From the desk of Harvest Foundation President Kate Keller
Martinsville-Henry County is a community of reinvention. Local industry evolved from farming and tobacco to thriving textile and furniture operations. Now, we’re making our own path in manufacturing, small business, and entrepreneurship. We learned that diversity in thought, industry, and business makes us a stronger community.
In the foundation’s early days, board members largely came from corporate backgrounds and ran the board similarly. The endowment flourished and grants grew significantly, but there was no defined structure for community engagement. Strategic planning happened in-house, and the community looked to Harvest to address many needs.
The more we learn, the more we grow, and we’ve seen substantial progress and an evolution in how we approach our work at Harvest.
We’re steadily moving toward community-engaged leadership, which allows us to dive deep and really meet the needs of residents in MHC. Our last strategic planning progress took nine months and involved community engagement from start to finish. Our priorities should match the community’s priorities.
Why is this important? Developing a community-driven plan gives everyone a voice. We are intentional about who is at the table, which is not always easy. We do what we can to support and lift voices that aren’t always heard.
We won’t always get it right, but we are learning and always open to better ways of serving our community. At our upcoming Project Hope Community Listening Sessions (April 24, 25, 27), tell us what you think, and join us in our mission to build hope and a better tomorrow in MHC.