UPLIFT Florida Network Engages Existing and Developing Villages in Meaningful Conversations

UPLIFT Florida Network Engages Existing and Developing Villages in Meaningful Conversations

Posted on December 01, 2022 by Cathy Lieblich, President of Neighbors Network & UPLIFT Board Member, Orange County
UPLIFT Florida Network has several active committees supporting its mission and vision. The Village Formation and Integration committee actively engages both existing and developing villages. Monthly meetings led by board members Cathy Lieblich and Pam Mahoney facilitate conversations with these villages. These conversations offer a unique opportunity for the villages in formation to discuss their challenges and receive expert guidance and advice from the existing villages. Topics have included volunteer/board recruitment, village structure, membership fees vs. free for all participants, various services provided, and developing community relationships and support. The four existing villages in Florida are Neighbor to Neighbor in the Nenes (Tallahassee), LIV-UP of Upper Pinellas, Wellington Cares (Wellington and Royal Palm Beach), and Neighbors Network (Orlando area). There are currently two developing villages: Pueblos en la Comunidad, which would be the first Hispanic village in the country (parts of Seminole County), and Neighbors Network of Six Mile Cypress (in Lee County).

florida villages
The four existing villages meet on the 4th Monday of the month from 3-4pm. Discussions have included:
  • Board succession planning
  • Financial sustainability
  • Fundraising
  • Changing needs and interests of villagers
  • Transitioning from an all-volunteer structure to hiring staff

We are currently working with other members of the UPLIFT board to finalize a toolkit that will provide guidance and concrete support to accelerate the process of forming a village in Florida. Sections will include the four phases of creating a new village in Florida: Explore, Develop, Launch, and Run. Our goal is to have the toolkit available by the end of the year.

We plan to visit the four existing Florida villages and meet in person with each village's board to understand their unique and specific challenges so that UPLIFT can effectively support them. On November 21st, UPLIFT board members Pam Mahoney and Cynthia Kemp visited Neighbors Network, for which Cathy serves as board president.

In preparation for the meeting, Neighbors Networks' board members received a survey with specific questions about their village's needs, interests, challenges, and opportunities. The survey focused on the in-person conversation on UPLIFT's role in providing value and support to ensure the village's growth and sustainability. The visit went well since the board understood the general concept of UPLIFT and how UPLIFT could help villages. Examples include:

  • statewide education and promotion of the village concept
  • advocacy for Florida villages with the Department of Elder Affairs and the state legislature
  • economies of scale through collective purchasing power
  • help with developing partnerships, particularly with health systems and/or payors
  • and the importance of Florida villages having a common taxonomy, financial reporting systems, and other data so that UPLIFT can have aggregated data for fund development and advocacy.
The next step will be to meet in person with the other three villages and prepare a report on the findings from the visits that will help the UPLIFT Board build the hub's capacity.

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