Floreciente, one of Moline's historic downtown neighborhoods, is full of vibrant people and promising businesses. As a riverfront though underdeveloped neighborhood, it is key to the City of Moline's 2014 Comprehensive Plan, and it has attracted a rand of nonprofit organizations eager to engage with neighbors, businesses and the city in recent revitalization efforts. Because of economic and cultural barriers, the area has at times been isolated from the rest of the Quad Cities area. Local organizations have faced difficulties vying for neighbors' limited free time to help improve the area, collaborating with like-minded groups, conducting bilingual outreach, and maximizing limited resources. As a result, funding for projects may not be maximizing results.
In an effort to help organizations serve the neighborhood more efficiently, Flourishing Communities in 2015 began convening non-profit, government and business
representatives to discuss the issues facing Floreciente and to identify better ways to collaborate on upcoming projects. Thus far more than 30 organizations met regularly to discuss important topics facing the neighborhood including health care, education, housing, and immigration. In addition, the partners joined together to engage the neighborhood on identifying priority needs, collaborate on community projects, and promote various events. In connecting resources, fostering clear communications channels, and funding projects that directly link organizations to neighbors, Flourishing Communities serves as the nucleus in a network which provides a dedicated space for organizations to collaborate and create a true sense of community.
In October, just one year after the partnership formed, the faculty advisor for Social Entreprenurship Salon Series at Western Illinois University- Quad Cities (WIU-QC) asked Flourishing Communities to lead a presentation on "Sustainable Partnerships in Floreciente" as part of a series of events designed to introduce students to different approaches to business and economic development. This event focused on the "societal entrepreneurship" approach to social entrepreneurship, which emphasizes collaboration of public, private, and non-profit volunteer actors in community and economic development . Flourishing Communities worked with WIU-QC and the City of Moline to frame the discussion and identify participants for the panel. Together they helped plan content and engaged representatives from the following organizations to serve panelists: recruited representatives from the following partner organizations to participate:
- Flourishing Communities
- City of Moline
- Habitat for Humanity
- Heritage Church/ Esperanza Center
- Ascentra Credit Union
- Mercado on Fifth and
- WIU's Peace Corps Fellows/Americorps Program
As the panel's featured organization, Flourishing Communities provided insight on community development as a community-led, multi-dimensional activity that focuses on partnerships to facilitate positive change. Flourishing Communities drew on its experience in strengthening the limited assets of partnering organizations by fostering collaboration in Floreciente. It emphasized that the organizations can work together toward common goals, thus advancing their shared and individual objectives.
As organizations outline their various missions during the panel, two common themes arose and reinforced the objectives of the Flourishing Communities program. First, partners focus on the betterment of Floreciente with Floreciente, by engaging them as full partners. Second, the presentations echoed the emphasis on the long-lasting positive change that organizations can facilitate when working together. Panelists provided examples of joint projects including community clean-ups, health fairs, soccer tournaments, community murals, bus shelters, food banks, family-friendly entertainment, public health checkups, individual finance education, home repair workshops, and assistance to immigrants. The discussion left participants with a fresh perspective on entrepreneurship, and of the wide-range of possibilities available to change agents when they work together .
Flourishing Communities will continue to convene monthly partner meetings with organizations working in Floreciente and continue to facilitate information sharing, cross-promotion of events, and collaboration on projects. Only through the sustained focus on partnerships organizations harness the rich of history of Floreciente and promote community-led development of this unique neighborhood in the years ahead.
 Karin Berglund and Bengt Johannisson, Societal Entrepreneurship: Positioning, Penetrating, Promoting, 2012.
 The full Salon can be viewed on Global Communities' YouTube channel at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KqU9YcETUGo
Funded by the John Deere Foundation through May 2018, the Flourishing Communities program is working in Floreciente to create long-lasting, community-led change by organizing and educating residents and business owners to participate in community and economic development decisions affecting their neighborhood. For more information on out programs in Moline, Illinois contact firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.globalfloreciente.org.