Tom Spencer, Becky Nickel, Susan Mayo, Lynn Berns and Ron Traxxon. The Peabody Sustainable Development Team in front of a rehab house in Peabody.
The Peabody Community Foundation (PCF) is exploring community improvement, especially as it relates to housing. The foundation will host a public meeting facilitated by Jennifer Pacic of WSU’s Community Engagement Institute at 5:30 p.m. on Monday, July 11 at the Peabody Senior Center to receive community input.
This meeting grows out of PCF board discussions and PCF’s participation in an experiment to apply the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) in the rural Kansas context. PCF is one of five community foundations in the state to participate in this project to examine PCFs work and grant-making through the lens of the SDGs.
The Peabody SDG project is being led by five local influencers, selected for their community involvement and leadership: Tom Spencer, Peabody Mayor; Ron Traxson, PCF board member; Becky Nickel, PCF Director; and community leaders, Lynn Berns and Susan Mayo. They are making housing their primary focus and anticipate procuring funds for research and the implementation of housing projects.
“Our SDG Team is energized about the potential of working within the SDG framework to address our community’s needs. There are 17 SDG goals and we’ve narrowed our focus to Goal 11, Sustainable Cities and Communities,” said Nickel. “Each goal has several targets under it. The first target under Goal 11 is adequate, safe and affordable housing which is a real need in Peabody.”
At its April planning session, the PCF Board of Directors named community improvement as a goal for the foundation, which aligns with the SDG goal for Sustainable Cities and Communities. The board anticipates close collaboration with the SDG Team and the Peabody City Council toward this goal. The board and SDG Team made a presentation at the June 27 Council meeting.
Spencer said the City Council is beginning to recognize that improved housing in Peabody is an urgent need.
“There are Peabody grads who would move here if there were good houses to purchase. We are so fortunate to have a business community that supports the basic needs of our residents, and we are within an easy commute to bigger communities for jobs which makes Peabody an attractive option,” he said.
The SDG project is supported by the C. S. Mott Foundation and implemented by the Kansas Association of Community Foundations in partnership with the WSU Community Engagement Institute. PCF, an affiliate of Central Kansas Community Foundation, is a member of the Kansas Association.
In addition to working locally, the five Kansas SDG teams are learning about efforts around the world where the SDG goals are being applied to issues like poverty, education, and hunger. PCF, like many community foundations, is already working to reduce poverty and promote healthy lifestyles by granting funds to local charities with programming in these areas. The SDGs provide a blueprint for asset development, community engagement, and investment strategies.
The two-year Kansas SDG project began in September 2021. Learnings from the Kansas experiment will be shared with community foundations across the nation, as well as abroad, to inform and encourage more community foundations to incorporate SDGs into their work, regardless of their size or location. The other Kansas foundations participating in the project are Rice County Community Foundation, Legacy-A Regional Community Foundation, Western Kansas Community Foundation, and Bird City Century II Community Foundation.