Town Revitalization

Eatonville, Florida

Community Action Plan 

Eatonville, Florida, is the oldest incorporated African-American town in the United States. Founded in 1887, the town has a rich and remarkable history. The self-sustaining Robert Hungerford School was once a vibrant educational center in the town right alongside the St. Lawrence AME church. Author and anthropologist Zora Neale Hurston was raised in Eatonville and wrote numerous books and stories about the resilient and culturally centered community.

Today, Eatonville is home to 2,300 people. Statistics on the Town of Eatonville show a community faced with obstacles, but conversations with residents reveal the dignity, vitality, and determination of residents.

In 2016 and in 2022, Polis Institute was contracted to provide community engagement, leadership training, and data consulting services. Polis Institute worked with community residents and partners for two years to increase the participation of residents in civic activities and a community health project. Polis delivered key services to amplify community outcomes:

People First Engagement & Training

  • Charrettes & Community Conversations
  • Recruiting, hiring, and training Community Ambassadors
  • Propel Leadership Training (3 cohorts)
  • Asset Based Community Development Workshops for Residents & Stakeholders

Rich Data Services

  • Community Asset Mapping
  • Community Survey – Door to Door 54% response rate 
  • Measurement Accountability

Community Outcomes

Revitalization work in Eatonville resulted in the Town’s receipt of the 2018 Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Culture of Health Prize. Polis Institute is honored to have been a contributing collaborator to this award-winning initiative.

Sixty-two people completed the Polis Institute Propel Leadership training. Among graduates, civic participation rates rose by approximately 35%.

Project Champions

  • Town of Eatonville
  • Winter Park Health Foundation
  • AdventHealth

Other Initiatives

East Winter Garden

Revitalization Leadership Network 

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West Lakes

Community Action Plan & Evaluation

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Community Asset Mapping

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