Grants of $10,000 to USA cities and towns to encourage collaboration among community residents. Funding may be used for project coordination, coaching, and project-related expenses. The goal of the program is to provide start-up funding for resident-led groups in small cities and towns looking to implement the Community Heart & Soul model. Grantees will be invited to join the Heart & Soul Community of Practice to network with other Heart & Soul communities across the country.
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. Developed and field-tested over a decade in partnership with over 90 small cities and towns across America, Community Heart & Soul is a proven process for engaging a community in shaping its future. Based on three powerful principles–involve everyone, focus on what matters most, and play the long game– Community Heart & Soul helps towns move toward a brighter, more prosperous future by bringing the residents of a community closer together. When residents get closer, 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.
Community Heart & Soul is unique in how it engages communities. It is a highly inclusive process that reaches deep into communities to ensure all voices are represented in determining a town’s future. Instead of bringing residents to the table, the table is brought to them at community events, neighborhood block parties, schools, businesses, and virtual gatherings.
Community Heart & Soul is a four-phase, step-by-step process that brings residents together to chart a course forward that recognizes and honors the unique character of their town and the emotional connection of the people who live there.
Phase 1: Imagine
Heart & Soul teams are formed to build awareness, interest, and commitment in all segments of the community and develop a plan to reach everyone.
Phase 2: Connect
Residents develop Heart & Soul Statements that reflect what they love most about their towns and the hopes and goals they share for their towns.
Phase 3: Plan
Residents develop action plans to guide future town planning based on the priorities identified in their Heart & Soul Statements.
Phase 4: Act
Heart & Soul Statements are adopted by town and city councils and incorporated into comprehensive and other plans.