Palm Beach Florida Weekly

Chat, learn, dine during On the Table


The Community Foundation for Palm Beach and Martin Counties has a question for you: Can we talk?

The organization invites residents to come together on Wednesday, Nov. 13, in small-group mealtime conversations to explore meaningful ideas about how to cultivate a stronger community during On the Table.

For a second year, the Community Foundation will participate in this civic engagement initiative, funded through the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, designed to unite people of all ages and backgrounds to discuss issues that affect their community.

In 2018, more than 4,000 local residents participated in On the Table, sharing their stories, hopes and concerns. Three core topics were raised as top priorities and will be the focus on the 2019 conversations: housing, economic security and education.

“Last year’s participants communicated the strengths and needs of our community and generated dozens of ideas to improve our quality of life,” Bradley Hurlburt, president and CEO of the Community Foundation for Palm Beach and Martin Counties, said in a statement. “This year, we plan to focus our attention on the top priorities identified by last year’s participants. We look forward to learning more about these critical issues and opportunities as we work toward facilitating positive change throughout Palm Beach and Martin Counties.”


New this year, young people will be encouraged to join in the discussions. With an increase in youth spearheading social change worldwide, the Community Foundation wanted these residents to be heard. For Emanuel “Dupree” Jackson Jr., founder of the Emanuel Jackson Sr. (EJS) Project, including youth in this year’s On the Table is an exciting expansion.

“We are looking forward to engaging our teens in conversations and believe setting aside time to have intentional conversation with community members of all ages will offer valuable insights,” Mr. Jackson said in the statement.

At the conclusion of the meal, participants will be encouraged to share their feedback via an online survey. The Community Foundation again will share the results with the community, various government officials, community leaders and nonprofits to help them determine how to best advance some of the ideas and solutions generated.

After participating last year, House of Hope, a nonprofit based in Martin County that provides food, clothing, furniture, financial assistance and case management services, was motivated to move forward new initiatives.

The Community Foundation’s On the Table conversations are apart of a national initiative funded by the Knight Foundation. On the Table replicates an annual civic engagement initiative of the same name developed by The Chicago Community Trust in 2014. Support for On the Table advances Knight Foundation’s work to help cities attract and keep talented people, expand economic opportunity and create a culture of civic engagement.

“Knight Foundation believes that successful communities are equitable, inclusive and participatory,” Lilly Weinberg, Knight Foundation director of community foundations, said in the statement. “On the Table puts this belief into action. We are excited to help bring this important event to life for a second year. On the Table continues to provide a simple and accessible opportunity for citizens to engage in discussions and action that propel Palm Beach and Martin Counties forward.”

For more information or to sign up to participate as a host or a guest, Palm Beach and Martin County residents can visit ¦

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