How did Vision 2020 get started?

As we approached the turn of the century, a number of individuals and organizations in the Greater Bakersfield area had been looking ahead to the future of our city and neighboring areas. Many had asked what Greater Bakersfield would be like in the years ahead, how well our workforce would be prepared, and what the quality of life would be for all our citizens.

To leverage this future-looking momentum, a group of interested citizens came together in the spring of 1999 and formed a volunteer facilitation team. They began meeting to develop and facilitate an open and inclusive process for the community to create a Vision for the future and an implementable action plan. A non-profit organization, Greater Bakersfield Vision 2020, Inc. was formed; the scope of the process. Was defined and Vision 2020 was introduced to elected officials at the September 13 joint meeting of the Kern County Board of Supervisors and Bakersfield City Council and to the Greater Bakersfield community on September 14, 1999. The four-phase process was completed in 18 months, on time, and under budget, with over 13,000 residents, including our youth, participating. The Action Plan that resulted was handed back to the community for implementation in January 2001.

The community embraced the Vision and took on its implementation. A distinctive "Vision 2020 mindset" emerged which has been instrumental in continuing progress toward the Vision. This mindset is characterized by

  • a spirit of collaboration and working together to solve problems and implement solutions
  • a "can-do" attitude
  • a forward-looking perspective, with the Vision as the goal

In February 2006, a First Quarter Progress Report was released that highlighted progress to date to accomplish the Vision developed by the community in 2000. Community input sessions and web surveys validated the ongoing commitment to the Vision and recommended priorities for the next five-year period.

To encourage success in implementing the Action Plan, Greater Bakersfield Vision 2020 Inc. continues to champion, monitor, and encourage the Action Plan's implementation by the community. Periodically, individuals or organizations are recognized for their contribution to accomplishing the community's Vision with a Spirit of the Vision Awards.