Part II: Who We Are — Exploring Our Values
From the desk of Harvest Foundation President Kate Keller
In September, I began a three-part series sharing Harvest’s value statements. Earlier this fall, our board completed the strategic planning process by updating the value statements to reflect who we are today. I described the first two, We Choose Hope and We Uphold Integrity Beyond Reproach, in my earlier column. Today, I’m sharing a little more about the next two: We Are Committed To Equity In All We Do and We Advocate For An Inclusive And United Community.
We are committed to equity in all we do. This is a bold statement because at times we will fail at this. I say that because The Harvest Foundation is on its own equity journey and we are committed to learning, trying, failing, and then learning and trying again. As a board and staff, we are continually exploring how equity and inequity show up in our organization and in our work. We are not perfect, nor will we probably ever be, but we are committed to the process and to the journey. This value ensures that we can live the next value.
We advocate for an inclusive and united community. MHC is made up of all kinds of people with varying backgrounds and beliefs. There is room for everyone. When everyone is represented and everyone has opportunities, MHC will thrive and prosper. Our commitment to inclusivity is integrated into how we work and how we want to partner with you.
In our next newsletter, I’ll share our final three values that are guiding Harvest forward. In the meantime, this is the month for giving thanks. I’d like to thank the Harvest staff, board, and all of our community partners for working toward a healthier and more prosperous MHC. Happy Thanksgiving!
United Way puts focus on financial stability, upward mobility
The Harvest Foundation invests $600,000 to meet diverse needs, challenges of low-to-moderate-income individuals in Martinsville-Henry County
Martinsville, Va. — The United Way of Henry County & Martinsville embraces flexibility as the organization looks to improve the economic outlook and stability of low-to-moderate-income individuals throughout Martinsville and Henry County.
The Harvest Foundation recently invested $600,000 over three years in United Way’s “Building a Better Tomorrow” project, a continuum of unique services and opportunities that provide a pathway to financial stability for vulnerable members of the community, and support for those individuals in their efforts to purchase a home.
“We are excited to partner with United Way on the continued growth of their upward mobility efforts,” said Sheryl Agee, senior operating officer at The Harvest Foundation. “Our community is only as strong as each individual who calls MHC home, and the reality is that a percentage of our community don’t always have resources to meet their most basic needs. Building a Better Tomorrow recognizes that each individual has a unique story with diverse needs and challenges, and it meets them where they are on their journey towards stability, financial security, and building a better future.”
Agee added that this project directly aligns with The Harvest Foundation’s strategic plan priority of creating a resilient and diverse economy with the vision that everyone shares in the promise of a healthy and prosperous future.
Join the conversation on Hope
Harvest staff continues DEI (diversity, equity and inclusion) journey with a book study on the complicated lives of those living in poverty
Harvest has spent much of 2022 talking about HOPE; how we plant seeds, build bridges, and how we all work together as a community so that everyone can envision a positive future for themselves.
The reality is, though, not everyone in our community wakes up every day feeling hopeful as poverty continues to be a complicated challenge with many layers we often don’t see or understand. Staff recently read Hand to Mouth: Living in Bootstrap America, an honest perspective from author Linda Tirado on what life is life for tens of millions of America’s low-wage workers who finds themselves living in poverty.
Linda Tirado is an average American who took time, because of her own lived experience, to answer a question on a forum: Why do poor people do things that seem so self-destructive? Her response went viral and spurred her writing the book, which brings home a simple point: “Poverty is not a ‘culture’ or a character defect; it is a shortage of money.”
As staff discussed the book, we found that it often challenged our own perspectives and made us question — Do we have unconscious biases towards people living in poverty? Are we taking time to learn, understand, and ask what can we do to help?
As we continue our equity journey, this will be part of our focus. There is no simple solution to poverty — it’s complicated — but acknowledging that and starting those conversations is a first step. And as a great man once said, “It is better to take a first step and start than to do nothing at all.”
We invite you to walk with us and be part of that conversation.
Fieldale Heritage Revitalization Project receives $1M CDBG Grant from Virginia DHCD
RICHMOND, VA (November 16, 2022) — Governor Glenn Youngkin today announced more than $11.5 million in Community Development Block Grants (CDBG) for 10 projects across the Commonwealth.
The projects will receive funding to rehabilitate housing, improve water and sewer infrastructure and provide facilities for needed services and expand business development support and entrepreneurial ecosystem development services, benefiting more than 700 low- to moderate-income Virginians.
“Community Development Block Grants continue to be an invaluable resource for Virginia communities, offering targeted support to community-identified needs and fostering support for our most vulnerable Virginians,” said Governor Glenn Youngkin. “With these grants, we can make important investments in infrastructure, housing rehabilitation and economic development that will build stronger communities for all across the Commonwealth.”
The federally funded CDBG program has been administered by the Virginia Department of Housing and Community Development since 1982 and annually receives approximately $19 million to distribute to small cities, counties, and towns. Most CDBG grants are awarded through a competitive process with a goal of benefiting low- and moderate-income households.
With these funds, localities can provide infrastructure for new or expanding industries, provide new or improved water and sewer systems in rural areas, rehabilitate housing in declining neighborhoods, revitalize commercial districts, provide support to small businesses and provide facilities for a variety of needed services, such as health clinics in underserved areas.
Henry County applied for the benefit of the Fieldale Heritage Revitalization Project, which received a $1 million grant award. The project will rehabilitate an underutilized historic building in Henry County into a community center that will serve an area wherein 58% of residents classify as low- to moderate-income persons. The community service facility will offer programming and services to help families through outdoor recreation, swimming lessons, gym facilities, senior programming and internet access, and it will be the only such facility in Henry County.
“While each of the 10 awarded projects support vastly different community goals, they all foster strong local partnerships and will help build a stronger Virginia economy,” said Secretary of Commerce and Trade Caren Merrick. “The CDBG program offers the flexibility needed to accommodate the unique needs of the community, while working towards a stronger, more cohesive Commonwealth.”
The Harvest Foundation 20th Anniversary Documentary
Celebrating 20 Years of Serving Martinsville-Henry County
We are thrilled to share with you our documentary celebrating 20 years of serving Martinsville-Henry County. We've seen tremendous changes in our community since our first grants cycle in 2003. There's still much work to be done, but we can all be proud of how far we've come.
There's always something fun to do in
Make an impact in your community. Share your HOPE.
We welcome your voice and ideas at The Harvest Foundation.
Our general responsive grants cycle is open year-round with consideration from our Board of Directors once a quarter. Our PUP Small Grants Program is an open process with decisions made in less than six weeks. The newly announced Project Hope program is about supporting small, grassroots projects with immediate impact.
Give our office a call to schedule an appointment with a program officer.
About The Harvest Foundation:
The Harvest Foundation is a nonprofit organization established in 2002 by the sale of Memorial Hospital. In partnership with the diverse people and organizations that call MHC home, we serve as a long-term catalyst, advocate, and investor to make our community a welcoming place where all can thrive. Our vision is a community where everyone shares in the promise of an MHC that is healthy, prosperous, and vibrant. To date, the foundation has invested more than $150 million in grant dollars back into the community and has an annual grants budget of roughly $10-12 million. To find out more about Harvest, visit www.theharvestfoundation.org.
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