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Waco is growing its community IQ

Updated: Apr 19, 2022

By Hermann Pereira

The IQ of a person changes. As the brain develops, a person's IQ dramatically changes. In other words, development and surroundings have affect a person's IQ. Being a father of two it is fascinating to watch them learn and also to mature and see their IQs evolve. Change, indeed, is possible.

Can a community have an IQ? Yes. Community IQ is the capacity of a city’s residents and institutions to see their city as an interconnected ecosystem, and I have witnessed it evolving in the work Prosper Waco is connected to.

Grassroots Community Development's Josh Caballero (far end of front table) leads a community discussion in North Waco.

Recently, I sat in on a North Waco meeting hosted by Grassroots Community Development and Prosper Waco. The design of the meeting was to share data that was relevant to this part of the community. There were six total meetings across North, South and East Waco.

The basis for the meetings was a recent report published by Prosper Waco called The Waco Snapshot Report. The report is a tool that can be used to guide decision making and strategy in the Waco community. The intention of the community meetings was to gain insights into the why behind the data due to participants shared professional and lived experiences, as well as to empower local leaders with the ability to understand and utilize data.

As said above, community IQ is the capacity of a city’s residents and institutions to see their city as an interconnected ecosystem. But it is not only seeing or understanding. For positive change to occur, after seeing we must have the will and ability to work together across that ecosystem for mutual benefit.

Sitting in our March Snapshot meetings I was able to witness this interconnected ecosystem. It was super encouraging to see Wacoans ask critical questions paired with empathy and understanding. What a privilege it was to witness the community IQ grow.

If you or your organization would like to connect and discuss different community ecosystems please reach out. I would love to have a conversation about this and/or other topics with you. Please feel free to contact me at

Hermann Pereira is chief program officer for Prosper Waco.


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