What is Imagine Nashville?

A yearlong, community-led effort to help the city develop a bold, inclusive vision to carry Nashville forward.

What is the end goal of this campaign?

The goal of Imagine Nashville is to provide an actionable plan for the future that is truly community-driven. This plan will take into account the things we love about our city and want to protect and preserve while dreaming big about what could be in our future.

Why launch Imagine Nashville now?

Nashville is at a critical juncture. First, many Nashvillians would acknowledge there is a feeling that we don’t have a clear picture of where we’re going or what our priorities are. Without that, it’s as if we headed out on a family vacation with no idea whether we’re headed to the beach or the mountains, and consequently there’s no map to get there. We are also at a huge moment of transition. We are about to elect a new mayor, seat a new Council. There has been significant change in the leadership of local colleges and universities, as well as the leadership of many nonprofits. That provides both an enormous opportunity and also a challenge. The hope is that, with an effort like this, we are able to bring the community together to have a clear vision for where we are going and, in turn, a better way for us to work together to achieve that.

How are you ensuring that all Nashvillians are heard, not just those who fit your criteria?

This effort will be multi-dimensional. It is designed to reach into every corner of the city, into every neighborhood, not just the boardrooms and civic clubs.

What is the role of the steering committee?

The steering committee will guide the yearlong, community-led effort and be responsible for connecting the work of the group back to and securing the participation of the communities, stakeholders and organizations that are central to the success of this effort.

How was the steering committee created?

The co-chairs tried to be really intentional in identifying people who represented many different perspectives and parts of our city. In fact, at our first gathering as a group, many people didn’t know each other – which was a great thing. We didn’t want a group that looks like the same 50 people you see at typical civic endeavors. After all, part of the challenge Nashville is facing right now is that so many people feel they are cut out of discussions about the future and/or aren’t benefiting from the successes of the city. We want to do the work to bring new voices to the table and set the stage for a much larger, more inclusive conversation about where we need to go as a city and a community.

If the steering committee has no elected officials on it, how will the ideas be implemented?

Our aim is to work side by side with whomever is chosen to lead our city in a way that benefits everyone. There is nothing “binding” to our findings, as we are not working on policy proposals for the Tennessee legislature or city Council. However, just as political decisions are informed by their voters, we hope that our exhaustive research is taken into consideration when making policy decisions.

Where did the funding come from?

We believe part of the beauty of this effort is that it is inclusive. As a result, we are asking every major philanthropic foundation and all of our local colleges and universities to stand with us as partners. Additionally, The Community Foundation of Middle Tennessee is serving as the fiscal sponsor for this initiative.

Will you be soliciting input from existing civic and social groups?

Yes. These organizations in our city are important groups to include in the conversation.

Will the results of your campaign/surveys/etc. be published for the public to see?

Yes. Transparency is so important to this effort’s working. Every official report and survey result will be made public on ImagineNashville.org.

Is it the intention for Imagine Nashville to live beyond the community findings/report, or does it go away when the findings are issued?

Nashville is blessed to have so many great community and civic organizations, nonprofits, etc., and we see Imagine Nashville as a one-year endeavor, not the creation of a new, permanent organization. What we are focused on is making sure the city has a forward vision that transcends individual organizations and agendas. From there, we hope all of those organizations will step up and “own” parts of the implementation.