PROGRAM: Pennsylvania Heart & Soul Communities

Presented by:
Pennsylvania Humanities Council
Local Partner: Foundations Subject: Cross-Cultural Understanding, Other, Varies Audience: All

What role can the humanities play in community development, asks the Pennsylvania Humanities Council… A powerful one!

The Pennsylvania Humanities Council is currently working with residents in Carlisle, Easton, Meadville, and Williamsport to incorporate elements of the humanities into their planning processes. All four communities are using the Orton Family Foundation’s Community Heart & Soul method as a framework.

In 2015, in order to achieve the greatest impact and broadest reach through humanities-based community development, the council partnered with the Orton Family Foundation to bring its Community Heart & Soul method to Pennsylvania communities. Heart & Soul is a proven process that empowers people to share the future of their communities by creating a shared sense of belonging that improves local decision-making and ultimately strengthens social, cultural, and economic vibrancy.

Key to the process is learning what matters to the community through gathering stories and engaging as many residents as possible, including those who typically don’t participate in public processes.