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Posted by JoAnn Turnquist

Creating Community Connections

August 30, 2018

Foundation News, Giving Better, In the Midlands, Love Where You Live, Making a Difference

In order to build a welcome and open community we must bring people together - older people, families with children, young adults without children, racial and ethnic minorities, and people of all faiths.

Knight Soul of the Community (SOTC) was a three-year study of the 26 John S. and James L. Knight Foundation communities across the United States. Conducted by Gallup in 2008, 2009, and 2010, a period of severe financial crisis combined with a deep recession, the study employed a fresh approach to determining the factors that attach residents to their communities.

The study compared residents’ attachment levels to the communities’ GDP growth and showed a significant correlation between community attachment and economic growth. In fact, the findings showed that nationwide economic troubles did not have a notable impact on attachment locally. The findings showed that cities with the highest levels of attachment had the highest rate of GDP growth. 

The attributes that created an emotional attachment – in every city, every year – were not surprising.  Welcoming communities, vibrant social offerings, and superb public places continue to generate attachment and contribute to the growth of a community.

Our region has made great strides in building splendid outdoor spaces and introducing dynamic social offerings.  Central Carolina Community Foundation’s Connected Communities grants have funded many of these initiatives and we have worked closely with the organizations that created them.  Tackling “welcoming community,” however, is a bit more complicated – especially when 65% of Americans say the national mood is “everyone for themselves”* and 69% report a severe civility deficit in our nation**. 

In order to build a welcome and open community we must bring people together - older people, families with children, young adults without children, racial and ethnic minorities, and people of all faiths - to increase understanding and build relationships.  We must learn from one another and work together so our region, and everyone in it, reaches their full potential.

When we invite others to our table, we create a space for mutual understanding and partnership. On the Table takes that concept to scale.  On Wednesday, October 24thour Foundation will launch On the Table, a conversation initiative designed to take people to offices, schools, libraries, restaurants, and other spaces where they will meet others, break bread, share ideas, and explore ways to improve our region. The conversations will foster exciting new relationships, elevated civic conversations, and genuine pathways toward collaborative action – outcomes that will make our communities more connected, resilient, and resourceful.

Your involvement can lead to a stronger, more vibrant, and welcoming community that boasts energized and growing neighborhoods and one that is engaged, equitable, and connected from end-to-end. Please join us at the table!

All the best,

JoAnn M. Turnquist

President & CEO

*The Economist/YouGov Poll June, 2017

**Civility in America 2018: Civility at Work and in Our Public Squares

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