The best thing about consulting is the amazing and diverse client projects that fill our calendars. SDK Communications + Consulting recently had the great opportunity to partner with McKnight Foundation's Mississippi River Program on a set of exciting efforts aimed at one common end: Building understanding and connection across grantees and sectors to accelerate Minnesota's path to clean water policy.
Our work began with a stakeholder evaluation report, The State of Minnesota's Water, released by McKnight Foundation in July 2018 and available online here.
One year later, we've made great progress on the initial strategies that grew from this stakeholder research. New connections have been made and others deepened. A values-based narrative of why water matters to Minnesotans has taken shape. And we've just completed the most intensive project of the effort: Clean Water Minnesota. This learning community brought together more than 50 leaders for three intensive, on-the-ground sessions aimed at building new relationships and shared understanding across sectors. Dozens more community members were engaged in the conversation to tell their personal stories about why clean water matters for Minnesota.
The report synthesizes feedback from attendees across the three tours and offers SDK conclusions and recommendations for how Minnesota's water advocacy ecosystem can work together and with aligned issues to advance its goals.
The big take-away: Taking time to build relationships across sectors and experience complex issues, like water, from an on-the-ground and people-centered perspective has the potential to spark new opportunities for clean water (and more!) in Minnesota.
I hope you'll give it a look!