Leveraging Community to Benefit Project
Community members wanted to ensure the development of a greenline (rails-to-trails) project extending into their community. Budget cuts and other priorities meant that the extension might never happen.
A greenline, already established along parts of a rail line, was meeting with great success in other parts of the city. Our client, a community organization, was told the extension of the greenline into their area could be a decade away or more. Caissa was charged with developing and managing a grassroots initiative to move up the time frame of the proposed extension.
The delay was a result of numerous other projects having a higher priority, as well as a lack of grant funding for projects of this nature. We were brought in approximately two months before the State was scheduled to review grant applications and set priorities for the coming years. While time was short, our client had already established deep roots into the community that we knew we could leverage to push for the greenline extension. So instead of waiting for next year's State appropriations announcement, Caissa chose to begin engaging the community immediately. We first developed key message points on the benefits of the expansion and identified and tapped into existing and proven supporters of the community. We also provided local media outlets with story ideas that received earned media for the effort, with articles in the local paper and weekly news coverage on various television and radio outlets. We began a grassroots campaign targeting both greenline administration officials and state legislators.
State legislative and administrative boards took notice of the community's initiative and not only agreed to a help fund the project, but also awarded the grant in the first year of our campaign.