Community Heart & Soul aims to inspire you to become part of positive change in your community.

The Orton Family Foundation’s mission is to give residents the power to make their communities stronger and more economically vibrant. The way we do this is through Community Heart & Soul. The foundation developed and field-tested Community Heart & Soul specifically for towns and small cities with populations less than 50,000.We are different from other community development models because:

  • Heart & Soul is rightsized specifically for towns and small cities.
  • The approach is not cookie-cutter. Heart & Soul is a guide designed to accommodate the unique character of each the community and the people who live there.
  • The work is face-to-face. Community engagement, in the many forms that we encourage it, gets people out and meeting one another. As a result, relationships are built, new leaders emerge, and volunteerism grows.
  • Heart & Soul is data-driven. All of our community engagement, from story gathering to comments on sticky notes, generates data that is analyzed through our purpose-built system. That data provides a clear picture of what residents value most about their town.
  • Heart & Soul is action-oriented. But we start with connections. Connections lead to relationships and trust, which leads to sharing of experiences and ideas, which become the basis for actions that the entire community supports.

Community Heart & Soul in Maine
Small cities and towns in Maine have been involved in Community Heart & Soul from the beginning.

In Orton’s early development of the community development model, Biddeford and Gardiner were both selected as pilot towns. Today, residents in nine communities encompassing 12 towns in Maine have undertaken Community Heart & Soul. These are among 75+ towns in 15 states across the country. Here is a list of Community Heart & Soul towns in the state from December 2019:

  • Bethel, Mahoosuc Heart & Soul, 2016-2018
  • Biddeford, Heart of Biddeford, 2008-2010
  • Bucksport, Bucksport Heart & Soul, 2016-2018
  • Chesea, 2019-
  • Damariscotta, Heart & Soul Community Planning, 2008-2010
  • Dexter, 2019-
  • Gardiner, Heart & Soul Gardiner, 2012-2014
  • Greenwood, Mahoosuc Heart & Soul, 2016-2018
  • Newry, Mahoosuc Heart & Soul, 2016-2018
  • Rockland, Rockland Heart & Soul, 2016-2018
  • Sidney, 2019-
  • Woodstock, Mahoosuc Heart & Soul, 2016-2018

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