Community Foundation On The Table Program Finds Local Residents United And Optimistic

As part of the On The Table initiative, a recent Community Foundation for Palm Beach and Martin Counties survey found that housing, economic development and poverty are three of the most pressing issues that need to be addressed.

The survey, known as the Community Impact Report, further revealed that residents remain hopeful, with three out of four residents believing nonprofits and community organizations are the strongest agents of change and 91 percent planning to take specific actions regarding something they discussed during their conversation.

West Palm Beach is one of 10 cities supported by the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation that replicated On The Table in 2018.

During On the Table, thousands of residents met over a meal to discuss the issues and challenges they face. They were asked to complete a survey that probed into a number of topics, ranging from housing and socio-economic issues, to healthcare, education, homelessness and job security. More than 900 residents completed the surveys, which revealed these key findings:

• To improve economic conditions, residents identified job training, skills development opportunities, number of good-paying jobs and increased wages as the most important priorities to help drive change.

• To improve health and social conditions, survey respondents called for access to quality affordable housing, access to core services for all and services to address homelessness.

• The three most important priorities to improve youth development and education were identified as job/vocational training for youth, quality schools with quality teachers, and affordable, quality child care and preschool.

A total of 65 percent agree that their community provides opportunities for everyone, while 67 percent of residents remain hopeful and optimistic about the future and 64 percent felt their community was more united than divided. After reviewing the survey data, the Community Foundation will share the results with various government officials, community leaders and nonprofits to determine how to best advance some of the ideas and solutions generated during On The Table.

On the Table, a national initiative funded by the Knight Foundation, was coordinated locally by the Community Foundation. It united more than 4,000 people of all ages and diverse backgrounds over mealtime conversations on Oct. 24, 2018 to discuss issues that impact their community.

At the conclusion of the discussions, participants were asked to take a brief survey. Responses were compiled and analyzed by national research firms Hart Research Associates and Public Opinion Strategies.

Learn more about the program at