FUNDING ACCELERATES POST-PANDEMIC RECOVERY in SMALL CITIES and TOWNS
Shelburne, Vt. (August 5, 2021) — Community Heart & Soul is pleased to award its first three $10,000 Seed Grants to Akron and Westfield, Iowa; Cambridge, Illinois; and Winchendon, Massachusetts. The Community Heart & Soul Seed Grant Program funds resident-driven groups in small cities and towns working to revitalize their communities by undertaking the Community Heart & Soul process.
All three awardees have the potential to transform their community through Community Heart & Soul, a resident-driven community development process that leads to increased local pride, more viable economic development projects, and stronger community connections. Awardees provide matching funds and work with Heart & Soul Coaches to launch community development efforts using the Community Heart & Soul process.
“Small cities and towns have an opportunity to emerge from the pandemic with a brighter, more prosperous future,” said Mark Sherman, Community Heart & Soul Executive Director. “Our Seed Grants accelerate the adoption of Community Heart & Soul so that more communities can use the proven model now, when it is needed most.”
The cities of Akron and Westfield are supporting the use of Community Heart & Soul throughout the Akron-Westfield Community School District in northwest Iowa. “During the pandemic, many folks have realized how good we have it here. There are new businesses opening and our community is excited to build on the positive momentum through the Community Heart & Soul process,” said Akron resident Lisa Harris.
The Village of Cambridge was beginning to embark on a community planning effort when they found the Community Heart & Soul Seed Grant Program. The timing was perfect to use the model to guide their efforts. “The pandemic has amplified the need for community involvement to reenergize the area,” says John Taylor, board member, Village of Cambridge, Illinois.
HEAL Winchendon, a community movement to improve the health and quality of life for residents of Winchendon, Massachusetts, formed a steering committee to guide the implementation of Community Heart & Soul throughout the town of 10,841. “I hope that ‘Winchendon Working Together’, the words on the signs as you enter town, becomes more of a reality with more people finding or having ways to effectively work with others on ideas, opportunities, needs that they care about,” said Winchendon resident Jane LaPointe.
Additional grants are available for interested communities. Applications are accepted on a rolling basis. Learn more at: www.communityheartandsoul.org/seed-grants/.
About Community Heart & Soul
Community Heart & Soul®, a nonprofit organization, builds stronger, healthier, and more economically vibrant small cities and towns across the United States. In addition to promoting the Community Heart & Soul model, the organization trains and supports a nationwide network of Certified Community Heart & Soul Coaches who provide training and guidance to over 100 local communities.