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Collaboration — It's in Dayton's DNA

By Hunter Phillips Goodman, Jeff Hoagland, Michael M. Parks and Eric F. Spina

(This op-ed appeared in the Dayton Daily News on Sept. 10, 2019).

It’s no secret: Nothing in Dayton happens without collaboration.

We are convinced that “collaboration” is hardwired in Dayton’s DNA — and is the driving force behind why great ideas, like the innovative Dayton Performing Arts Alliance or the ambitious Dayton Arcade transformation, take flight.

It’s how civic leaders and volunteers can nimbly organize relief efforts after 15 tornadoes tore through our community on Memorial Day. It’s why the Dayton Development Coalition organizes an annual “Fly-In” to Washington, D.C., for civic leaders from 14 counties to interact with government officials and speak with one voice about the community’s vision and funding needs. It’s why within hours after the Oregon District shooting, the community demonstrated their heartfelt compassion for the victims and their families with an outpouring of donations to the Dayton Oregon District Tragedy Fund of The Dayton Foundation.

It’s apropos, then, that near the corner of Creative Way and Discovery Drive, just a stone’s throw from the promising onMain development, we’re creating a front porch for community collaboration.

Welcome to 1401 South Main, the newly built home for The Dayton Foundation, the Dayton Development Coalition, and the University of Dayton’s Fitz Center for Leadership in Community.

The sharp, two-story brick and glass academic and office facility features collaborative space, classrooms, meeting rooms and plentiful parking. The community convenings, board meetings, student gatherings, and business meetings that occur here will include people from across the Dayton region. We envision this as a place for creative collisions that spark new ideas, drive innovation and, above all else, create partnerships that move the Dayton region forward.

Located near Emerson's Helix Innovation Center and GE Aviation’s EPISCenter, 1401 South Main is believed to be a national model for ways partners — from companies to other nonprofits — can collaborate with a community's charitable foundation, economic development association and a university’s civic engagement center to promote the common good.

NCR’s manufacturing facilities once dotted this land, which lay dormant for decades until the University of Dayton, with the support of community, state and federal leaders, purchased the property and sought Clean Ohio funds to revitalize it. Across the street at the former Montgomery County Fairgrounds, UD and Premier Health are tapping into the ideas of Daytonians from all walks of life to create a vision for a walkable urban neighborhood dubbed onMain, Dayton’s Imagination District.

Each of our organizations is proud to be part of this renaissance in greater downtown Dayton that’s emblematic of the power of creative collaboration. It’s the power of bringing educators and entrepreneurs, visionaries and doers together to dream big and take bold steps to build a thriving community — together.

It’s the power of collaboration.

— Hunter Phillips Goodman is executive director of the Fitz Center for Leadership in Community. Jeff Hoagland is president and CEO of the Dayton Development Coalition. Michael M. Parks is president of The Dayton Foundation. Eric F. Spina is president of the University of Dayton.

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