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CPI in the news Article March 17th, 2022

Four local governments make strides to rebuild trust with historically underserved communities

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Four local governments make strides to rebuild trust with historically underserved communities

The Centre for Public Impact releases report on the impact of Earned Legitimacy programming in Carlton County, Minnesota; Detroit, Michigan; Harris County, Texas; and Salt Lake City, Utah


March 10, 2022 - Washington D.C. - Today, the Centre for Public Impact released the Earned Legitimacy Learning Cohort: Impact Report. The report details the outcomes of the organization's 10-week program that brought together local governments and historically underserved communities with the aim of repairing relationships through acknowledging past wrongs and showing a commitment to confront present-day justice and civil rights issues. Inaugural cohort participants included Carlton County, Minnesota; Detroit, Michigan; Harris County, Texas; and Salt Lake City, Utah.


During the cohort participants engaged with 50+ community members to generate 250+ ideas, all while working to build long-term trust and engagement with residents. Each participating municipality chose to focus on a unique challenge in their community, collaborated with impacted residents, and presented policy suggestions at the end of the program. Focus areas and policy impacts include:


  • Carlton County, whose team focused on connecting with rural communities, recommended that all government employees receive Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) training and that the County allot $10,000 in funding to support locally-driven projects that incentivize residents to take a leading role in building stronger, more vibrant communities. Both proposals were approved by the County Board.

  • Detroit, Michigan, whose team focused on better serving the disability community, received buy-in from the Director of Human Resources for the city and the Chief of Staff for Detroit’s Mayor to mandate disability awareness training for all city employees and to move forward with cross-departmental meetings to finalize and pursue initiatives that will reduce accessibility barriers throughout the city.

  • Harris County, whose team focused on affordable housing for Black, Hispanic/Latinx, and low-income residents, presented to the Commissioners Court of Harris County on inclusive and accessible community engagement. The County is continuing to ideate and test various housing solutions and will meet again with the Commissioners Court in the coming months. 

  • Salt Lake City, whose team focused on advancing equity in public safety, met with Mayor Mendenhall who noted that residents “shared ideas that are already being implemented by our city government” and came up with “brilliant, novel ideas to solve challenges in policing, such as mental health de-escalation training for law enforcement.” Mayor Mendenhall is supportive of continued empowering of and collaboration with residents to build a more equitable tomorrow.


Key to the success of the inaugural Earned Legitimacy Learning Cohort was the mindset of learning imbued into the program. According to Jorge Fanjul, Legitimacy Program Director at the Centre for Public Impact, “The core of the Earned Legitimacy Learning Cohort was being open to listening, learning, and adapting. CPI’s Learning Liaisons helped cohort members focus on centering community perspectives, especially from communities that have been historically underrepresented, and worked to share power with those impacted by a specific challenge–leading to truly cocreating with residents in ways that make for real and transformative impact in people’s lives. The fact that all four participating counties reported that they were able to not only connect, but design policy solutions with communities who did not trust the government at the start of the program speaks volumes to the power of the Earned Legitimacy methodology.”


To learn more about the Earned Legitimacy Learning Cohort, you can read the full report online and join CPI’s upcoming event Building Trust in Local Government: An Earned Legitimacy Learning Webinar . 




About the Centre for Public Impact

At the Centre for Public Impact, we believe in the potential of government to bring about better outcomes for people. Yet, we have found that the systems, structures, and processes of government today are often not set up to respond to the complex challenges we face as a society. That’s why we have an emerging vision to reimagine government so that it works for everyone.


A global not-for-profit organisation founded by the Boston Consulting Group, we act as a learning partner for governments, public servants, and the diverse network of changemakers who are leading the charge to reimagine government. We work with them to hold space to collectively make sense of the complex challenges we face and drive meaningful change through learning and experimentation.

Learn more about Earned Legitimacy

Are you interested in reading more about the progress and developments of the Earned Legitimacy Learning Cohort?

Read the report

Written by:

Elysa Neumann Director, Communications & Storytelling, North America
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