Pictured above: Harvest President Kate Keller details the foundation’s new strategic plan in January’s virtual press conference
From the desk of Harvest Foundation President Kate Keller
This month we released our new five-year strategic plan. The top line of the plan is building hope. Over the past year, we listened to hundreds of people in our community and a common theme was that people don’t feel hopeful about their own personal future and the future of the community. Seeing hope is like seeing air, you know it’s there but unseen, but very often felt.
One way to return hope to a region is through community connectivity. Over the years, people in the United States have become less engaged in their community and local civic groups. We go to church less. We volunteer less. Engaging in community is how we get to know our neighbors. It’s how we get to see people as people. It reduces seeing our neighbors as strangers or others or those people.
Engaging in community builds our “social capital.” There are more complicated explanations of social capital, but Wikipedia defines it as “the networks of relationships among people who live and work in a particular society, enabling that society to function effectively.” Social capital touches so much of our lives, it helps people find jobs, find homes and of course, build friendships. It’s how communities come together to create a better future for themselves. Over the next five years, Harvest will be looking for and creating opportunities to strengthen and build community connectivity.
If we are going to keep MHC on the path to progress and return it to a community where everyone sees and feels a positive future, we need to do it together. MHC has multiple personalities and perspectives, which is part of our strength and should be reflected in our community narrative.
Martinsville and Henry County’s present and future are connected. We need each other. We are one region, one community — a community of hope.