Frequently asked questions

FAQs are organized under the categories below. Click on a category to jump to that section, or view the entire list of questions in the outline.

GENERAL INFORMATION ABOUT WISCONSIN ACTIVE TOGETHER

 

1. What is Wisconsin Active Together?

Wisconsin Active Together is an initiative that provides recognition awards to any community group or coalition that is making it easier for people to walk, bike and be active and meets basic criteria to demonstrate that commitment. ​

 

​2. What are the benefits of participating in Wisconsin Active Together? 

By being a part of Wisconsin Active Together, community partnerships and coalitions will gain the following tangible and intangible benefits:

  • An official recognition award as a Wisconsin Active Together Community; 

  • An individual profile page on the Wisconsin Active Together website that highlights the great work that they are already doing to create a local culture where more people can easily and safely walk, bike and be active;

  • Access to the Wisconsin Active Together logo; 

  • Connections to resources, training, peer and other experts working on similar issues; 

  • Inspiration for local residents and leaders to better understand and support coalition efforts;

  • Resources and expertise from a bigger network of local communities doing this work together and supportive state-wide partners;

  • Future benefits and incentives to be envisioned and developed as Wisconsin Active Together grows.

3. Who developed Wisconsin Active Together? 

Wisconsin Active Together was developed in 2017 by the healthTIDE Active Communities Team, a diverse and multidisciplinary group of state-level and community-based partners from across Wisconsin, who collectively identified the need to support more local-level action on strategies that make physical activity easy, safe and fun in community settings. 

4. Why was it created?

A growing body of evidence confirms that local community partnerships play a key role in implementing policies and creating systems and environments that make it easier for all residents to be physically active in their everyday lives. The healthTIDE Active Communities Team developed the Wisconsin Active Together campaign together, to lift up and celebrate all the local partnership-based work that’s already happening to create more active communities across Wisconsin, and to more effectively coordinate ongoing support from our statewide network and direct our shared priorities and resources to most impact local action. We believe that Wisconsin Active Together will build and strengthen the statewide healthy communities movement.

5. How is it different from a designation award (like a Walk / Bicycle Friendly Community)? 

The purpose of Wisconsin Active Together’s recognition award is to celebrate a wide variety of communities for their forward progress, growth, and the commitment to work on policy strategies that make it easier to walk, bike and be active locally. Designations typically award a narrow set of communities that meet or surpass a certain bar of achievement. While designations are valuable to the communities that earn them, and the process of applying is usually valuable even if designation status is not attained, we wanted to create an initiative in Wisconsin that would be more broadly inclusive of a diverse range of communities, and recognize the importance of taking gradual and continual steps towards local change on making it easier to be physically active. Wisconsin Active Together was created in order to bring many communities together in the spirit of making progress towards common objectives. Through this initiative, stakeholders hope to demonstrate how much demand and excitement exists to create active community environments. Additionally, participating communities will gain encouragement in knowing that others are working on similar strategies, and support from a local peer and statewide partner networks to help advance their progress. This initiative is about taking that journey together, rather than reaching a set “destination” or level of achievement. 

6. Are there award “Levels”?

No. All participating communities that meet the minimum criteria will receive the same level of recognition because we are building a unified campaign that shows support for creating active community environments. Every community has the ability to grow and make progress in their efforts to become a place that enables and encourages physical activity, no matter if they are just starting out or if they have been working on strategies for a long time. For that reason, we expect that recognees will be diverse in terms of size and experience. 

7. How long is recognition valid, and can applicants re-apply?

At this time, recognition is valid for three years. Participant communities are expected to complete an annual report / check-in on their progress with WI Active Together in years 2 and 3, to ensure that they are continuing to make progress and forward momentum. Applicants will be asked to complete a re-application process after three years, to ensure that our information about communities stays current.

 

8. How is recognition status determined?

To receive recognition through Wisconsin Active Together, applicants must:

  • Answer general questions about the active communities efforts already happening;

  • Complete a checklist to show that they have a few basic criteria in place, including: 

    • At least one ‘local action strategy’

    • At least one ‘ community engagement strategy’

      • At least one ‘policy/systems outcome goal’ adopted and being implemented, OR a commitment to work towards a policy/systems outcome goal in 2018;

  • Agree to a simple ‘4-part pledge’ that shows they will advance the spirit of the active communities movement (make forward progress locally, be part of a statewide network, prioritize equity and share progress annually).

9. How many awards will be distributed?

There is no minimum or maximum number of awards. The number and diversity of awarded communities will depend on the strength of the individual applications meeting the criteria to receive recognition.

10. How does Wisconsin Active Together relate or compare to other award applications that are available?

A number of award / recognition initiatives encourage local collaboration around healthy community change. Wisconsin Active Together focuses on coalitions and processes working on policies, systems and environments that build physical activity into routine daily life. Other opportunities vary in terms of the type of award, who can apply and their areas of focus. We have developed a crosswalk comparison of several opportunities that community groups may use to consider applying for other awards, or share with other local partners. In many cases, other opportunities can be complementary and a community may want to consider how these opportunities fit into their broader strategy and think about which partners are best suited to lead any given application.   

 

COMMITMENT TO EQUITY

11. Why do we ask about equity? 

The locations and zip codes where people live shouldn’t determine their health outcomes or their opportunities to make healthy choices, but a growing body of evidence shows that this is usually true. Lack of safe places to walk, bike and be active is also often connected with low socioeconomic status, race/ethnicity, rurality, immigration status, age, or disability status. Without intentional consideration of equity, efforts to address healthy and active communities will likely widen these gaps. For these reasons, it is critical that applicants consider and share information about their commitment to learning about equity, expanding their capacity and partnerships to work towards equitable outcomes.

 

12. What do we mean by equity? 

We ask applicants to describe their coalition’s shared commitments and action steps around equity. To do so, it may be helpful to consider and reflect upon concrete questions about the coalition’s approach to addressing the gaps in access between those who have the most and least access to places to walk, bike and be active. Questions might include, but need not be limited to:  

 

  • How has your group stated a commitment to understand and address the root causes of inequitable access to opportunities to walk, bike and be active?

  • How has your group engaged in relationship building and/or collective problem solving with excluded or marginalized groups or communities?

  • How has your group worked in partnership with others to remove obstacles and increase opportunities for safe walking, biking and physical activity among marginalized areas or populations?

13. Are we required to focus on equity in order to receive recognition? 

Yes. In addition to meeting basic criteria that demonstrates local action taking place that makes it easier to walk, bike and be active, all applicants must take a 4-part pledge in order to finalize their application. One of those pledges states that the applicant will prioritize equity in their work by partnering with communities and/or populations who face the greatest barriers to being physically active, and will use equity checklists in their future work.  

14. What community engagement tools might we use to advance equity in our work?

Here are a few examples of tools that can be helpful in community work. Use of other tools is also welcome. 

15. What equity checklists might we use to advance equity in our work?  

Here are a few examples of checklists that can be helpful in communities’ work. Use of other checklists or tools is also welcome.

The Racial Equity and Social Justice (RESJ) Initiative focuses on eliminating racial and social inequities in municipal government by implementing strategies in three main areas: city policies and budgets; city operations; in the community.

Government Alliance on Race and Equity (GARE) has developed a Racial Equity Toolkit. It provides a process to help local governments operationalize race and equity in their policy initiatives

 

APPLICATION PROCESS

16. How do I apply to Wisconsin Active Together?

The application is available at www.wiactivetogether.org and must be submitted online. All the questions can be previewed on the website. The application is broken into 3 parts: 

  • Part 1 asks for basic information about the applicant. 

  • Part 2 is an assessment in which applicants provide information about their current and upcoming actions making it easier to walk, bike and be active in the community. The assessment includes brief open-ended questions, and checklists of active transportation strategies that applicants may be doing. 

  • Part 3 asks applicants to attach a letter of support from your local community, and a photo that captures your group’s efforts to create ways to walk, bike and be active. It also requires applicants to complete a simple ‘4-part pledge’ that shows they will be part of the active communities movement.

17. Who is eligible to apply for Wisconsin Active Together?

Any self-defined, local, place-based community entity. The entity, group or coalition must work with other partners in the community (rather than in isolation) to accomplish shared goals, must be interested in making their community a more active place, and must be willing and able to meet the application criteria.
 

Examples of participant entities could include but are not limited to: Local Public Health Coalitions, Local walk/bike advocacy groups, Municipal/Town/County Boards (e.g., official Bike Ped Committee), Neighborhood Associations, Chambers of Commerce, Parent-Teacher Organizations, etc.

18. What types of people / roles typically complete this application?

Examples might include but are not limited to: coalition coordinators or volunteers, people who coordinate or volunteer with interest or advocacy groups (e.g., walking, biking, trails, parks groups), municipal or county staff who work with communities or community groups, neighborhood association leadership or members, local business leaders or chamber of commerce staff, PTO members, etc

19. What kind of assistance or support is provided for Wisconsin Active Together?

Assistance and support is available during the application process and will be coordinated by 1000 Friends of Wisconsin. We welcome and encourage applicants’ questions and will provide guidance via email and phone. Please direct initial inquiries to alenoch@1kfriends.org

 

Additionally, at least one informational webinar will typically be held for prospective applicants at the start of each application period. The purpose of the webinar is to provide applicants with information about the Wisconsin Active Together initiative and application process. Please see our website for current information about dates, times and to access recorded webinars.

20. Are there word count limits for the application?

No.

21. Why must my application include a letter of support?

Applicants must submit a letter of support from an entity or decision making body (other than the applicant) that would be responsible for approving or making the policy change that the applicant has committed to work towards (in other words, a strategy that was selected from the Green Columns). A letter of support does not require that the body has adopted or approved the policy right now. Instead, it means that the decision making body is aware of the group or coalition’s efforts and supports their process of working to make the community an easier and safer place to walk, bike and be active. Sample letter of support

22. What kinds of decision-making bodies might be able to provide a letter of support?

Some examples might include but are not limited to: town or municipal boards, neighborhood associations, chambers of commerce, boards of health, school boards, etc. In each case, it will depend upon the policy / systems change strategy that the applicant has committed to work towards in the coming year. If you have a question about the entity that should provide a letter of support, please contact alenoch@1kfriends.org.

23. Why must my application include a photo(s)?

It is important to have visual documentation of the process and/or outcomes of a community’s work to create more ways to walk, bike and be active. Photos will also be used on the Wisconsin Active Together website in order to illustrate the effort and accomplishments of communities that earn recognition.

 

APPLICATION REVIEW

24. Who will review applications?

Applications will be screened by the WAT Steering Committee to ensure that all required information has been provided and that submitted data is valid. Any questions will be directed back to the lead contact person listed on the application. All applications that meet the criteria established for receiving recognition will be awarded as such at the end of the review period.

25. How do we know if you received our proposal?

The person who submitted the application will receive a confirmation email within 1-2 business days of the submission.

26. How will we find out about the status of our application?

All applicants will be notified via email about the status of their applications when the review process is complete.

 

STRATEGY CHECKLIST  

27. What is the purpose of the Strategy Checklist?

The Strategy Checklist (found within Part 2, the Current Activities Assessment section of the application) is designed to help local Wisconsin coalitions understand the extent to which residents have opportunities to walk, bike and be physically active. These community-informed best practices identified in the checklist are those that a variety of Wisconsin communities and coalitions have said are effective in their communities, along with strategies that are supported by evidence from research and/or use in other states’ campaigns. The overall framework is informed by evidence that suggests that policy, systems and environmental change are key drivers in creating place-based access to physical activity in communities. 

 

The checklist provides a wide variety of potential strategies. Communities are also able to indicate if they are doing other strategies that are not shown in the checklist.

28. How can I get more information about a strategy in the checklist?

We’ve created a Strategy Guide that defines each strategy and provides links to key resources. Clicking on any strategy listed on Page 1 will scroll you down the page to that strategy’s information. If questions about a particular strategy remain after reviewing the posted resources for that strategy, please contact alenoch@1kfriends.org.

29. When can we check the box to count a strategy?

To check a box, the applicant coalition must be either the lead coordinating entity or a highly engaged implementation partner on another entity’s initiative. It is expected that applicants are working in partnership with other groups and organizations to make change in a geographic location. 

30. What if we are doing a strategy that isn’t shown on the list?

Please write it in the ‘other’ box at the bottom of the category in which it fits best. It will then be reviewed to determine if it can count towards meeting that category’s criteria. 

31. Can we go beyond the minimum requirements in the checklist?

Yes, and we encourage it! The purpose of this application is to build a big tent so that a diverse range of communities can become part of the movement to create more active places and spaces across Wisconsin. While the criteria for entry reflect this goal, we hope communities will go above and beyond the minimum requirements when possible and desired by the community. 

 

We encourage use of the checklist as a source of inspiration and ideas to think about how your community could advance its goals further and faster by layering some additional, complementary strategies on top of the ones it is already doing, and thinking about how those strategies might bolster assets already in place. The partners who created Wisconsin Active Together envision that the minimum criteria are simply a starting point to advance more communities in their ability to drive policy, systems and environmental change.

32. What kinds of strategies are found in the checklist?

Local action strategies: 

  • Events: Signature local gatherings that engage people in physical activity, are high-visibility ways to educate and recruit partners and champions.

  • Programs: Signature ongoing, routine local opportunities to get more people in the community walking, biking or being active on a regular basis, and are a high-visibility means to educate and recruit partners and champions for active communities. 

  • Environmental Changes: Changes to the built environment that make it easier or safer for people to walk, bike or be active. 

Community Engagement Strategies: 

  • Demonstration Projects: Temporary, low-cost changes to a physical environment that allow people to experience places conducive to walking, biking or physical activity.

  • Community Partnership: Taking intentional actions to build up grassroots engagement, connections and partnerships with local leaders from the beginning and throughout the work, to build a broad coalition that understands the benefits and supports active transportation policy issues, and ensure an equity-based approach (i.e., partnering and supporting leaders in communities and neighborhoods where inequities shape transportation options and health outcomes). 

Outcome goals: 

  • Milestones: Systems changes within departments or agencies that influence organizational practices, like protocols, funding or informal norms.

  • Destination Policies: Laws, ordinances, regulations, rules, etc. that typically need elected officials’ approval. Influence local access to active, healthy environments. While there are many potential policies, WI Active Together focuses on a small set that were prioritized collectively by healthTIDE Active Communities Team stakeholders as key policies to advancing active transportation in Wisconsin.

 

RECOGNITION AWARDS

33. When will Wisconsin Active Together awards be announced?

Recognition award decisions will be announced within approximately 2 months of each application closing period. 

34. If awarded, will all entities who have partnered on the Wisconsin Active Together application be able to use the logo, or will only the applicant be allowed to use it?

For those receiving recognition, all entities who directly partnered together on the Wisconsin Active Together application, and partner with the applicant entity, will be able to use the logo. For example, if a county planning department is a partner on an application submitted by a municipality, the planning department would be able to use the logo and specify what town or city has recognition through Wisconsin Active Together. In another example, if a multi-agency coalition applies and receives recognition, all of the partners in that coalition would be able to utilize the logo. Any questions about logo use can be directed to alenoch@1kfriends.org

 

Contact us:

1000 Friends of Wisconsin 

16 N. Carroll St. Suite 800
Madison, WI 53703
alenoch@1kfriends.org

608-259-1000

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