Montgomery Parks Outreach Strategy and Implementation Plan


CJRT is engaged in developing a long-term minority outreach engagement strategy and implementation plan for Montgomery Parks, an agency within the Maryland-National Capital Planning Park Commission (MNCPPC). Montgomery Parks is a bi-county governmental agency serving over 1 million Montgomery County, Maryland residents as well as residents from the larger Maryland, Virginia and Washington, D.C. metro area. Over one third of Montgomery County’s residents are foreign-born and approximately 14% have limited English proficiency according to Montgomery County’s LEP Annual Report (2011). MNCPPC’s mission is to: “Protect and interpret our valuable natural and cultural resources; balance demand for recreation with the need for conservation; offer various enjoyable recreational activities that encourage healthy lifestyles; and provide clean, safe, and accessible places.” Like many parks, Montgomery Parks face challenges in attracting and developing long-term engagement with specific underrepresented groups, which is a direct threat to their ability to provide accessible parks and facilities. This outreach and engagement issue, while pervasive among many state-run and national agencies, indicates a complex array of barriers including: language, culture, geographic location, economic status, values and perceptions. Alongside the social and economic barriers, improving long-term engagement with these underrepresented groups will have to address and ameliorate beliefs that agencies do not care about them, do not listen or are irrelevant to them. Overall, the goal of this two-fold: (1) to provide our client with a cost-efficient, effective, and sustainable communication strategy, and (2) to provide an implementation strategy to achieve improved outreach, engaging non-typical park users. We provide the following recommendations, explained in detail within: Increase and expand translation, focusing first on high touch resources; Increase targeted advertising by populations (we focused on 3 large populations, American born African Americans, Latinos/Hispanics, and Chinese): African-Americans: through schools, churches, and national pan-hellenic council, Latinos/Hispanics: churches and public schools, Chinese: ethnic grocery stores/markets, language schools, public schools, and community centers; Hire full-time staff with expertise in minority outreach, preferably bilingual, to help Montgomery Parks navigate and oversee community outreach to minorities; Hire “hubs” (community brokers) or residents from the community to act as ambassadors and help create pilot outreach programs; Require cultural competency training for Montgomery Park; Additionally, to ease implementation, we recommend doing a phased implementation of the above initiatives with the associated baseline costs: Phase 1: Includes hiring new personnel, requiring cultural competency, starting translation of key documents in key languages ($77,090), Phase 2: Includes hiring the hubs, and beginning pilot outreach programs, also includes expanding translation services ($99,650), Phase 3: Expansion of previous outreach programs, development of the Community Engagement Office ($92,850).


Final project for BUMO758K. University of Maryland, College Park.