Volume III, Issue 5 - June 2002
COMMUNITY FOUNDATIONS AND THE NEW REGIONALISM
- I. Community Foundations and the New Regionalism
Community Foundations are natural allies for regional organizations, including CRIs, to promote the general well being of regions, and to build permanent civic and philanthropic institutions to address 21st century challenges.
II. Collaborative Regional Initiatives (CRIs) and Workforce Investment
The James Irvine Foundation funded CCRL to help develop workforce demonstration projects of five Collaborative Regional Initiatives (CRIs).
III. Sustainable Communities Leadership Program (SCLP)
Collaborative Regional Initiatives 2002 Fellowship Projects
The fellows and projects for SCLP 2002 have been selected and they include eight CRIs.
IV. Regional News & Information
The latest news and information from California's CRIs and other CCRL strategic regional partners.
I. Community Foundations
Community Foundations are dynamic institutions, with the influence to generate and leverage endowment funds and donor advisors, distribute grants, and mobilize leadership and resources to meet the current and future needs of their local communities. With the advantage of being trusted third parties, the 600+ community foundations in the U.S collectively play a powerful role in linking business, government, nonprofit and the media, and effectively enhancing social capital and the quality of life within their regions.
Community Foundations are natural allies for other regional organizations, including CRIs, to promote the general well being of regions, and to build permanent civic and philanthropic institutions to address 21st century challenges. This CalRegions presents brief case examples of Community Foundations as regional stewards, including successful partnerships between community foundations and CRIs around the state.
Ventura County Community Foundation (VCCF):
From its beginnings in 1987, the VCCF has strategically considered all of its activities from a regional standpoint, fulfilling its mission of improving the quality of life in Ventura County. VCCF has focused its grantmaking in areas affecting all 10 cities within the region: housing, transportation, air quality, land use and education. A few years ago, following a controversial ballot issue, VCCF recognized the absence within the community of a means or a structured environment for leaders to go beyond just defining issues - they needed a place to strategize and collaborate on how to implement solutions. Kate McLean, VCCF's President, saw this as an opportunity for the Community Foundation to act as a neutral convener and to build a CRI to address the region's critical issues. VCCF worked with CCRL for over a year to establish the Regional Civic Alliance for Ventura County (vccf.org/vcregion/), which is currently undergoing a strategic planning process to establish its long-term goals and roles within the community. According to Kate, a community foundation is a great vehicle to promote regional collaboration, as it is a natural fit with their mission. For more information, please visit www.vccf.org.
San Diego Foundation (SDF):
Mary Walshok, Board Chair, sees the bi-national San Diego region as an important platform; through which the foundation creates social change and builds social capital. SDF assists donors to build and preserve enduring assets for charitable purposes; monitors and assesses changing needs within donors' communities; meets those needs through financial awards and organizational support; and convenes members of the community to promote creative dialogue on issues affecting all of San Diego's communities.
Their mission is to make San Diego a better place to live, work and play, and they seek to accomplish this mission by placing a high priority on building a civic infrastructure and maintaining the region's beautiful natural environment. SDF has two important initiatives to promote and transform the region. The first, a collaboration between San Diego Dialogue (a CRI-- www.sandiegodialogue.org), UCSD, and journalist Neil Peirce, was a broad based community education study to introduce the public to important regional issues of the cross-border, diversity and changing economy. This education process grew into the second initiative, to increase civic participation by further engaging San Diego residents through ChoiceWork Dialogues. This in-depth series of focus groups brought together citizens to discuss issues shaping their region's future. Community foundations play an important role in building a knowledge base within the region, and aligning local philanthropic investment to fill knowledge gaps in order to build a more informed and stronger community. According to Mary, "social innovation requires knowledge sharing." The region is fortunate to have public universities with regional responsibility and a creative community foundation that understands the value of partnering. For more information, visit www.sdfoundation.org.
East Bay Community Foundation (EBCF):
The EBCF is a values-based convener that brings together people and organizations in conflict, helping them to look for wide-ranging solutions that benefit all parties, as well as the region. The East Bay is not a region unto itself, but part of both the San Francisco Bay and Tri-Valley watersheds, and part of both industrial and agricultural regions. According to Mike Howe, President, the only way to resolve complex issues that affect multiple localities, transportation being a prime example, is through regional decision-making and collaboration. Community foundations can begin the dialogue process by setting the table, playing the role of "invisible facilitator" by sharing as much information as possible for the community to be able to make educated decisions.
Through the Livable Communities Initiative (LCI), the EBCF works with city and regional planners, nonprofits, businesses, elected officials, and community members to promote smart growth principles in land use and transportation planning. The Tri Valley Vision 2010 Leadership Council, convened by the Tri Valley Business Council (a CRI-- www.trivalley.org), is jointly defining planning and implementation strategies to build a strong urban economy and vital community, while preserving open space and enhancing agriculture. In Brentwood, the LCI is working to facilitate the dialogue on agricultural land development between local farmers, developers and the city council. Mike believes the EBCF is contributing to community democracy, as Brentwood and Tri Valley "own the solutions they come up with. The EBCF builds the island above the sea to facilitate the dialogue on challenging regional issues, and to reach resolutions collaboratively." For more information, visit www.ebcf.org.
Peninsula Community Foundation:
The Peninsula Community Foundation builds civic investment and community involvement in the San Francisco Peninsula and Silicon Valley. One of PCF's main initiatives, the Peninsula Partnership for Children, Youth and Families, was created nearly ten years ago in partnership with San Mateo County, and is generally regarded across the country as one of the most innovative of community foundation initiatives. The Partnership brings a regional strategic focus to fulfilling the National Education Panel's goal that all children starting school are "ready to learn." By focusing on improving the well being of children from birth to age eight, with an emphasis on kindergarten readiness, they help work to assure that the region's future stewards--children-- are academically successful by third grade, and build the capacity of local communities to meet the needs of vulnerable children and their families.
The Partnership's diverse strategies include: funding and supporting city-school collaboratives in nine high-need communities in San Mateo County; initiating and incubating both local and countywide programs for young children, including the Raising A Reader (R) Book Bag Program and the Reach Out and Read (ROR) pediatric early literacy program; overseeing the countywide Children's Report Initiative; serving as a "community support organization" by convening and facilitating multi-disciplinary meetings and community forums and being a "link-tank" by connecting community initiatives with public officials, and coordinating the countywide Partnership Council consisting of key stakeholders and policymakers in San Mateo County.
The Partnership's funding collaborators include United Way of the Bay Area, the David and Lucile Packard Foundation, The Lucile Packard Foundation for Children's Health, the Charles and Helen Schwab Family Foundation, and the Mellam Family Foundation, and additional donor-advisors. For further information, please visit www.pcf.org/peninsula_partnership/about.html.
Economic Alliance of San Fernando Valley:
In Ventura County, the local community foundation helped to create a CRI; in the San Fernando Valley, the CRI is helping to create a community foundation. The Economic Alliance of San Fernando Valley is following a newer model--the CRI is in the process of launching a new community foundation. According to Bruce Ackerman, President & CEO, last year the Alliance made a strategic decision to broaden its focus and outreach from an economic development and marketing organization to a community development organization. The Alliance launched a Livable Communities Initiative and a successful community visioning process, Vision 2020. A community foundation is a natural evolution for the organization, as the Alliance sees the need in the region for a funding entity to address a range of quality of life issues, including health care, infrastructure, housing and crime and safety. For more information, please visit www.economicalliance.org.
II. Collaborative Regional Initiatives (CRIs) and Workforce Investment
The James Irvine Foundation/CCRL/CRI/Demonstration Projects
The James Irvine Foundation funded CCRL to help develop workforce demonstration projects of five Collaborative Regional Initiatives (CRIs). The career pathway training projects target occupations and training opportunities in careers specific to a key local industry. The CRIs, in collaboration with community colleges and other regional partners, develop and conduct training in those targeted occupations and industries. In addition, CCRL is helping to improve access to labor market data working with the CALWIB and the Labor Market Infrastructure Division of the Employment Development Department. The Irvine Foundation at its March 2002 Board meeting funded four of these proposals at $150,000 each: Fresno Business Council, Gateway Cities Partnership, Orange County Business Council, and Santa Cruz Clusters. One of the four (GCP) also received a major grant from the State Workforce Investment Board in May, in a highly competitive process. Others have received funding support from private foundations, local Workforce Investment Boards, and corporate sources.
Workforce Investment System Reform
Others have taken a keen interest in the partnerships idea as well, including the California Economic Strategy Panel (CESP), at a meeting at which the Fresno CRI project was presented on May 23, 2002; and potentially the leadership of the new Labor and Workforce Development Agency. In the process of engaging the state Employment Development Department to assist the CRIs with spatial data presentation of industry clusters and "occupational family" career progression, CCRL and the CRIs (with special involvement from the Orange County Business Council) helped open the doors to a new strategy for organizing, validating and affirming such labor market data, and helped to raise the interest and importance of this new data approach such that it has become a top priority for the CALWIB, CESP and the new state agency .
Additionally, the program concepts developed by CCRL and the CRIs through this workforce investment project were the basis in part for policy recommendations in the report of the Speaker's Commission on Regionalism. The report has been distributed to the Legislature and a broad of array of interested parties well beyond the workforce investment field, and can serve as the basis for Legislative reform in the coming years.
III. Sustainable Communities Leadership Program (SCLP)
The Sustainable Communities Leadership Program (SCLP) builds communities in California by developing the next generation of diverse leaders. Supported by grants from The James Irvine Foundation, The David & Lucile Packard Foundation, and by other participating organizations, SCLP has hosted eighty undergraduate and graduate fellows over the past three years. Fellows work from three to six months on innovative sustainability projects with private, public and non-profit agencies focused on affordable housing, land conservation, urban sprawl, transportation and a range of other issues while receiving leadership training and building a learning community.
The fellows and projects for SCLP 2002 have been selected. Next year's program starts in May 2003 and applications will be due by February 15, 2003. If you would like to apply to be a fellow or sponsor in 2003, or learn more about the program, contact the Environmental Careers Organization and visit their website at www.eco.org.
Following are California CRIs Participating in 2002 Fellowship Projects
Greater San Francisco Bay Area:
- Joint Venture: Silicon Valley Network San Jose, CA
Smart Growth for All Communities
Project Advisor: Jose Villarreal
Fellow: Trinidad Rodriguez, University of Massachusetts, Amherst
Trina will perform outreach, in partnership with other community non-profits, to communities (i.e. Latino and Asian) that traditionally may not be aware of or made part of decisions involved in the planning, development and land-use policies. The objective is to inform them of such growth policies and patterns, provide information, ask for their opinions and encourage them to be advocates and engaged in decisions that involve the development of their respective communities.
- Tri-Valley Business Council Livermore, CA
Agriculture and Open Space Planning Implementation
Project Advisor: Kristine Mazzei, SCLP 2000
Fellow: Kristin Weiss, UC Santa Cruz
The Tri-Valley region has developed an agriculture and open space preservation plan. In order successfully implement the plan, Kristin will help design an outreach program to ensure full stakeholder participation in the programs and decision-making processes. This outreach will connect the rural landscape planning efforts to other regional issues and contribute to outcomes that are sustainable for the long term.
- Green Valley Initiative/Valley Vision Sacramento, CA
Capital Region Agriculture and Open Space Conservancy
Project Advisor: Gail Ervin
Fellow: Jennifer Winston, Monterey Institute of International Studies
The Green Valley Alliance has recently taken on the task of defining all the parameters of recent legislation to form a state open space conservancy for the Sacramento valley and foothill region. The state assembly members sponsoring the legislation are counting on GVA to build consensus among the region's stakeholders, and multiple issues must be worked out among a variety of competing interests. Jennifer will help this effort lead to formulating consensus on regional criteria for the conservation of agriculture and open space that can be adopted by local decision-makers.
- Sierra Nevada and "Upstate" California:
Sierra Business Council Truckee, CA
Sustainable Rural Towns Initiative
Project Advisor: Darin Dinsmore
Fellow: Brandy Fox, Humboldt State
The Sierra Business Council (SBC) is developing a Sierra Nevada Town Patterns Reference Guide, to provide communities with historical models for implementing the compact, town-centered approach to development outlined in our award-winning guide to rural planning, Planning for Prosperity. Working with SBC, Brandy will measure and map the pattern of historical development in 15 Sierra Nevada Communities, showing how the most attractive parts of existing towns were developed and evolved with integrated neighborhoods.
Greater Los Angeles Area:
- The Center for a New Orange County (Orange County Business Council) Irvine, CA
Center for a New Orange County Infrastructure Project
Project Advisor: Wallace Walrod
Fellow: Katherine Boyd, CSU Sacramento
Orange County leaders and stakeholders are mobilizing and building a collaborative process ("Center for a New Orange County") to lead regional stakeholders (business leaders, directors of local governing agencies, political and community leaders) in strategic discussions and facilitate a meaningful planning process. Kate will help the Center tackle the difficult task of mobilizing, engaging, mediating and balancing a large group of stakeholders that have divergent, often competing interests, in order to craft this infrastructure program.
- Gateway Cities Partnership Paramount, CA
Gateway Cities Sustainable Communities Project
Project Advisor: Dion Jackson
Fellow: Allison Joe, University of Southern California
The Gateway Cities Sustainable Communities Project will provide the resources to each of the 27 cities in the Gateway Cities Region for the development of a sustainable community plan. The plan is based on providing for the three E's of Social Equity, Economic Vitality and Environmental Quality. Allison will work with the partnership to bring together business, education, labor, government, and the expanded community to participate in this effort aimed at revitalizing the region.
- Inland Empire Economic Partnership Foundation San Bernardino, CA
Regional Benchmarking: A Framework to Encourage Dialogue on Inland Empire Issues
Project Advisor: Teri Ooms
Fellow: Marcia Guzman, University of Southern California
Last year, an SCLP Fellow developed a regional indicators survey to identify and better understand the strengths and weaknesses of our many member communities. The survey offered a new perspective on major issues, which either exist or will exist within the communities. The surveys revealed that there were very distinct and broadly defined areas of concern about population growth, low-income housing, the gap between low and high skilled workforce, congested freeways and air, and poor K-12 education. This year, Marcia will continue this work, but seek to offer more solutions and buy-in among regional decision makers responsible for our future performance. It gives those with vested interest a road map to follow.
Greater San Diego Area:
- San Diego Dialogue San Diego, CA
Building Community Through the New Urbanism
Project Advisor: Scott Grimes
Fellow: Jessica Trounstine, UC San Diego
San Diego Dialogue, a regional public policy program at UC San Diego, is launching a research and community building project in collaboration with the Consensus Organizing Institute (a nonprofit community organizing agency) and the Endangered Habitats League (a nongovernmental organization dedicated to sustainable development and habitat preservation.) Jessica will identify and then work within a targeted community in central San Diego to develop a strategy for encouraging the neighborhood revitalization through commitments to New Urbanist developments and linkages to a regional smart growth agenda. As part of the project, neighborhood residents will be empowered to map the assets of their community, develop and launch a community revitalization plan, and engage in regional policy-making arenas that can help to bring their plan to life.
IV. Regional News and Information
CRI STRATEGIC PLANNING:
CCRL (CRI Compact Review and Learning) System
Through the CCRL System, CCRL has been working closely with CRIs on activities including Strategic Thinking and Planning about their organizations and Leadership Training and Development. Aspects of strategic planning assistance include coaching and facilitation on organizational and program development issues, and helping develop work plans with the CRIs. Leadership Training and Development has focused on areas including: engaging leadership, training on the civic entrepreneur movement, helping to define the CRI's vision, mission and priorities, and providing information on state policy initiatives. Over recent months, CCRL has been privileged to provide assistance to the following CRIs in the following areas:
- Fresno Area CRI (www.fresnocri.org): Leadership Training and Development
- Santa Cruz Clusters: Strategic Thinking and Planning
- Valley Vision (www.valleyvision.org): Board Retreat and Strategic Thinking and Planning
- San Diego Regional EDC (www.sandiegobusiness.org): Leadership Retreat
- South Bay EDP (www.southbaypartnership.com): Strategic Thinking and Planning and Board Retreat
- Sonoma County Vision: Leadership meeting and Strategic Thinking and Planning
- Inland Empire Economic Partnership (www.ieep.com): Leadership Development and Strategic Thinking and Planning
- San Gabriel Valley Economic Partnership (www.valleynet.org): Board Retreat and Strategic Thinking and Planning
- Action Pajaro Valley (www.actionpajarovalley.org): Strategic Thinking and Planning
- At the 5th Alliance Leadership Forum, hosted by the Alliance for Regional Stewardship (ARS), on May 2-3, in La Jolla, California, Jay Harris, author/lecturer of Deep River Associates and formerly publisher of the San Jose Mercury News, presented the keynote address, entitled "The Regionalist's Season." His talk, intended to spark discussion around regionalist principles, received a standing ovation. Over 65 participants from all over the country gathered in La Jolla on for the 5th Alliance Leadership Forum. Highlights of the meeting included: San Diego case study on dialogue and partnerships; peer-led workshops on Choicework Dialogues, Regional Compacts, Regional Economic Strategy, and Learning Communities; and peer-to-peer sessions on a multitude of topics. To view the full text of Mr. Harris' inspiring Remarks, or to download forum notes and workshop presentations, visit the ARS online at www.regionalstewardship.org.
- The California Workforce Association's first Workforce Investment Board Leadership Summit took place on Wednesday, May 29 & Thursday, May 30 at the Sheraton Grand Sacramento Hotel. The event brought together Workforce Investment Board (WIB) members from across California to focus solely on issues of importance and value to WIB members and staff. The event was done in collaboration with the California Workforce Investment Board and provided a great opportunity to connect with members of the state WIB. The Summit offered opportunities to connect in multiple settings with members and staff of other boards for sharing learning and practices. Attendees had a great opportunity to work in some depth on understanding how WIBs can be effective community leaders and what concrete tools can be used to do so. The Summit was framed around the role of Workforce Boards as Leaders. To Learn More, Visit the California Workforce Association's Website www.calworkforce.org.
- The California Center for Regional Leadership (CCRL) and the Bay Area Alliance for Sustainable Development (BAASD), along with cosponsors East Bay Community Foundation, and the James Irvine Foundation, hosted a reception at noon on June 18th celebrating the release of Myron Orfield's compelling new book, American Metropolis: The New Suburban Reality. From his study of America's 25 largest metro areas, Mr. Orfield has concluded that the changing nature of the suburbs is creating a window of opportunity to curb sprawl, promote urban reinvestment and reduce fiscal disparities. Invited guests heard Orfield discuss his findings that the changing nature of the suburbs makes possible state and metropolitan reforms that curb sprawl, promote urban reinvestment and reduce fiscal disparities. CCRL was pleased to host the event as a way of calling attention to opportunities for change and the important smart growth work already underway in California, and particularly the Bay Area. Visit the Brookings Institute to learn more about Orfield's book, or to order a copy. www.brookings.edu.
- The Economic Alliance of the San Fernando Valley Hosted its Annual Valley Of The Stars Gala Dinner & Awards Ceremony on Saturday evening, June 22, at Universal Studios. The 5th annual Valley of the Stars Gala Dinner & Awards Ceremony honored the following "Stars of the Valley": In Entertainment, Chick Hearn, "The Voice of LA"; in Education, nationally-known pioneering educator Dr. Yvonne Chan; and in Business, award-winning and innovative developer Rick Caruso. Visit EASFV at www.economicalliance.org.
- The Local Government Commission, League of California Cities/Institute for Local Self Government and the Planning Conservation League are hosting a series of workshops entitled "Managing Growth in California: Ballot-Box Planning, Other Tools and Techniques," to examine the different techniques for managing growth - ranging from urban growth boundaries to caps on housing construction to infrastructure. Speakers will discuss several new reports that address initiatives and ballot-box planning as well as the results of new research on growth management tools and techniques. Designed for local government officials and community advocates, this workshop will shed new light on the controversial topic of growth management. The final workshop takes place Thursday, July 18th, in San Luis Obispo. Registration deadline is July 12. Register online at www.lgs.org. For more information, contact Bismarck Obando at (916) 448-1198 ext 311.
The California Policy Forum:
- The Bay Area Alliance for Sustainable Development (BAASD) and the California Policy Forum (CPF) hosted Regional Forum on Policy Changes Needed at the State Level to Support Smart Growth in the Bay Area on June 13th at the Sojourner Truth Presbyterian Church in Richmond. The forum related to supply and location of housing and jobs. State legislators and local leaders presented their perspectives and engaged in a constructive dialogue about legislative proposals currently being discussed, as well as new proposals that should be introduced. Speakers included State Senators Tom Torlakson and Don Perata, Assembly member Pat Wiggins, Resources Agency Secretary Mary Nichols, Housing and Community Development Director Julie Bornstein, Association of Bay Area Government President and Walnut Creek Mayor Pro Tem Gwen Regalia, Richmond Mayor Irma Anderson, Contra Costa County Supervisor John Gioia, and Greater Richmond Interfaith Program Executive Director Arthur Hatchett.
Visit the California Policy Forum website, www.calpolicyforum.net, for a listing of upcoming regional forums or events. Visit BAASD at www.bayareaalliance.org.
- San Diego Dialogue and the California Policy Forum hosted a special policy forum featuring Robert Hertzberg, Speaker Emeritus of the California State Assembly, on Wednesday, June 19, 2002 at the Westin Horton Plaza Hotel in downtown San Diego. During the luncheon event, Speaker Emeritus Hertzberg offered his perspectives on "The New California Dream: Regional Solutions for 21st Century Challenges," a report he commissioned while Speaker to develop innovative state government policies and strategies that encourage regional collaboration in addressing the major economic, social, and environmental challenges that confront California. To learn more, visit San Diego Dialogue online at: www.sandiegodialogue.org.
SAVE THE DATE:
- June 27, 2002, Joint Venture: Silicon Valley network is hosting a Sustainability Seminar providing information for building a sustainable enterprise. How does it work? Why is it of value? Is it practical? Will it work in my organization? The seminar presents the larger context of environmental and social sustainability, and encourages interactive dialogue that will assist the participants in building a foundation for sustainability in their companies. The seminar will also present practical models and principles of sustainability and give participants time to practice with simulated case examples. Participants will have an opportunity to share their personal goals, discuss possibilities they see in their companies, investigate the "doorways" through which their companies can begin the process of developing sustainable business practices, and plan their initial action steps. Continental breakfast, coffee and lunch will be provided. To apply, contact: Amy Vossbrinck or 650.328.7756. Learn more at www.jointventure.org/news/events.html.
- San Diego Dialogue's next Forum Fronterizo luncheon event will be held on Thursday, July 18 from 12:00 to 2:00 p.m. at the Sheraton Harbor Island hotel, San Diego. "The Future of Manufacturing in Baja California: the Electronics and Auto Parts Sectors," will feature top-level speakers from both sides of the border and recent research results from an extensive survey conducted by El Colegio de la Frontera Norte. For more information and to register for the event, please consult the SDD website at: www.sandiegodialogue.org/events/july18.htm.
- The California Voter Foundation has announced the debut of their Fall 2002 California Online Voter Guide on their web site. With four months to go before this November's General election, the California Voter Foundation (CVF) encourages citizens to visit the ninth edition of its award-winning, nonpartisan California Online Voter Guide. Popular features include "Follow the Money", which helps voters track donors to candidates and proposition campaigns, a voting technology resource section, and a rich collection of California politics and government links. The guide is designed to give voters the tools they need to make informed, confident decisions in the voting booth. You can visit the California Voter Foundation and the 2002 Voter Guide at www.calvoter.org.
- Searching For The Uncommon Common Ground: New Dimensions on Race In America, the new book by Angela Glover Blackwell, Stewart Kwoh, and Manuel Pastor (Norton, 2002), is the fourth book in The American Assembly's Uniting America series. It explores new dimensions to the search for racial equity in the 21st Century, addressing questions such as: Will America's growing diversity lead to racial justice? What issues are most likely to provide the best opportunities for progress? What skills will future leaders need to be effective in the context of a changed demographic landscape? The authors--Angela Glover Blackwell, founder and president of PolicyLink, Stewart Kwoh, president and executive director of the Asian Pacific American Legal Center of Southern California, and Manuel Pastor, professor of Latin American and Latino Studies at the University of California, Santa Cruz--identify solutions to continuing causes of inequity such as the digital divide, an unfair criminal justice system, and the negative racial impact of uncontrolled sprawl and challenge Americans to aim for the highest possible levels of unity, the uncommon common ground.
This book is now available at local bookstores and online at www.amazon.com and www.barnesandnoble.com. For more information, contact Heather Bent Tamir at PolicyLink, (212) 629-9570, ext. 205. Visit PolicyLink's website at www.policylink.org.
- San Diego Dialogue has made available on their website the briefing paper prepared for SDD's Forum Fronterizo on "Public Health Preparedness and Emergency Response in our Binational Region." The paper can now be downloaded on SDD's website at www.sandiegodialogue.org/pdfs/may20_briefing.pdf. Forum Fronterizo is a luncheon series designed to provide civic leaders with a place to examine major opportunities and challenges facing this cross-border region. The Forum has been extremely successful in catalyzing local, state and federal collaboration on binational concerns and launching new cross-border initiatives. Business, government and academic leaders from both sides of the border attend.