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ECCF launches plan to tackle Essex County’s biggest challenges

ECCF launches plan to tackle The County’s biggest challenges
Press Release
Friday, February 5, 2016

Congressman Seth Moulton among local leaders to support Impact Essex County

Danvers, MA – Essex County Community Foundation, a local nonprofit devoted to strengthening the communities of Essex County, recently announced a new leadership initiative that aims to make a long-term measurable impact on the quality of life for the region’s 750,000 residents.

ECCF laid out the details of Impact Essex County last month at a kickoff meeting of local business, community and political leaders. The unprecedented three-phase project is part of ECCF’s commitment to community leadership, and will tackle some of the region’s biggest challenges. During Phase I of the project, already underway, the independent research organization, Center for Governmental Research, will collect and compile comprehensive data about Essex County’s 34 cities and towns, providing an accurate picture of the region’s current health. Once complete in the fall, this data will be published on an interactive Website designed for community use.

“I’m a big believer in data-driven decision-making,” said Congressman Seth Moulton, who spoke in support of the project at the kickoff meeting. Moulton’s district encompasses nearly all of Essex County and he touted Impact Essex County’s potential effect on the region, which, like many areas across the state and country, faces poverty, crime, hunger, unemployment, struggling schools and other challenges. “I’m encouraged that you’re interested in taking this step.”

Once the data collection is complete, during the next two phases, ECCF will convene community stakeholders – including local community leaders, elected officials, nonprofits, businesses and funders – to analyze the data, identify the key issues and most critical needs facing Essex County and work collaboratively to gather resources to move the needle on identified priorities.

“We need more of this regional planning,” said Moulton. “I think it’s why ECCF is so potentially important for the region.”

ECCF Trustee and North Shore Bank COO, Kevin M. Tierney, Sr., said at the meeting – largely attended by business owners and local Chambers of Commerce officials – that not only will the business
sector play a huge part in making Impact Essex County happen, but that it also has a huge stake in its success.

“It’s one thing to give 10 percent of our net income,” he said, referring to the many charitable requests received by North Shore Bank. “But are we really moving the needle? Other businesses have the same question.”

Impact Essex County aims to answer this question – for businesses, for residents, and for other community stakeholders – as the project unfolds.

“This project has the potential to not only openly engage the community in making positive region-wide changes, but it will also help to unify local cities and towns under one common goal: to make Essex County a better place to live, work and raise families for all its residents,” said Dave Edwards, ECCF’s president and CEO.

Many of those in attendance at the kickoff meeting said ECCF’s role as convener is critical, and attendees expressed enthusiasm for the positive change Impact Essex County could bring about.

“I see great potential in this,” said Annie C. Harris, CEO of the Essex National Heritage Commission.

“When I’m down in Washington, I brag about my district quite a bit,” said Moulton. “Things like what is happening in this room are what make me really proud to represent this district.”

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