Monday, March 07, 2022
Journalists who chronicled rural America by prop plane will tell the stories of towns transformed through local innovation
|Deborah and Jim Fallows|
Journalists Jim and Deborah Fallows spent five years writing about small towns and their newspapers for The Atlantic, parlaying their their travels via a small plane into a best-selling 2018 book and an HBO documentary. Last year the husband and wife founded the Our Towns Civic Foundation, a nonprofit dedicated to sharing the stories of community innovators who are driving positive change at the local level.
Our Towns is partnering with nonprofit Community Heart & Soul to share stories of renewal in small cities and towns across the nation, and your town could be one of them. CH&S facilitates community growth through training and supporting a network of coaches who help residents identify what they love most about their town, what future they want for it, and how to achieve it.
More than 100 small cities and towns nationwide are using this model, and CH&S is currently offering $10,000 seed grants to qualifying communities (pop. 2,500 to 30,000) that want to start the process too. The grants require a $10,000 cash match from the participating community or a partnering organization. Learn more about the seed grants here.
The Fallowses lauded CH&S in a press release announcing the partnership: “The Community Heart & Soul process is both distinctive and replicable. It guides the way for residents to listen to the stories they tell each other about their towns, to reach common community goals, and to transform those goals into actions for change that can be measured and sustained.”
CH&S Executive Director Mark Sherman, in turn, said the organization is “thrilled” with the partnership: “Storytelling is an integral part of the Community Heart & Soul process, and the Fallowses and their Our Towns team are masterful storytellers. I can think of no two people I would rather have help us spread the word about CH&S than Jim and Deb Fallows.”