The Community Foundation for Palm Beach and Martin Counties invites residents throughout the region to share a meal and discuss meaningful ideas to strengthen the community during On the Table, the localized version of a national initiative funded by the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation.
Taking place for the first time locally on Oct. 24, On the Table is a civic engagement initiative designed to unite people of all ages and diverse backgrounds over mealtime conversation to discuss issues that impact their community. The Community Foundation anticipates thousands of people will participate throughout the day, with even more participants connected through social media using #OnTheTableFL.
“On the Table reinforces our commitment to building a more vibrant community by going straight to the source — the people we serve — to understand the issues that matter to them most so we can continue to invest in organizations that impact the community,” said Bradley Hurlburt, president and CEO of the Community Foundation for Palm Beach and Martin Counties. “We’re grateful for the opportunity to bring this initiative to our area, and we know that great ideas will come together and inspire even greater grassroots action.”
The issues and ideas discussed during each On the Table conversation will be organic and driven by the perspectives of the participants. Each table discussion will be led by a host organizer — individuals within the community who have volunteered to bring together the table of participants and lead the conversation with broad, open-ended questions to engage the group. The Community Foundation anticipates strong participation among host volunteers and will offer a number of information sessions throughout the region leading up to Oct. 24.
“The most rewarding aspect of On the Table is that it serves as a reminder to every resident in this community that their voice matters, and what they have to say will collectively inspire greater impact,” said Daryl Houston, community investment officer of the Community Foundation for Palm Beach and Martin Counties. “Taking part in this initiative is simple, as these conversations can take place during breakfast, lunch, dinner or even during a coffee break or cocktail hour. We look forward to hearing from the diverse voices of this community that take time to share their perspective.”
At the conclusion of the meal, participants will be asked to complete a brief survey via their mobile phones, e-mail or in handwritten form. The surveys will be compiled by national research firms Hart Research and Public Opinion Strategies to analyze the issues and ideas for community improvement that resulted from the day’s discussions. The Community Foundation will publicly share these outcomes, including trends, common themes and new collaborations developed, in order to help Palm Beach and Martin counties determine how best to advance some of the ideas and solutions generated.
The Community Foundation is one of 10 foundations across the U.S. participating in On the Table, a national initiative funded by the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation following a successful pilot in 2017. On the Table replicates an annual civic engagement initiative of the same name developed by the Chicago Community Trust in 2014. Support for On the Table advances the Knight Foundation’s work to help cities attract and keep talented people, expand economic opportunity and create a culture of civic engagement. Other On the Table cities include Akron, Ohio; Charlotte, N.C.; Columbus, Ga.; Gary, Ind.; Lexington, Ky.; Macon, Ga.; Miami, Fla.; Philadelphia, Penn.; and San Jose, Calif.
For more information, or to sign up to participate as a host or a guest, Palm Beach and Martin county residents can visit www.onthetablefl.com.