Here's a brief timeline of some of the significant events in the history of the Colorado Civic Health Network. If you think of others, or have pictures or resources to share, add them to the source document at https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/12uchwEjBG4qJcQXxt4n0jW1thjFw9i8t9Y1JnWM02Co/edit#gid=0
Compared to the 50 states and the District of Columbia, Colorado ranked among the top when it came to political actions such as voter turnout (6th), always voting in local elections (16th) and contacting public officials (17th). Coloradans are also leaders in informal civic participation like holding membership in a group (9th) and talking about politics with friends or family (8th). However, when some indicators are considered across location of residence, income levels, ethnic/racial backgrounds, and level of educational attainment, varying levels of civic participation in the state becomes clear. For example, voter turnout is 22% higher for residents with a bachelor’s degree compared to those with a high school diploma, and only 3% of African Americans in Denver attended a public meeting compared to 11% of all Coloradans.
“This report reveals civic life isn’t shared equally among all Coloradans, especially those with lower income and education. However, Colorado has a sturdy foundation and the skills to ensure all Coloradans are fully included in the state’s civic life,” said Ilir Zherka, Executive Director of the National Conference on Citizenship. “With the effective leadership from Colorado civic organizations, the state can overcome its civic challenges and strengthen civic life.”
“This report is an important first step in building on our civic strengths and addressing our challenges, especially in developing civic participation among all Colorado residents,” said Mark Potter. “We will continue the work started today by disseminating these findings and activating partner organizations across the state to improve Colorado’s civic health. Maintaining strong civic health is vital to sustaining our state’s prosperity.”
The report data was obtained primarily from the 2012 U.S. Census Bureau Current Population Survey on Voting, Volunteering and Civic Engagement.
Volunteering in Colorado is strong at 33.1% (12th in the nation). However, educational attainment seems to be a big determinant of volunteer rates with a 25% increase in volunteer rates among those with a Bachelor’s degree compared to high school graduates.
Coloradans are in the front of the pack for informal civic participation such as working with neighbors to fix community problems (9th), buying or boycotting a product for social or political reasons (5th), and holding group membership in a civic or community organization (9th).
Colorado is at the top of the list in voter turnout at 70.4% (6th). However, rural Colorado residents are reported to register and vote 10 percentage points higher than their urban counterparts.
Higher levels of educational attainment and income lead to higher levels of almost every measure of civic health in Colorado.
The report also includes calls to action and resources for reshaping the state’s civic environment. Large-scale actions include increasing voter registration; creating electronic means for Coloradans to connect and discuss civic issues; and practicing inclusion when working together to address community issues.
The Colorado Latino Leadership, Advocacy and Research Organization (CLLARO), Denver Metro Chamber Leadership Foundation, The Civic Canopy, and National Conference on Citizenship (NCoC), and a number of organizations working in partnership with the Colorado Civic Health Network released new data on the civic life of Colorado Latinos. We know Colorado communities are stronger, more resilient, and healthier when residents are engaged as active volunteers, empowered voters, and community leaders. The issues we face as a state require the experience, passion, and perspective of all Coloradans – working together. The Latino Civic Health initiative has shed light on a critical civic equity gap in our state. The release of this data, however, is just the beginning. The Civic Health Network is collaborating with CLLARO and other partners to understand the barriers to engagement. Over the next year, we will gather feedback from community members and develop strategies to improve the civic life for all Coloradans.
In September 2015, NCoC released a national Latinos Civic Health Index. Colorado is one of only two states to use the data to better understand what it would take for Latinos to become full participants in our state’s civic life.
Here's a template of a tool to use for action teams that get set up as part of the network. Simple way to keep track of who is doing what by when. Copy it and save as a different name and upload the new link to the network site.
Powerpoint used at the March 14, 2017 meeting of the Civic Health Network. Provides an overview of deliberative democracy model, exercises for promoting dialogue, and screen shots of the Civic Network site.