Midwest Heart & Soul towns highlighted in the media

By Leslie Wright

Aerial image of Bellevue, Iowa with Mississippi River in background
Bellevue, Iowa on the Mississippi River.

Community Heart & Soul® towns in Iowa and Illinois have been in the limelight lately. Cascade and Bellevue in Iowa were featured on an Iowa Public Radio story about how small towns are attracting younger residents—an antidote to so called “brain drain.”

In Illinois, Alece Montez, programs director for Orton, was a guest on the radio program The 21st Show speaking about how Community Heart & Soul helps small cities and towns get past divides and come together.

“To come across what you all have in common is a better place to start than what divides you. We can argue and have debate around our divides until the cows come home, but until we can actually come together around what binds us and bonds us to our communities and what we love about where we live, we can’t work together to move forward.” – Alece Montez, Director of Programs, Orton Family Foundation.

On the program with her was Brittany Grimes, a Leadership Team member on the Galesburg, Illinois, Community Heart & Soul project, Galesburg on Track, and Gisele Hamm who manages the “MAPPING the future of your community” program with the Illinois Institute for Rural Affairs at Western Illinois University.

Listen to the 21st Radio program recording: