South Carolina Governor Henry McMaster Proclaims Community Heart & Soul Day

By Community Heart & Soul

Community Heart & Soul day proclaimed in South Carolina, picture of proclamation signed by Governor

Shelburne, Vt. (December 6, 2023) — Building on the state’s success with Community Heart & Soul, a process for engaging residents in charting the future of their communities, South Carolina Governor Henry McMaster issued a proclamation yesterday in support of more South Carolinians learning about the method for improving their communities.

Community Heart & Soul is a resident-driven process that 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. Currently, over 100 small cities and towns across the country practice the Community Heart & Soul process, including four in the Palmetto State – Fort Lawn, Kershaw, Great Falls, and Manning.

Manning Heart & Soul held a celebration Tuesday evening, coinciding with the state’s Community Heart & Soul Day. Residents shared what they love about Manning, including the small-town feel, friendly people and community events. Attendees also got a first look at the Manning Heart & Soul Community Action Plan, a guide for future action based on what matters most to residents. The celebration culminated with Certified Community Heart & Soul Coach Jim Manning reading the Governor’s proclamation.

Manning joins other Heart & Soul communities in the state that are seeing significant results from the process. In Kershaw, residents partnered with the town to redevelop a vacant downtown building. The former bank now houses the Clyburn Early Childhood Center, offering a variety of childcare and early education options for the surrounding community—services that align with the Kershaw value statements and Community Collaboration Action Plan that derived from the Heart & Soul process. Fort Lawn reinvigorated its community center, establishing new programs and services based on what matters most to residents, as highlighted in the Fort Lawn Heart & Soul action plan, “Fort Lawn 29714 Zip Code Revitalized.” Great Falls is working to become a hub for nature-based tourism, as it reimagines how the Catawba River can be a source of economic growth and stability. Great Falls Heart & Soul is currently engaged in story-gathering, to ensure resident input in decisions about the town’s future.

Building Stronger Communities Through Partnership

Community Heart & Soul first came to South Carolina in 2016 through a strategic partnership with the Lancaster-based Arras Foundation. With President and CEO Susan DeVenny at the helm, the foundation was looking for ways to be more intentional about hearing from community members and incorporating their ideas into grantmaking priorities. The Arras Foundation provided funding and staff support for three of the four South Carolina Heart & Soul towns. “We are grateful for the Governor’s recognition of the accomplishments of Heart & Soul towns in South Carolina and for what Community Heart & Soul can do for other communities in our state.” said Susan DeVenny, President and CEO of the Arras Foundation, “We look forward to many more opportunities to continue to build stronger communities and towns.”

The continued success of Community Heart & Soul in South Carolina is made possible because of the ongoing support of Arras Foundation and other philanthropic and nonprofit organizations including the Central Carolina Community Foundation.

“We are delighted that South Carolina communities are being recognized for their efforts to improve the quality of life for residents using the Community Heart & Soul model,” said Mark Sherman, President of Community Heart & Soul. “The Governor’s Proclamation is an important recognition of how South Carolinians are coming together, with support from established organizations, to make a difference in small cities and towns across the state.”

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. The organization is currently offering $10,000 Seed Grants to qualifying small cities and towns to start the Community Heart & Soul process.