Screen Shot 2019-04-24 at 9.46.52 AM.png

Thurston Thrives: Facilitating countywide cross-sector action

Being healthy is more than getting to the doctor or having healthy behaviors. It’s also about having the social and physical environment that research has shown to have the biggest impact on health: things like having an education, a living wage, clean water, and a safe and stable place to live. However, we often tend to undermine the importance these social and physical aspects have on our health. With one of the highest rates of adverse childhood experiences and property crimes in the state, Thurston County is looking for ways to improve community health by aligning forces to reduce the negative factors attributing to the county’s health. 

The Athena Group provided facilitation and technical assistance to Thurston County Board of Health’s Thurston Thrives collective impact initiative. This county-wide strategy is taking a system-wide approach to identifying the communities’ priority health outcomes and targets. Nine community action teams comprised of government, non-profit, business interests, and community members are developing a common agenda, aligned activities and shared measurements. We also facilitated the conversation and mechanisms for community funders to align their resources to support the strategic initiatives that result from this effort. The intent was to engage the entire community in making a collective impact on improved health in Thurston County. More than 100 organizations and at least 300 community leaders have participated in Thurston Thrives. Delivered 10 strategy maps, including a common agenda, aligned activities, and shared measures. Draft outline for a backbone structure to sustain the work.

Several funders have already either aligned their funding, or have pooled their money, to align with Thurston Thrives strategy maps. The Junior League, Northwest Venture Philanthropy, Thurston County Public Health and Social Services have individually aligned over $10 million in funds to support initiatives that align with Thurston Thrive goals. The United Way, Thurston County, Lacey, Olympia, and Tumwater have formed a funding collaborative – the Community investment Partnership – which will purchase over $600,000 of services that support Thurston Thrives goals.