OC Electeds Gather at Angel Stadium to Talk Vision

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Virtually every elected official across Orange County has been summoned to Angel Stadium Friday to think big.

During an all-day conference on the future of Orange County — largely the creation of County Supervisor Todd Spitzer and Orange County United Way CEO Max Gardner — leaders are expected to discuss how they can better coordinate their efforts to address residents’ needs.

The Visionary Leaders Conference, as it’s known, centers on a series of 10-year goals laid out by the local United Way:

  • Cutting the high school dropout rate in half.
  • Reducing poverty in Orange County and cutting the percentage of financially unstable families by 25 percent.
  • Increasing the number of healthy youth by one-third, with a focus on reducing childhood obesity.
  • Cutting the percentage of homeless and housing-insecure children in Orange County by half.

Headlining the event is Mark Kramer, a philanthropy consultant who has argued for much stronger coordination between nonprofits, government, civil and business leaders — what he calls “collective impact.”

Kramer outlined his vision in an article for the Stanford Social Innovation Review.

Collective impact, he wrote, “will enable us to solve today’s most serious social problems with the resources we already have at our disposal.”

(Click here to read Kramer’s article.)

Roughly 50 elected officials are expected to attend today’s event, ranging from school board members to city council members to county supervisors.

Anaheim Mayor Tom Tait is set to deliver the lunch speech, talking about his leadership after downtown riots two summers ago.

Tait will also discuss “the connection between educational opportunities, housing — or lack thereof — and what that does to communities,” Spitzer said at this week’s county supervisors meeting.

“I think it’s going to be just a very interesting time,” he added.

In an interview, Gardner said the summit grew from his organization’s strategic planning process as well as a conversation he had with Spitzer.

“We got to talking after that and decided that bringing” elected officials together would be helpful, Gardner recalled.

The concept fits well with United Way’s mission, Gardner added. “We’re all about moving the needle and making sure people can take care of themselves,” he said.

Gardner said he hopes it’s a the start of an ongoing conversation. “Whether a full plan comes out of it depends on the reaction,” he said.

The event runs from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. at Angel Stadium.

Please contact Nick Gerda directly at ngerda@gmail.com and follow him on Twitter: @nicholasgerda.

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