Social capital is defined as human connections that make for healthier people, neighborhoods, communities and society. The Central Minnesota Community Foundation is taking a lead role in the greater St. Cloud area in promoting the concept of social capital.
Why measure social capital? Social Capital is important because research shows that communities who have high social capital have a higher quality of life. The research supports that communities with high social capital have higher educational achievement, faster economic growth, less crime and violence, and more citizen involvement in government.
The Central Minnesota Community Foundation commissioned the 2020-2021 Social Capital survey. Other funding partners supporting the survey include the CentraCare Health Foundation, the Initiative Foundation, JA Wedum Foundation, the Morgan Family Foundation, the United Way of Central Minnesota, St. Cloud State University and the St. Cloud Times.
The survey uses a variety of mediums, from online surveys, focus groups and telephone survey methods. The survey questions are designed to measure responses in several areas including awareness of opportunities to get connected in the community and the willingness to reach out to others, whether you are a student, a long time residents or a relative newcomer.
The act of strengthening ties between the residents of the community has shown to increase residents satisfaction overall within their community.
The Foundation has been evaluating the results and gaining community feedback to identify areas to focus on this year.
Angel Reins Stables is the recipient of the 2021 Sprouting Seeds in our Communities granting contest. The nonprofit is being recognized for building social capital within Central Minnesota by providing a safe, peaceful place for horses and people to experience healing. Social capital is the networks of relationships among people who live and work in a community, enabling that community to function effectively. When we talk about building social capital through relationships, we often think of a process know as bridging and bonding, bridging refers to relationships we build with those who have different backgrounds and different interests from ourselves and bonding refers to the relationships we create with those who have similar backgrounds and interests to us. Angel Reins has made it part of its mission to work on building both types of relationships through partnering with several other area nonprofits, in turn they are increasing our social capital in Central Minnesota. Learn more about Angel Reins in the video below.