Community Heart & Soul Growth in 2023: New Staff, Coaches and Towns!

By Mark Sherman

President letter 2024 image for blog post

Dear Heart & Soul friends,

I hope this message finds you, your family and friends healthy and safe.

As we embark on the new year, I’d like to take a moment to reflect on some of the things we accomplished last year and share some things we have planned for 2024.

In 2023, we added new Heart & Soul communities in Virginia, Wyoming, Iowa, Illinois, Ohio, Georgia, and Maine. And already in 2024, in collaboration with our partner PA Humanities, we are welcoming five new Heart & Soul communities along the Pennsylvania Route 6 Corridor. All told, this brings the current number of Heart & Soul communities nationwide to 125 (and growing!).

Another impressive statistic: 750,000. That’s the number of people who live in and benefit from Heart & Soul communities across the country. It won’t be long before we reach the 1 million-mark, a milestone that we will surely want to celebrate!

CHS Seed grant press release featured image logo

A key catalyst of growth for Community Heart & Soul has been the introduction of our Seed Grant program, which provides $10,000 in funding to help new communities launch their Heart & Soul initiatives. I’m very pleased to announce that the Seed Grant program is being extended through 2024. Seed Grants, which require a cash match, are available for communities with a population under 30,000. For more information on how to apply for a Seed Grant, visit our Seed Grant Program page here.

In 2023, we added two new staff members: Al Getler, VP of Business Development, and Ian Moran, Senior Program Associate. Al is focused on growing the Heart & Soul partnership network and assisted us in presenting a ‘deep dive’ hands-on Community Heart & Soul workshop at the 2023 annual conference of community foundations in Wichita, KS.

Full house for the Community Heart & Soul session at the Annual National Conference for Growing Community Foundations. Photo credit: Zackery Willis
Mark Sherman, President of Community Heart & Soul presenting at the Annual National Conference for Growing Community Foundations. Photo credit: Zackery Willis
Mark Sherman, President of Community Heart & Soul, along with Jason Neises, Community Heart & Soul Coach and Heart & Soul Coordinator at the Community Foundation of Greater Dubuque and Brian Treece, President & CEO of the Findlay-Hancock County Community Foundation, discussing how community foundations can use their roles as trusted conveners and facilitators to bring people together and strengthen the fabric of the small cities and towns. Photo credit: Zackery Willis
Brian Treece, President & CEO of the Findlay-Hancock County Community Foundation, speaking at the Annual National Conference for Growing Community Foundations about partnering with Community Heart & Soul. Photo credit: Zackery Willis
Attendees at the Community Heart & Soul session participating in the “demographics at the door” exercise at the Annual National Conference for Growing Community Foundations. Photo credit: Zackery Willis

Partners provide valuable support to Heart & Soul communities, acting as conveners, funders, and providing coaching services to the communities they serve. If you are interested in learning more about becoming a Community Heart & Soul partner, please reach out to Al, agetler@communityheartandsoul.org and visit our Partnership page here.

Al Getler, new Community Heart & Soul Vice President of Business development (second from right), with the Arlington Heart & Soul Team in Arlington, Ohio.
Al Getler, new Community Heart & Soul Vice President of Business development (second from right), with the Arlington Heart & Soul Team in Arlington, Ohio.

Ian, a Certified Heart & Soul Coach, works with our growing network of Heart & Soul Coaches, providing training and field-based mentorship. In 2023, we added 15 new Certified Heart & Soul Coaches, who Ian helped train, and now have Coaches based in over 30 states across the US. You can ‘meet’ our Coaches through their profiles on our website here and learn more about our Coach program here.

Ian (middle), along with fellow Coaches Lois Greco (left) and Ira Weissman (right) at the We Are Winslow Heart & Soul Ideas for Action Dinner in New Jersey. Photo credit: EJM Photography

To support the continued growth of Community Heart & Soul, we are adding three positions to our organization: VP of Communications; Market Development Representative; and Program Associate. For more information on these positions, please visit our Careers page here.

As we continue to expand the Heart & Soul network across the United States, we invite you to become a part of a growing movement of small cities and towns that have embraced a new way of doing business by involving everyone, focusing on what matters most, and playing the long game. The benefits of this approach? Long-lasting social and economic change and a renewed sense of local pride and optimism.

Kind regards,

Mark Sherman President of Community Heart & Soul

Mark Sherman
President, Community Heart & Soul