The Lee Institute
Case Studies

Connect Our Future

Public Engagement Facilitation

For three years, from 2012 through 2014, the Lee Institute served as the lead public engagement consultant for the 14-county Connect Our Future project.

This initiative, led by the Centralina Council of Governments (NC) and the Catawba Regional Council of Governments (SC), took the region through three phases of discussion, learning and planning as the Charlotte area developed its first-ever regional framework to handle the extraordinary population growth expected over the next four decades.  Funded by a $4.9 million grant from the Department of Housing and Urban Development, Connect Our Future launched the conversation and brought thousands of residents into a dialogue about their future.  

The Lee Institute helped us craft a public engagement framework that was flexible and met our goals. Lee staff coached us on how to be more inclusive, ask the right questions, and develop on-the-ground logistics for getting exposure to our constituents. The Lee staff warmed audiences across the region with their sincerity and commitment to listening.
— Michelle Nance, Planning Director, Centralina Council of Governments

The Lee Institute focused on asking neighbors about their dreams for the region, their most valued community assets, and their priorities in the areas of roads, housing, parks, transportation, jobs and retail.  We partnered with governments, nonprofits, churches and civic groups to ensure that the residents’ voice was central to the Connect project.  Our team designed, facilitated or supported:

We invite you to visit and explore the extraordinary amount of data, research and public opinion captured by this initiative.