April 13, 2016
The Harvest Foundation has adopted a new strategic plan that strengthens its focus on being a resource for economic development and job creation in Martinsville and Henry County.
Since its inception in 2002, the foundation’s focus has been improving the lives of all Martinsville and Henry County citizens by investing in programs and initiatives that address challenges in health, education and community vitality. Now, according to President Allyson Rothrock, the focus of Harvest Foundation will be driven by the goal of putting people back to work.
“Ensuring economic prosperity for the entire community will collectively improve our health, educational opportunity and quality of life,” said Rothrock. “We believe our new strategy will provide the necessary support to community organizations that will enable us to reach even more citizens within our community and help those in need find and maintain meaningful jobs to support their families.”
Harvest will focus on funding projects, initiatives and nonprofits that provide services increasing the availability of jobs, and ensure area citizens have the skills and support to go to work. In Harvest’s role as a resource, the foundation will seek partnerships and relationships to increase direct and leveraged investment in the community.
“Through partnerships with our grantees, many projects to strengthen our economy already are in place,” said Latala Hodges, director of communications at Harvest.
Examples of projects in Martinsville and Henry County with Harvest partners include:
Developing the new strategic plan was a year-long project that started in early 2015. Harvest staff collaborated with many community leaders and partners to gather insight on the needs and opportunities of our community and build a plan that is inclusive with measurable impact.
“The foundation set out to develop a new strategic plan that was not built around the three silos of health, education and community vitality, but instead reflected how the three were entwined and supportive of each other, which is what the foundation’s work over the first decade revealed,” said Sheryl Agee, impact officer and team leader at Harvest.
Agee added, “There was also a strategic focus on developing a plan that included definitive steps to measure the impact of the foundation’s investment. We’re also working with partners in the community to determine if our projects were truly moving the needle in addressing needs within our area.”
Harvest is a funding organization, “but that’s not all we are,” said Hodges. “If our area’s nonprofits don’t succeed, that means Harvest is not succeeding. We are here as a resource to help our local nonprofits be the very best they can be, and deliver on their mission. Whether it’s technical assistance, developing potential partnerships and relationships, or being a convener for community organizations, we’re here to help.”
Making sure the community understands the foundation’s direction and knows Harvest is committed to working with citizens to grow Martinsville and Henry County is important to Harvest leadership and the staff, according to David Stone, treasurer of the Harvest Board of Directors and chairman of the Communications and Advocacy Committee.
“Board members were directly involved with the staff from the beginning in creating the foundation’s new strategic plan,” Stone said. “As a business owner in Martinsville and Henry County, focusing on our area’s economic prosperity is very important to me. It’s exciting to see more organizations within our community take on this mission and support our local workforce.”
Christopher Beeler, chairman of the Harvest Foundation Board of Directors, added, “Our community deserves the very best chance at reaching its full potential with a highly educated and well-trained workforce. Over the past year, Harvest staff and the board of directors worked tremendously hard to analyze where we’ve been, where we’re going and what we want to accomplish as a foundation for our community. Moving forward, we think our new focus on economic development will have the most benefit for citizens of Martinsville and Henry County.”
In addition to its major funding cycle in the fall, Harvest also has other opportunities for grantees in the form of Pick Up the Pace! (PUP!) grants and grants from the Harvest Youth Board.
PUP! grants are intended to help seed new and innovative projects within the community, and to encourage collaborative thinking, brainstorming and partnerships that lead to positive change in Martinsville and Henry County. Approved grants for six-month projects can receive up to $10,000.
PUP! grants jumpstart ideas that solve community challenges. They have real impact and utilize Harvest as more than a financial resource, which can turn passionate ideas into viable and sustainable assets for Martinsville and Henry County.
Harvest board and staff members believe every generation can make great contributions to the community. To give a voice to the youth and expand inclusiveness, the Harvest Youth Board was formed in 2015 and is made up of area high school students. The Youth Board provides grants of $2,500 that must have a measurable impact on local youth. They are voted on and approved by youth board members on a rolling basis.
To find out more, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
1. Workforce – To encourage economic growth in Martinsville/Henry County and to meet the workforce needs of area businesses, the Harvest Foundation will support programs and initiatives that increase the number of individuals with the skills, resources and qualifications to enter the workforce.
2. Investment – To spur economic growth in Martinsville/Henry County, the Harvest Foundation will support programs and initiatives that lead to increased investment into MHC resulting in an increase in the overall MHC tax base.
3. Advocacy – The Harvest Foundation will advocate for collaborative partnerships and innovative solutions that increase leveraged investment in MHC for community projects and programs that support economic development.
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