WHY CIVIC ADVANCE MATTERS FOR FLORIDA
Why Civic Advance Matters for Florida Businesses and Entrepreneurs
The Florida Chamber of Commerce lists civic engagement amongst the six pillars it deems instrumental in upholding our state’s economic growth for years to come. Civic engagement and socially responsible corporate practices are moving to the mainstream for businesses across the country and in Florida. Naturally, businesses have a symbiotic relationship with the communities they serve. They can mobilize people and organizations, giving their time, talent, and resources to meet critical community needs for the common good. Corporate culture and corporate value statements can foster volunteerism and community engagement among their employees. Whether by participating in or sponsoring community programs, companies that encourage community involvement can stand out from their corporate peers. Community involvement is an excellent way for any business to build relationships and increase brand awareness and visibility. The Florida Civic Advance supports the essential role businesses play in the civic life in Florida’s communities.
Why Civic Advance Matters for Local Governments
Inclusive citizen engagement in local government enables all aspects of a community to work together to effectively address public needs so all community members benefit. Civic participation is essential because it allows citizens to influence policy, local values, and local government priorities. This, in turn, leads to a higher level of trust, stronger, more resilient communities, and creates agency among residents who are often overlooked and underheard.
Florida’s local governments rely upon active community volunteers for their boards and committees as well for those who stand for election to councils and commissions. Whether native or not, many Floridians don’t know how, or where to effectively engage for the betterment of their neighborhood, community, region, or state. The Florida Civic Advance (FCA) seeks to be a resource for instilling stronger civic participation among all Floridians so that the state benefits from thriving, vital cities, towns, villages, counties, school districts, and more. Together with its partners, FCA hopes to unite Floridians to advance civic health in all our communities.
Why Civic Advance Matters for Florida’s Nonprofits
Florida’s nonprofit organizations provide a way for people to work together in communities for the common good, transforming shared beliefs and hopes into civic action. Florida’s nonprofits number over 95,000, generate nearly $105 billion in annual revenues, and enhance the civic health of our communities. Every person in Florida benefits from the civic work of nonprofits in one way or another. Nonprofits feed, heal, shelter, educate, inspire, enlighten, and nurture people of every age, gender, race, and socioeconomic status. Florida nonprofits play a fundamental role in civic advance and civic health by creating more equitable and thriving communities. Since 2007 the number of nonprofits has more than doubled in Florida, and the number of nonprofit employees has increased by two-thirds making up about 6.5 percent of the workforce, the largest sector after construction and manufacturing. Today the top states have about 7 nonprofits for every 1,000 residents. Florida has 4.5 nonprofits for every 1,000 residents, which is 47th in the nation. The Florida Civic Advance is committed to increasing the quality, quantity and capacity of Florida’s nonprofits to enhance and advance the civic health of our communities.
Why Civic Advance Matters for Florida’s Philanthropic Organizations
This is an urgent time for Florida’s communities to strengthen civic participation. Philanthropy is often defined as the giving of time, talent, and treasure for the common good. Civic engagement encompasses a broad range of activities from donating to charity to running for political office, and includes the work of long-standing membership nonprofits, faith-based efforts, as well as new, technology-supported initiatives. The Florida Philanthropic Network members play a positive role in maximizing individual and collective impact in creating vibrant civic spaces and civic engagement for solving the most critical problems in our communities, and supporting under-addressed and/or under-resourced areas.
Why Civic Advance Matters for Schools, Colleges, and Universities
American constitutional democracy has always depended on citizens who understand its premise and promise, who seek out diverse perspectives and ideas, respect each other’s differences, and believe in the common good. As one of the few social institutions present in virtually every community across Florida, schools, colleges and universities can and should play an important role in catalyzing increased civic engagement by helping young people develop and practice the knowledge, beliefs, and behaviors needed to participate in civic life across the community. Civic scholarship conducted by higher education centers along with students have provided practical knowledge about strategies to enhance civic life. Florida Civic Advance supports the role played by schools, colleges, and universities in working with the next generation to enhance civic life in Florida’s communities.
Why Civic Advance Matters for Residents and Neighborhood
After hurricane Ian, thousands of people from around the region, state and country reached out to help restore damaged communities. This act of positively impacting others for the common good is but one example of civic advance at the neighborhood and personal scale. When neighbors reach out to help each other, or volunteer their times, skills, and enthusiasm, there is a recognition that there is a larger community context, beyond the individual or family. When there is civic engagement, residents generate solutions and positive outcomes by themselves and increases community wellbeing. This commitment to civic engagement shows the power of regular, meaningful interaction with friends, neighbors, and other social groups and this is reflected in higher employment rates, stronger schools, better physical health, more responsive government connections. The Florida Civic Advance supports individual and neighborhood civic efforts that includes participation through voting and voter registration, as well as volunteering, participating in community service projects, and advocating for policy to solve problems that enhance the civic health of communities.