Every couple of months, MKM shuts down our office to host a public event we affectionately call the "Fishbowl." It's an afternoon where we invite some of our closest and most interesting friends to share their work and discuss their ideas. With topics ranging from coal mines to shark tanks, the Fishbowl is intended to provide an intimate venue to talk, share, and explore a healthier form of placemaking. In 2017, we had four guests visit the Fishbowl, each providing a unique look at how they are working to improve community health.
CAREGIVING with Connie Benton Wolfe, CEO
Aging and In-Home Services of Northeast Indiana
Connie knows caregiving. As a nationally respected leader within the field of aging for over two decades, Connie has spent her entire career trying to understand how to improve the quality of life of older adults. Currently, her team is working to redefine the informal care market, a $460 billion industry that touches 3 out of every 4 Americans. During the discussion, Connie gave an honest appraisal of the state of aging in our country (especially within the Midwest), and outlined the shifting resources available to address these urgent community needs, and elaborated on how electronic medical records could shape future models of neighborhood development.
INCLUSIVITY with Susan Mendenhall, President
Arts United of Greater Fort Wayne
Susan thinks that creativity is the key to diversity. As a passionate advocate for the role cultural sectors can play as an economic catalyst, she is currently exploring how creativity can serve as a platform for strengthening community inclusivity. Over the last several years her team has worked to define a “a collaborative planning initiative that will continue the strategic development of the creative sector to ensure a vibrant, attractive and sustainable community.” During the conservation, Susan discussed the dangers of “bowling alone,” the power of social capital, and the impact an expanded arts campus will play in helping us define the community we are trying to become.
DISABILITY with Phil Stafford, Retired Director
Center on Aging & Community, Indiana University
Phil doesn’t think most people are disabled, but instead, that our communities are far too often disabling environments. A cultural anthropologist by training, Phil used his most recent book, Elderburbia: Aging with a Sense of Place in America, to summarize the need for developing age and ability-friendly communities. During the discussion, Phil shared his love for Wendel Berry, his annoyance with “Peter Pan” neighborhoods, and his current attempt to define a municipal zoning ordinance for a “Lifetime Community District.”
TURNING OUTWARD with David Nicole, President/CEO
United Way of Allen County
David has been thinking a lot about how to make ends meet. Almost 40 percent of Allen County residents live below the limits of financial stability. Over the last year, his team has facilitated over fifty listening sessions to understand the current state of our community. What they found was that “residents want to live in safe neighborhoods that foster a healthy lifestyle and a sense of belonging where they can feel connected to each other and the resources in their community.” During the conversation, David explained the importance of community dialogue, the value of being a good listener, and the need for effective local leadership.
Looking forward to another great round of discussions in 2018!