More than 300 community members attend first-ever, well-being event

Imagine Fox Cities, an inclusive community-wide initiative, created to be more intentional about shaping the future of the Fox Cities when it comes to well-being, hosted its first, annual conference in Kimberly at Liberty Hall.

The day-long summit included the public release of key themes that came directly from community members’ input through surveys and community conversations. Nearly 3,000 community members completed surveys with 81 facilitated community conversations held throughout the Fox Cities.

Imagine Fox Cities was created in 2018 in an effort to shape a living vision that guides actions and decisions to advance the well-being of all who call the Fox Cities home today and for generations to come. The Imagine Fox Cities coordinating committee is comprised of a diverse group of 32 members. Well-being reflects how people think, feel, and function—at a personal and a social level—as well as how they evaluate their lives overall.

The following key themes emerged from community members through the surveys and conversations:

  • We have a strong sense of community but not all are feeling it: A common sentiment was the desire to live in a community where people feel as if they belong and are supported.
  • We prize our cultural and natural assets: While we have an abundance of cultural and natural physical assets, we need to ensure these cultural venues and outdoor opportunities meet the needs of an increasingly diverse community.
  • We are looking for ways to ensure meaningful employment and livable wages: Community members see the current employment environment as an asset but acknowledge that it is important to continuously provide diverse employment opportunities and strengthen wages.
  • Education is a critical bridge to our shared future: Our many educational institutions are some of our community’s greatest strengths.
  • Mental health is on everyone’s mind: We have a concern about mental health across the nation and our region. There is worry about stigma, but we realize varying levels of mental health, just like physical health, are part of being human and we can be proactive about boosting mental well-being.
  • The future will require new ways of thinking, learning and working together: Many consider the Fox Cities to be collaborative but new challenges and opportunities will demand even deeper forms of collaboration.

The day-long summit also featured renowned experts in well-being:

  • Somava Saha, MD, MS: WIN Network
  • Bobby Milstein, PhD, MPH: ReThink Health
  • Monte Roulier: Community Initiatives
  • Stacy Wegley: Community Initiatives

The summit concluded with the release of a draft version of a living vision of our well-being and commitment to this aspiration:

The overall aim of Imagine Fox Cities is to advance the well-being of our place and the well-being of our people. To create the conditions for everyone who calls this place home the opportunity to reach their full potential. We dare to imagine, and endeavor to realize, a shared future that leads to greater flourishing—for this generation and the next.

We commit: To sustain what makes this place special, to foster innovation, to be inclusive, to measure what matters, to build on and align efforts, to offer gracious space and to act with the next generations in mind.

“This is an exciting step forward for the Fox Cities. What we learned from community members is the foundation of what we all value and provides a way to move forward with a focus on well-being, now and for future generations,” Beth Flaherty, Imagine Fox Cities co-chair, said.

“Not many communities take the time or put in the effort to gather input to develop a driving visioning statement to agree on,” Mike Weller, Imagine Fox Cities co-chair, said. “But the Fox Cities is doing just that.”

“This is the community’s project. We all get out of it what we put into it. We look forward to reflecting on what we heard during the Summit, continuing to communicate with participants and others in the community and developing a strategy going forward to bring the Vision to life,” Walt Rugland, community member, said.

Community members are encouraged to visit for future updates and learn about opportunities to get involved.

Funding Imagine Fox Cities with an eye on the future has been provided with major contributions by: Bank of Kaukauna, Boldt, Community First Credit Union, Community Foundation for the Fox Valley Region’s Bright Idea Fund and David L. and Rita E. Nelson Family Fund, Galloway, SECURA, ThedaCare, and Thrivent.  Additional support came from Kimberly-Clark, Miller Electric, NAI Pfefferle, and United Way.