Athens County Together (ACT)
Previously the Athens Community Improvement Challenge
Notice: We are still accepting requests for the 2021 Athens County Together Program.
Athens County Community Improvement Challenge 2019 report
What is Athens County Together?
This is a yearlong annual program, which pairs teams of diverse community-based volunteers with Athens County staff and area stakeholders to assist citizens and communities with improvement efforts. This program aims to increase collaboration within communities county-wide and provide an open line of communication to discuss resources to address community needs.
Teams will register with the Athens County Planning Department by completing registration forms below.
Teams will receive a digital and hard copy of a practical planning guide. Completion of the practical guide will walk individuals and teams through the project planning process. A completed practical guide for the team will serve as a funding request.
Each Community Team will receive $1,000 from the Athens County Commissioners for implementation of a community improvement project upon submission of a community improvement 2021 Funding Request Form. Are there things in your community you would like to see improved? This program is an opportunity to use your social power to work to implement positive change.
Which communities can participate?
Athens County’s incorporated villages, census designated areas, and unincorporated communities are all encouraged to participate.
Athens County Together 2021 Program Overview:
*Due to COVID-19 please read through the attached "ACT 2020 COVID-19 Update" document for program adjustment information*
ACT 2021 COVID-19 Update
- Assemble a team:
In order to participate each community will assemble a steering team of at least 6 community members. A leader or 2 should be identified for each group this leader will serve as the primary point of contact with county staff and the community team.
Each community’s steering team of at least 6 community members must include each of the following:
- an elected official(Mayor, Council Member, Township Trustee)
- a young adult(ages 11 to 19)
- an employed professional
- a retired person or senior citizen
- a person representing a local civic organization, if there are multiple active civic organizations in your community please invite all to participate. Our 2017 experience revealed multiple groups working on similar efforts in the same community rarely collaborate, but there is ample opportunity for collaboration to increase the impact of volunteer efforts.
- a person affiliated with a school(employee, teacher, PTO Member, etc.)
Once the team has identified members, it will complete and submit the Athens County Together Registration Form to the Athens County Planning Department.
- Your Team’s Participation:
*Due to COVID-19 we realize the Athens County Together team-based work will be different than in years past and may present challenges. Please review the program adjustments*
Participation in ACT is serving on a diverse community-based team to work to develop and implement community improvement projects. Throughout the Community Improvement Challenge (2017-2019), teams met monthly in person to develop plans for improvement project implementation.
*The 2021 ACT Program requires participants to follow all applicable safety guidelines including social distancing and wearing of masks. Meetings must comply with all State of Ohio health directives.*
2021 ACT Funding Request Form
Each team will determine its meeting schedule, content, and workflow.
Practical Guides can be worked on individually, collectively as a team, or both. Each team will decide what works best. The practical guide has exercises to complete. A completed practical guide will outline project(s) from ideation to implementation plan development. The Team will submit one fully completed Team Guide as a funding request to the Athens County Planning Department.
Example models of team participation:
- The team completes registration with the Athens County Planning Department. Each team member is provided a hard and electronic copy of the Practical Guide. Each team member completes Lesson 1 (Building your Team) and Lesson 2 (Community Knowledge) prior to the team’s first meeting. Team members bring their guides (Lessons 1 & 2 complete) to the team meeting and collectively create the Team’s Guide, based on the information exchanged with team members. The team then agrees to complete lesson 3 individually and use a meeting to discuss and record information in the Team’s Guide at next month’s meeting.
- Team completes registration with Athens County Planning Department. Each team member is provided a hard and electronic copy of the Practical Guide. The Team agrees to meet the second Tuesday of each month and work through the Practical Guide as a group. The Team watches videos, takes the quiz, and completes Lesson 1 of the Team’s Master Guide as a group.
- Quarterly All Team Meetings: Meetings will rotate among participating communities (willing to host) or be held at the Athens County Extension Office. Please let us know if you are willing to host a meeting.
Attendance of All Team Meetings is important as this is the opportunity to interact with other teams and county staff, learn, and plan for the fourth quarter meeting.
ACT 2021 features Quarterly All Team Meetings:
*All Quarterly meetings are currently postponed due to COVID-19*
- Implementation: The team will choose at least one project to address a need or make an improvement and use their $1,000 of program participation funding for project implementation. Should additional funding be available teams will be notified ASAP.
- Funding Request: The team will submit a completed Team Practical Guide which is a project(s) plan for implementation. Projects must have the support of key stakeholders involved. Additionally, complete the 2021 ACT Funding Request Form to receive approval of your community’s improvement project. Payment will be sent to the entity identified by the team, which could be a unit of local government or a partnering nonprofit.
- Reporting: The team must submit receipts or canceled checks or other appropriate documentation to evidence funds were expended as planned. Without appropriate documentation, funds must be returned. We are also happy to share photos and success stories on the Athens County Together website.
- Important Dates:
Team Registration Deadline (County Planning Department): July 15, 2021 EXTENDED
2021 All Team Quarterly Meetings: POSTPONED
Funding Request Deadline - 2021 ACT Funding Request Form : October 16, 2021
Send completed Funding Request Form to firstname.lastname@example.org OR mail it to 1 South Court St. Rm 122, Athens OH 45701
Records of funding expensed must be submitted by November 30, 2021