Pennsylvania Humanities Council And Community Heart & Soul Announce New Grant Opportunity For PA-Based Communities

By Community Heart & Soul

PHC and CHS logo

PHILADELPHIA, Pa./SHELBURNE, Vt. (April 15, 2021)—The Pennsylvania Humanities Council (PHC) and Community Heart & Soul, a Vermont-based nonprofit organization, today announced the Community Heart & Soul Seed Grant Program to help PA small cities, townships and boroughs implement the Community Heart & Soul model. The Seed Grant Program provides $10,000 matching grants to resident-led groups in communities with populations of 2,500 to 30,000 to implement the Community Heart & Soul model.

Community Heart & Soul engages the entire population of a town to identify what they love most about their community, what future they want for it, and how to achieve it. Current PA-based Heart & Soul communities include Ambridge, Beaver Falls, Greater Carlisle, Cameron County, Dillsburg, Meadville, Mount Holly Springs, Rochester, Upper Chichester, and Williamsport. Four communities along the historic Route 6, Carbondale, Tidioute, Wyoming County, and Youngsville, were recently announced as the newest members of PHC’s growing network of PA-based Heart & Soul communities.

“Small cities and towns now have access to additional funding to join the growing network of PA-based communities that utilize this inclusive revitalization model to engage everyone and build trust and belonging. Community Heart & Soul uses a humanities-based approach of story gathering and interviews to help residents identify what matters most in their communities and to apply this knowledge in determining their town’s priorities and future.” said Laurie Zierer, Executive Director of the Pennsylvania Humanities Council.

“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 this transformative model,” said Mark Sherman, Community Heart & Soul Executive Director. “Seed Grants provide communities with startup funding to help them initiate the Heart & Soul process.”

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.

The Community Heart & Soul Seed Grant Program is accepting applications on a rolling basis until grant funds are exhausted.

Interested communities are encouraged to visit for more information about the program. Questions about this opportunity can be directed to

About Pennsylvania Humanities Council
The Pennsylvania Humanities Council believes the humanities inspire people to grow their potential and shape an equitable society. We put the humanities in action to create positive change in our lives and communities. Our work is grounded in people and champions their creativity and big ideas. We bring Pennsylvanians together to shape the future through the power of stories, reflection, and relationships. Our programs and grants generate avenues for civic involvement and community development, and for youth and adult learners to strengthen skills for school, work, and personal improvement. We amplify the voices of talented partners and individuals, and we lead a movement to champion and redefine the role the humanities play in our lives.

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.