The Weber-Morgan Health Department, Weber Human Services and the Weber County Commission have selected Melissa Freigang as the Director of the newly created Prosperity Center of Excellence an inter-agency effort.
Commenting on this new direction, Weber-Morgan Health Department Executive Director Brian Bennion stated, “There is tremendous synergy in our community to work together to improve the lives of our residents, but no one agency can do it alone. We see this center as an opportunity to align all our efforts to better address the quality of life for those who struggle with poverty, housing, access to healthy foods and other areas that affect health and well-being.”
“I would like to thank the Commissioners and Executive Directors for this opportunity. I am looking forward to providing leadership, alignment, and engagement of cross-sector collaboration among stakeholders to implement actionable strategies to combat our community’s most pressing social challenges,” said Melissa Freigang. Freigang was chosen from 29 candidates from across the state to create and implement a strategy to align the goals of these three agencies.
Previously, Freigang led the intergenerational poverty initiative, which emphasized boosting family resiliency and creating communities where children can exercise the power of self-determination. Two of her programs include the Integrated Community Action Now (I-CAN) demonstration project and the Career Path Partnership Program, which pairs up participants with workforce mentors. The two programs are expected to flourish under the new unified partnership.
Weber Human Services Executive Director, Kevin Eastman, expressed his excitement of the new program commenting, “Weber Human Services and the Weber-Morgan Health Department merged our separate Prevention Departments into the ‘Prosperity Center of Excellence’ in order to address two main points: Provide a singular physical location and point person for the community and improve our position for future funding in a collective approach instead of competing with each other.”
Commenting on the programs, Commissioner Scott Jenkins stated, “I appreciate we are getting to the right to the heart of the issue. We are entering their lives, identifying and fostering skill sets, getting them jobs, and building confidence. This confidence then resounds in their children as they look to tackle the world.”
Commissioner Jim Harvey stated, “We want to extend our gratitude to LSI. This is exactly why, in some scenarios, it's best to use a contractor. With LSI, we were able to create and test programs using their teams and expertise cost-effectively.” He continued, “LSI helped us with our 2017 Strategic Plan at a cost of $60,000. And in 2018, their efforts earned Weber County two grants worth $381,000 to work with families in our county who are experiencing intergenerational poverty. This meant we were able increase your money six-fold to create a stronger, long-term program.”
Commissioner Gage Froerer stated, “One of my campaign promises has been to streamline better the many agencies in Weber County who are already working hard to address poverty.” Froerer continued, “Melissa will coordinate all of these efforts and communicate between our agencies and local non-profits to increase their effectiveness and reduce costs and duplicity.”