After 7.5 years on Courthouse Square, the The Collaboratory, Dayton’s Civic Innovation Lab, is starting 2019 in it’s new home in the Talbott Tower concourse, located at West First and Ludlow. “Although a regional organization, The Collaboratory is committed to remaining in the urban core, and being part of the ongoing downtown revitalization,” says founder Peter Benkendorf. The Collaboratory moves ideas to action, providing infrastructure for people and organizations to collaboratively develop community initiatives that generate new economic, civic and creative opportunities and value. The result is a healthier, more thriving region.”
Even if you haven’t heard about The Collaboratory, you may have experienced some of their initiatives since they began in January of 2009:
Blue Sky Project- An artist-centered program committed to producing significant works of contemporary art
The 510 Project a collaboration with Loretta Puncer and Gallery 510
The Ten Living Cities Symposium, a response to the 2008 Forbes Ten Fastest Dying Cities list;
The TECH-ARTS Collaboration with the Air Force Research Lab and the Wright Brothers Institute; Dayton Ohio
You Are Here! an insurgent civic pride multidisciplinary arts installation
The Collaboration Accelerator, now a part of the Institute of Applied Creativity for Transformation at the University of Dayton
3rd on Third/3rd Sundays at Front Street outdoor market
The Arts Collaboratory, an alternative arts space at West Second and Ludlow
Dayton Sewing Collaborative, now an independent non-profit organization
Dayton Porchfest, a free neighborhood music festival in St. Anne’s Hill that highlights the depth and diversity of the Dayton music scene. The 3rd Annual Dayton Porchfest is Saturday, August 24.
We asked Peter to tells us what’s on the agenda for 2019 and he shared that it’s looking to be a very busy year. Here’s what’s in progress or coming online are:
Wellcare Miami Valley is looking to develop a regional approach to universal healthcare and wellness
X FACTOR is re-imagining ex-offender re-entry from the perspective of formerly incarcerated individuals while trying to change how the community sees ex-offenders;
Dayton Regional Solar, a collaboration with students from the University of Dayton’s Hanley Sustainability Institute, is building a movement for solar and renewable energy in the region;
Next Chapter Collaborative is being incubated at The Collaboratory. It helps individuals 55+ think about a final career change or develop a professional or volunteer engagement plan when looking to downshift from full-time work.
In the spring we will we relaunching a national philanthropic web site to support civic innovation around the country. Developed by a young Chicago-based entrepreneur who co-founded a start-up that was funded on Shark Tank in 2015, The Collaboratory is building a national leadership team, as we look to disrupt philanthropy and impact by engaging Millennials and GenZs.
We are also working with local developers involved in the Santa Clara to jump-start residential migration to this historic neighborhood in the heart of the North Main Street corridor. Lastly, we are convening a community conversation we are calling “Re-Imagining America, Starting in Dayton”. It is our response to the September Frontline/ProPublica documentary. Just like the Forbes Ten Fast Dying Cities list opened the door for the Ten Living Cities symposium, so too has the Frontline piece given us permission engage in a very different way around what the future of our region could look like.
How can people get involved?
There are two ways to engage with The Collaboratory:
1) get involved in one of our initiatives and
2) bring us an idea fro something you want to start to see how we can help you move your idea to action. Contact us at: [email protected] or 937.732.5123
Our final question to Peter was what else should we know?
No other city in the country has a space like The Collaboratory, part civic innovation lab, part community collaboration hub. What makes us particularly unique is our ability to work in and cross-pollinate from so many different parts of the community, from legacy poverty, food access and healthcare, to the arts, solar energy and neighborhood revitalization.
If you want to support the work of The Collaboratory with a tax-deductible donation, please visit our web site at www.daytoncollaboratory.org and click the DONATE button. Checks can be made out and sent to Involvement Advocacy (the legal entity—The Collaboratory is a d/b/a), P.O. Box 10506, Dayton, Ohio 45402.