Major Support Heading To Four Communities Along Route 6 Corridor

February 3, 2021

PHC And Partners Bringing Up To $600,000 In Funding, Training And Technical Support To Carbondale, Youngsville, Wyoming County, and Tidioute

The Pennsylvania Humanities Council (PHC) has partnered with the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development (DCED) and the PA Route 6 Alliance to support Carbondale, Youngsville, Wyoming County, and Tidioute along their paths to becoming stronger, more vibrant communities using Community Heart & Soul®, a humanities-based approach to community and economic development. Additional support is provided by the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR).

Through this unique partnership among government agencies and state and regional nonprofits, PHC is providing training and technical support valued at an estimated $50,000 per year to each town in partnership with the Community Heart & Soul national staff. In addition, the communities may receive up to $25,000 per year in combined funding over the course of two years from PHC, DCED, PA Route 6 Alliance, and DCNR for a total investment valued at up to $150,000 per community.

Since 2015, PHC has worked to bring Community Heart & Soul®, a model originally pioneered by Orton Family Foundation, to communities across Pennsylvania. Carbondale, Youngsville, Wyoming County, and Tidioute join the towns of Ambridge, Beaver Falls, Rochester, Dillsburg, Upper Chichester, Cameron County, Greater Carlisle, Mount Holly Springs, Meadville, and Williamsport.

“The humanities have proven a powerful tool for community and economic development in Pennsylvania,” said Laurie Zierer, PHC’s executive director. “Despite the present challenges, our resilient Community Heart & Soul towns are finding innovative and safe ways to engage residents, build relationships, honor homegrown talents and assets, and reclaim and reshape their communities.” 

“Our mission at DCED is to provide resources to help our communities flourish,” said Rick Vilello, DCED’s Deputy Secretary of Community Affairs and Development. “This partnership with the Pennsylvania Humanities Council and the Heart and Soul project will serve to strengthen efforts already underway in these communities, making them better places to live, work, and play.”

PHC will provide overall training to the Route 6 cohort on using the humanities as a tool for community planning. Communities will learn how to gather residents’ stories, develop unique town values, and create an action plan for the future. In addition, each town is matched with an official Community Heart & Soul® coach, a trained professional tasked with mentoring the community through the planning process. As a result, communities work together to become more connected, resourceful, and resilient. 

“With its vast natural, cultural, scenic, recreational, and historical resources, the Pennsylvania Route 6 Heritage Corridor is primed for growth,” said Candace Hillyard, executive director of the PA Route 6 Alliance. “I am thrilled to see Community Heart & Soul® come to the region, which will put residents first in planning for their future.”

Called “one of America’s most scenic drives” by National Geographic, the Route 6 Heritage Corridor traverses the northern tier of Pennsylvania from Ohio to New York. At over 400 miles, it is the longest highway segment in the Commonwealth.

Community Heart & Soul® will start in all four locations in March of 2021.

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