"What is right? What is just? What is for the public good?" A sense of social justice inspired Joseph Howe to make this province the best it could be for its citizens in the 1800s. In late 2004, community members representing residents, business, health, community services, voluntary sector, and government formed a non-profit organization The Public Good Society of Dartmouth to make our community the best it can be for the people who live, work and play here. They set as a mission: "To work together and share our resources and knowledge to better address complex social issues facing our community."

The originating group recognized that working together and pooling their resources and knowledge would better address complex social issues facing the Dartmouth area. Steering committee members and resource people included local community health board coordinators, a developer, educator, provincial MLA, two municipal councilors, Department of Community Service officials, social policy analyst, and non-profit board chair. Their leadership, hard work and willingness to take a non-traditional approach, were instrumental in moving the concept and good will forward into action.

Committed to informed decision-making, developing partnerships, and building on what's working in the community, The Public Good Society is becoming a catalyst for positive change. Not only is the group raising awareness and understanding about the root causes of social issues, it is helping to identify gaps in service and policy and to broaden support services for vulnerable persons. Improved coordination of community-based services delivered by all levels of government and the voluntary sector is a more efficient use of human and financial resources.

In 2006 The Public Good Society undertook a Core Service User Survey of consumers in Downtown Dartmouth. We wanted to hear first-hand about the well-being of those surveyed and where the gaps in services might be. This initial project was funded by Service Canada. The survey results and recommendations were widely shared.

Based on this information and the expressed wishes of the respondents, the Board of Directors developed a proposal titled Connections that WORK. It was successfully presented to the Canada – Nova Scotia Skills and Learning Framework and received 2007-08 provincial funding. This project supports many of the survey respondents to access upgrading and work opportunities.

The Public Good Society was registered under the Nova Scotia Societies Act in 2006 and is currently in the process of expanding its Board of Directors.