Sister County Guidelines

Evaluation Criteria

The County of Santa Clara Board of Supervisors will use the following criteria adopted on August 13, 2002, to evaluate Sister County requests.  However, it reserves the right to waive any or all criteria as desired to serve underserved populations.  County staff will evaluate a Sister County Affiliation Application based on the following criteria:

1. Community Characteristics

A. Communities with Similar Characteristics -- Similar characteristics might include: population size; sizeable country of origin residents; similar geographic location (i.e., bay, hills, valley); educational and cultural resources; technological and economic base.

B. Communities in Countries of Origin -- The Board may give preferential consideration to groups reflecting a substantial segment of the County’s immigrant population.  Thus, this factor might offset differences in characteristics.  In such instances, to ensure the objectives of the Sister County program are met, the local committee could be required to demonstrate broad-based community support beyond country of origin participants.

C. Substantially Different Communities -- The Board may create a Sister County partnership with a community that is substantially different in characteristics for the purpose of broadening community understanding of diverse cultures.

D. Combination Criteria -- The Board may elect to consider communities that have a combination of the identified characteristics.

2. Commitment of Sponsoring Local Committee

A. At least 15 residents with a demonstrable commitment to establish and nurture a Sister County relationship are to form a sponsoring local committee.

B. Local commitment must be clear and include documented broad-based community support, representing individuals, community-based and business organizations in both cities. 

3. Political Ease of Partnership

A. Clear indication of ease of partnership.  Factors will include economic conditions, level of government bureaucracy, major language barriers, if current sister-community relationships exist, are they successful? Would the partnership be conducive to a mutually beneficial relationship? 

B. How is the proposed Sister County addressing its human service issues and needs?  Has it put in place “best practices”?  Is there a liberal/restrictive trade climate?  Are local businesses engaged in international activity? Are there hospitals, educational institutions, sports teams? Is there a US diplomatic presence?  The information provided must be documented.

4. Funding Support for Working Capital

The local committee is required to identify and describe funding sources to support the program beyond the County of Santa Clara funds, for at least the first two years of the program. 

It is recommended that a working capital fund be established in the range of  $15,000-25,000 prior to final approval.  A threshold requirement may be raising one-third of the funds within the first six months of the application period.

5. Vision and Understanding of the Commission’s Role

The local committee’s affiliation application will include an initial 18-month work plan for accomplishing its goals and objectives.  The committee will be required to complete the first six months of its work plan to meet the threshold requirement demonstrating its ability to support the Sister County formation.

6. Compliance with SCI Guidelines

Consistent with Sister Cities International Guidelines, Santa Clara County will evaluate proposed jurisdictions that do not have an existing Sister County partnership with another U.S. county; in cases where another relationship does exist, Santa Clara County would have to seek agreement from that U.S. community.

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