking down siloes. In turn, it is helping to make our community more resilient.

If you’re inspired to help build a stronger region, there are several ways you can get involved with the Lab, from attending an event, to participating in our research, or by signing up for the new Allies for Equity membership program.

You’ll be joining a community of more than 400 dedicated individuals who are already rolling up their sleeves.  It’s an exciting time for you to join the effort!

In Community,

Mendi Blue Paca