The Foundation for people who are passionate about Miami: This is who The Miami Foundation has been for almost 50 years. Partnering with hundreds of philanthropists, individuals, organizations and agencies relentlessly pushing this city to the brink of excellence has been our privilege. We have helped fuel the philanthropic passions of our fundholders and ignited increased giving across our community. As our resources have grown, so has our role in Miami. We are now poised to expand our collaborations to address broader issues facing this community.
That is the spirit driving the 2014 Our Miami Report — a community-wide snapshot that provides a picture of our quality of life. In order to shape a better Miami-Dade County, we have to quantitatively understand this unique place. What are our strengths? What are our challenges? What are our opportunities? Sure, we know that commutes are long, our cultural arts scene is thriving and our school system is performing better than ever. But do we have a complete picture of what is happening in Miami? And do we understand how to mobilize around these facts to holistically shape a better city? That is where the 2014 report comes in.
We convened experts and advisers to look at Miami’s vital quality of life indicators. We aim to present this information in a way that neither depicts an overly rosy outlook that is blind to our challenges, nor a litany of those things we already know aren’t working well. The data in this report serve as an illustration of the issues. The key is to now take this information and ignite community action to capitalize on what’s going well and tackle what needs improvement. Complex issues like Miami’s affordability or urban mobility may appear insurmountable. But by breaking these issues down and putting the data in the hands of engaged residents who are motivated to take action, we can spark community solutions and hold leaders accountable.
The Our Miami Report seeks to create a launch pad that will accelerate these community solutions. There is already important work being done in all of these quality of life areas.
The progress can be seen around us: activated public parks, diversified transit solutions and burgeoning incubators for young talent. Our goal is to build on this momentum and bring people together toward a shared goal.
The Miami Foundation will undertake this leadership role. Our mission extends beyond philanthropy to advancing an agenda that molds a better Miami. By building on successful initiatives, like the newly minted Talent Development Network, which brought local colleges and business leaders together to yield 200 local internships, and our Public Space Challenge that created an explosion of energy around improving and activating public places, we will bring solutions-focused Miamians together to capitalize on our greatest assets and confront our most difficult challenges.
The Our Miami Report will now be our benchmark to track progress, a road map for community change initiatives, and ultimately, a vision for our future.
Javier Alberto Soto is president and CEO of The Miami Foundation.
This report originally appeared in a Miami Foundation supplement published by the Miami Herald.