As a response to resident concerns that information around the 2018 Election was difficult to find, CivicLex created an Election Hub to provide a one-stop shop for information about the candidates running for local office in Lexington.
CivicLex built the website from the ground up -including pages for each race and candidate and a regularly updated calendar to highlight important deadlines and public forum dates. Individual pages included photos and campaign information about the candidates, their finance records, links to voter guides, and relevant journalism.
In order to better inform the Hub, CivicLex also conducted a survey of both candidates and Lexington residents to determine what their priorities were. This represented the first public poll that CivicLex placed into the field.
COUNCIL AT-LARGE ICE CREAM SOCIAL
CivicLex partnered with Fayette Alliance, KFTC, the Lyric Theater, Sorella’s Gelateria, Chocolate Holler, and Cup of Commonwealth to host an Ice-cream Social and At-Large Council Candidate Forum. We took inspiration from On the Table and created this event to facilitate small group conversations between the council candidates and attendees from throughout Lexington.
We assigned each candidate to one of five tables. We then assigned 2-3 sectors, out of the 12 within which CivicLex works, to facilitators with expertise in those fields who would float from candidate to candidate. Attendees could then stay with one candidate to hear their views on every sector, follow a facilitator to hear every candidate’s views on specific sectors, or a mix of sectors and candidates of their choosing.
We had five out of the six Council At-Large candidates and about 80 Lexington residents participate. A member from KFTC was present to register voters, a representative from Fayette Alliance passed out the organization’s candidate surveys and was our emcee for the night, and the ice cream and coffee shops provided refreshments.
Each year, the Mayor proposes an Annual Budget for Lexington-Fayette Urban County Government. Despite this document being one of the most important in the city, there was relatively little engagement with it from residents. CivicLex decided to address this by creating a “Sectoral Budget Guide” and hosting a series of workshops on the City Budget.
CivicLex went line-by-line through the City Budget, a 737-page document, and broke out each expenditure into one of CivicLex’s 12 sectors. These sector expenses were then grouped together and analyzed to determine what portion of the city’s budget they were. This was then compiled into a main document called the CivicLex Sectoral Budget Guide.
CivicLex then held 5 in-person workshops at the Plantory, where participants learned what the budget does, how to read it, where the city’s money comes from, and where it goes.
These events were designed to help groups re-design the budget to better match their values. At each Budget Workshop, CivicLex staff split attendees into groups of 3-7 and had them reorganize sections of the budget to better match how they thought city revenues should be appropriated. Participants then had to justify to the rest of the workshop group why they made their changes, and how they would pay for them. Citizens left empowered with new-found knowledge, and encouraged to get involved with future participatory budgeting projects.
BARRIERS TO BELONGING
For Leadership Lexington’s Annual Emerge Summit, CivicLex partnered with the New Leaders Council to present a data walk for participants about issues impacting People of Color in Lexington.
The data walk was preceded by a series of engagement sessions about “Barriers to Belonging” for young professionals of color in Lexington. CivicLex’s contribution was exploring data from a variety of sources to provide a quantifiable set of statistics about inequities for People of Color in our community.
You can access our Toolkits for the Barriers to Belonging conversations here.
ON THE TABLE
CivicLex was an engagement partner on the Blue Grass Community Foundation’s On the Table process in 2018. We partnered with the Plantory to host 12 tables about 12 different Community Development sectors, each with their own expert facilitator.
Conversations were hosted using specific Toolkit additions to Blue Grass Community Foundation’s already existing On The Table Toolkit. The results from these sessions were coded, categorized, and were used to construct CivicLex’s first city-wide poll.
You can access the CivicLex Toolkit Expansions here.
CIVICLEX LAUNCH EVENT
CivicLex launched its prototype platform in September of 2017 at an event in the Loudoun House. We took the entire space over, turning it into a visual representation of the information on our platform, which focused (initially) on Affordable Housing.
As part of our mission of bringing governmental officials and citizens into closer relationship, we brought in Rick McQuady, Director of the Office of Affordable Housing to talk one-on-one with Lexington Residents about Lexington’s Affordable Housing challenges.
The event featured:
A process chart for applying for funds from the Affordable Housing Fund
Visual representations of Area Median Incomes, Poverty Rates, and Housing Costs
An interactive timeline of Lexington’s Affordable Housing Fund history
A reading room featuring literature and studies about Affordable Housing in Lexington
A group conversation with Rick McQuady