Residents of Mercer County are invited to come together to envision what they want for the future of their county, and to work with one another to make it happen.
Mercer County: Better Together is a citizen-led initiative that will celebrate the history of Mercer County, identify the common values rooted in the community, and search for a unified vision for Mercer County and its communities.
The effort just received support from the Looser-Flake Charitable Foundation, a private foundation administered by the Community Foundation of the Great River Bend. The four-month grant from the Looser-Flake Charitable Foundation will provide $18,332 to match local contributions towards the costs of community forums and communications to engage the people and businesses of Mercer County in a longer-term process to begin this September.
Mercer County Family YMCA will serve as the fiscal agent for the four-month grant. “This is a great opportunity to impact Mercer County for generations to come,” said Sarah Brown, CEO of the YMCA and a member of the steering committee.
The entire process will span two years, and will engage communities in a series of fun and interesting activities that seek to zero in on what Mercer County’s future can—and should—be. The process will provide a chance for everybody’s voice to be heard and to become involved.
During the first four months of the effort, the Mercer County: Better Together steering committee will host four community information forums throughout the county. The 22-member steering committee consists of individuals who represent various communities and organizations. The forums will be geographically distributed throughout the county, with locations, dates and times communicated through the mail to Mercer County households, in the Times Record Weekly Shopper, and on the WRMJ Community Calendar.
The forums will introduce the concept of the countywide planning process, identify the assets that the county already has available, discuss the projects that have been completed or occurred over the past 10 years, and ask participants to identify how they would like to be involved in the process going forward.
Kelly Thompson, Director of Programs at the Community Foundation of the Great River Bend, said she is excited for Mercer County’s future. “The trustees of the Looser-Flake Charitable Foundation have been impressed with the way so many people representing Mercer County municipalities, businesses, media, nonprofits, education, government organizations and other involved citizens have come together to identify their common interest and purpose. They are glad to support the people of Mercer County as they plan their community’s future.”
The Looser-Flake Charitable Foundation was started through the estates of sisters Dorothy Looser-Flake and Roberta Looser. Their Mercer County upbringing and careers as educators greatly influenced their decision to direct the Foundation to advance economic development and further cultural and educational opportunities in Mercer County, Illinois.
Area residents and organizations have been meeting since October 2015 to reach this phase of the process.
Learn more about the benefits of setting up a foundation fund with the Community Foundation to leave your legacy by calling a member of our Development Team at 563/326-2840.