Announcing New Grant Program

By Community Heart & Soul

CHS Seed Grant town scene image


SHELBURNE, Vt. (February 10, 2021)—Community Heart & Soul today announced its new Community Heart & Soul Seed Grant Program, a funding opportunity for small cities and towns nationwide. The Community Heart & Soul Seed Grant Program provides startup funding of $10,000 for resident-driven groups in communities with populations of 2,500 to 30,000 to implement the Community Heart & Soul model. The Community Heart & Soul model 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.

“Small cities and towns across the U.S. have opportunities to build a brighter, more prosperous future but often need an initial boost to get started,” said Mark Sherman, Community Heart & Soul Executive Director. “With the Community Heart & Soul Seed Grant Program, we are working to accelerate the growth and adoption of Community Heart & Soul so that even more communities can make use of the proven model.”

Community Heart & Soul is a nonpartisan, community engagement process that brings residents together to chart a better future based on what matters most in their communities. A highly inclusive process, Community Heart & Soul reaches deep into communities to ensure all voices, including those that are often hidden or missing, are represented in determining a town’s future. Grant recipients will have the potential to transform their community through Community Heart & Soul, leading to increased local pride, more viable economic development projects, and stronger community connections.

According to Lyman Orton, Founder and Chair, “When residents get closer, the differences tend to fade and the things they care most about replace the differences. Trust is built and residents become more collaborative in their decision-making and stronger believers in their communities. People continue to stay in their communities, new people move in, and investment in towns increases.”

The Community Heart & Soul Seed Grant program is accepting applications on a rolling basis beginning February 10, 2021 until grant funds are exhausted. Interested communities are encouraged to attend an informational webinar on February 17, 2021. For more information and to register visit:

About Community Heart & Soul
Founded by Lyman Orton, proprietor of The Vermont Country Store, Community Heart & Soul is a nonprofit organization whose mission is to establish and promote a community practice that engages all residents within a community in determining what matters most to the people who live there and uses their ideas and aspirations as the blueprint for a better future. The Community Heart & Soul model has been field-tested in over 90 communities across the U.S. Orton established Community Heart & Soul after serving on his town’s planning commission and growing frustrated that decisions being made that would shape the town’s future were without guidance from the majority of the residents.

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