This toolbox provides a template for communities throughout Vermont to build new partnerships, identify common goals, and find projects that will make them more attractive places to live, work, and visit.

I. Outreach Group

The Creative Communities Program begins with a local Outreach Committee tasked with engaging a diverse group of local residents in the 3 forums that would follow. While the Outreach Group typically meets only during preliminary work, the committee’s Chair serves as Chair of the overall process for a full year. In several towns, members of the Outreach Group reorganized into a more permanent steering committee.

II. Town Meeting on the Creative Economy (Forum 1)

What does the “Creative Economy” mean? The initial forums open with comments from Vermont leaders as well as local leaders visiting from other Vermont communities. A Vermont Council on Rural Development facilitator then moves the discussion to what the creative economy means in the participating community, what’s happening today, what challenges exist, and what projects might advance that creative economy activity.

III. Project Priorities (Forum 2)

CCP prepares notes on the Town Meeting and organizes the project ideas that were presented into a comprehensive list of possible projects. Second forum participants review, revise, and add to the list, then select 3-4 projects for initial focus. Selection is done by a combination of discussion, championing and voting. The goal is establish which projects have momentum within the group so that a strong local Project Team will form to move them from ideas into action.

IV. Project Development Meeting (Forum 3)

CCP invites a Resource Team to help project committees build a basic work plan and identify potential resources. The local Project Team leads this discussion, setting a basis for their ongoing work. The Resource Team helps keep the discussion on track, answer questions and, later, sends in recommendations for the Project Team.

V. Final Report and Action Plan

CCP prepares a final report for the community. This final report is complete approximately 6 months following the start of CCP work in the community and 4-6 weeks following the final public forum. These reports both record the process for the community’s reference and also for sharing with potential partners.