What is Community Heart & Soul?
Community Heart & Soul is a resident-driven process that engages the entire population of a town in identifying what they love most about their community, what future they want for it, and how to achieve it.
Developed and field-tested over a decade in partnership with over 90 small cities and towns across America, Community Heart & Soul is a proven process for engaging a community in shaping its future.
Community Heart & Soul guides town decision making
In the next Heart & Soul Minutes video, hear from Susan Lessard, Town Manager of Bucksport, ME…Read More
Gardiner was hard hit by the steady decline of manufacturing in Maine, losing employers, jobs, and population. In 2002, hoping to reverse the city’s fortunes, Gardiner built a business park near the highway. It never filled and amassed more than $1 million in debt. Civic life was also anemic. City council meetings were characterized by a few angry residents showing up to yell and complain. When there were three seats open on the council, only two people ran. Seats on city committees went unfilled. In 2012 the city decided to focus on Community Heart & Soul in partnership with Gardiner Main Street and the Gardiner Board of Trade.Gardiner, Maine
Five Community Development Block Grants
totaling $1.9 million sparked investment and created 55 jobs.
Gardiner Growth Initiative
invested in 5 retail establishments with incentives including forgivable loans, free rent, and grants.
“If you really want to take an in-depth look at what matters to the members of your community and create a stronger, more cohesive community, Heart & Soul’s the way to go.”
— Thom Harnett, former mayor, Gardiner
Community Heart & Soul Towns
From Downeast Maine to the Heartlands to the Pacific Northwest, towns and residents are making change in their communities. Click on the map to see where it’s happening and hear their stories. Let us give you a guided tour through the transformation with Community Heart & Soul.