1. Biddeford, a former mill town in southern Maine, recently shed its stigma as a "trash town" after city council decided to purchase and shut down the incinerator that anchored the downtown for a quarter century. A Community Heart & Soul™ project focused on involving everyone in determining the city's future helped catalyze that momentous change that proved to be a turning point.

    In the past seven years, Biddeford, population 21,000, has seen over $20 million invested in the downtown. The city's iconic mill buildings are being redeveloped and vacant storefronts are filling with shops. See how Heart & Soul sparked change in Biddeford.

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  2. Alece Montez-Griego, Orton Family Foundation director of programs and Meagan Picard, Orton senior associate, lead an interactive webinar that will give participants insight into what makes Community Heart & Soul a powerful, results-oriented and successful approach to community development and planning. Researched and field tested for more than a decade, Community Heart & Soul increases participation in local decision-making and empowers residents to shape their communities to uphold the unique character of each place based on what matters most to them. This hour-long overview is the first in a series of four online trainings this yea

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  3. Children from Colorado's North Fork Valley stand up to stereotypes. This short video is part of a larger production funded by a grant from the Orton Family Foundation in conjunction with the region's Community Heart & Soul project. Theater director and filmmaker Merrily Talbott worked with middle and high school students to create a performing arts piece about stereotypes, respect and inclusion. The stage production, "Hippies & Rednecks Unite!" included a short film featuring over 60 area young people reciting poems they had written about their personal experiences with stereotypes. A performance and screening at the local theater was a major success, stimulating dialogue among students and adults. Merrily and the cast continue to bring the production to more communities, and are seeking funding and communities in which to further the work. Contact paoniaplayers@gmail.com for more information.

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  4. As Laconia, N.H., begins their Community Heart & Soul process as "Reimagining Laconia," they are using video to inform their community about the process

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  5. In this Heart & Soul Minute video Donna McNeil, former director of the Maine Arts Commission, discusses what happens when Community Heart & Soul™ breaks down communication “silos” in a place and people start talking about what matters most.

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Orton Family Foundation

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