From the Chairman

Dennis JohnsonDear Engaged Member of the Community,

In 2012, a group of community leaders came together to focus on improving the health, development and education of the children of Lucas County.  We represent a broad spectrum of organizations – social service agencies and programs, local and county government, education, churches, funders, business, parents and local leaders.

We came from many different types of organizations, but it was clear that we had a shared vision – a vision of a Toledo where children were born healthy, succeeded in school and graduated from high school able to work, attend college or otherwise contribute to society in a positive way. Many of us came from the business world, and we wanted to help.  But how?  Was our help wanted?  The response was a resounding yes!  This was our opportunity to work collectively to remove some of the real or perceived barriers between different sectors in the community and figure out what is working and what is not.

With our shared vision in mind, we created Aspire, which is modeled after similar groups operating successfully across the country. We are not a service provider, nor a funder.  Our objective is to serve as the convener, the umbrella, the mirror, the window, the coach, the mentor and the change agent for the scores of organizations working to help families in our community. We strive to create lasting change by making outcomes visible, driving accountability and facilitating continuous improvement through education, tools and training.

As the leader of an established and committed Toledo business, I know that I speak on behalf of other corporate leaders when I say it is both our responsibility and our opportunity to support the community’s shared vision. Companies employ large numbers of people in this community, and we want young adults who are healthy and well educated in our work force. We want parents who work for us to know that their children are getting proper care and a good education. We want to attract new employees to the area with the promise of strong schools. The collective impact of healthy children who are ready for school when it starts and who stay in school to obtain their high school degrees is significant.

As business leaders, we have tools and resources available to us that other organizations may not have. This includes continuous improvement methodologies, and tools that help drive accountability through measurement. We believe that by applying these types of resources to existing initiatives and plans, we can enhance visibility into the effectiveness of the programs, and ultimately drive change.

In this website we are sharing our challenges and our progress, explaining our processes and encouraging all of you to join us on our journey.

– Denny Johnson
President, Brooks Insurance, a Division of USI Insurance Services