Project Description


Sunrise Project takes an equity approach to designing projects and also informing local policy. Rather than deciding as staff what we think is best for the community, we reach out and listen to people of all backgrounds and ages and work with the community to design solutions that are truly meaningful and created by those most impacted.

Sunrise Project is piloting a new leadership and community engagement program called Activate Your Voice! This 3-course program focuses on building leadership skills (using Kansas Leadership Center principles), discovering and exploring your passions, and learning about the many ways to be involved in the Lawrence and Douglas County community.

A huge thanks to the Kansas Health Foundation for funding this new and exciting program!


An example of this work is our partnership with Douglas County, the Health Department and Douglas County Food Policy Council. In 2016, the Food Policy Council set out to develop a stand-alone, 10-year Food System Plan for Douglas County. Rather than take only a traditional approach to gathering community feedback, the county wanted to experiment with an equity approach to reach more people and get meaningful feedback.

The Big Picture

Sunrise Project was subcontracted by the Health Department and County to hire 7 people from diverse backgrounds who we called Community Coordinators. These folks were trained on local food systems, local government participation and general leadership skills. They then had conversations with their own families, friends, coworkers, neighbors or other connections to gather stories about people’s experiences with food.

The feedback we heard about access or barriers to affordable, healthy and culturally appropriate food was incorporated into the adopted Food System Plan. Many of the stories were also drawn upon to help develop projects at Sunrise Project and will continue to inform our activities.

Sunrise Project is continuing a partnership with the Health Department over the coming year to continue employing several Community Coordinators who will work over the coming years on gathering stories about people’s barriers to health in general. The Coordinators will then help implement solutions that are identified by the communities most affected.