What role can the humanities play in community development? A powerful one! The Pennsylvania Humanities Council works with residents across the Commonwealth to incorporate the humanities into community planning processes.
In 2015, we partnered with the Orton Family Foundation to bring the Community Heart & Soul® model to Pennsylvania communities — a proven process that empowers people to shape the future of their communities by creating a shared sense of belonging that improves local decision-making and ultimately strengthens social, cultural and economic vibrancy.
Key to the process is learning what matters most to the community. Communities work to understand the demographics of their community and tailor engagement opportunities to get residents involved in planning for the future – especially those who don’t typically participate in public processes. Residents learn how to gather stories from one another, which becomes the basis for articulating a community’s shared values and developing a unique action plan. As a result, communities become more connected, innovative, competitive, and strong.