In 2009 twenty-five leaders from Marshall were selected for the Blandin Foundation Community Leadership Program. From that experience MyMarshall, a grassroots initiative focused on finding efficiencies and reducing duplications in the community, was born. MyMarshall’s initiatives, including Marshall Amateur Regional Sports Hub (MARSH), Beyond the Yellow Ribbon and GreenStep, have come to fruition in the last six years.
- MyMarshall was tasked with planning the next set of initiatives. The Schwan Food Company approached MyMarshall with an opportunity to meet with Blue Cross/Blue Shield – Center for Prevention (BCBS) regarding a healthy community initiative. After meeting with BCBS, MyMarshall decided to work with BCBS and to focus on just one initiative going forward.
- In February 2013 BCBS provided staggering Lyon County health statistics. They proposed a community collaborative opportunity. The potential goal: “In the workplace and beyond, establish and sustain a community health improvement initiative that ignites a strong culture of health and wellness commitment from businesses, community leaders and coalitions (Johnson).” The first objective was to learn about Marshall’s barriers to health. BCBS hired KHA, Inc., to survey worksite representatives and community stakeholders. Through conversations and town hall meetings, it became clear that the need went beyond the workplace and should extend to the entire community.
- In December 2013 nine Marshall community stakeholders attended BCBS Center for Prevention Camp Engagement. The two-day conference focused on strategies to implement policy, systems, and environmental change.
- BCBS and KHC, Inc., formally finished the partnership by providing recommendations, including a work plan.
- In the spring MyMarshall was rebranded as Healthy56258 to better represent the developing community initiative. An operations team consisting of leaders from five community sectors—health, education, worksite, community institutions and community—was created to further the research and outreach. These sector groups met independently to further survey their constituents regarding barriers to physical activity and nutrition.
- After initially operating as a community coalition, the Healthy56258 operations team identified a need to explore a more formal organizational structure. Solidifying the structure would build the capacity of Healthy56258 to serve as a key community stakeholder in meeting the needs of the community. To explore the options for doing so, the group hired a consulting firm, North Sky Health Consulting (North Sky) in St. Paul, to recommend an organizational infrastructure.
- After an intensive research and assessment process, North Sky recommended both a short-term coalition operating structure and a long-term, sustainable organizational model. The operations team swiftly adopted these recommendations. Since then a strong steering committee has emerged out of the operations team and recommended some modifications based on how the work has rolled out.