News & Media

Kelly Ryan Blog: Learning continues for Incourage and Knight Foundation

Wed. Feb 19, 2014

It was our good fortune in 2008 to be selected as one of the first Knight Community Information Challenge grantees. We remain in relationship with the Knight Foundation to this day.

Over the past six years, we’ve learned that at the end of the day, culture is created and sustained by human beings. Therefore, the unit of change in community is the resident… And change happens one person at a time.

The rules of engagement with communities have changed. Our traditional methods of outreach no longer work. “Sit and Get” meetings don’t cut it anymore. We find that one-on-one conversations and relationship building is far more effective, albeit very time and resource consuming. All of our work is now assessed by asking questions about participant learning, co-creation elements and defining the most appropriate role for Incourage.

We have learned that it comes down to the capacity of the human spirit to care about one another, be compassionate and – in our case – be connected by place. To recreate the threads that weave together community.

Helping people connect with their own souls, passions and ownership of place will – in turn – help us reclaim the souls of our communities.

These are some of my comments made earlier this week at Knight Foundation’s Media Learning Seminar in Miami. To watch the plenary video, and learn more go to: Embracing change: Five key lessons from innovative community foundations  

Learn more about Knight’s continued investment in Incourage at: 4 new community information investments focus on high-impact projects

Thanks for reading.

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  • About Incourage

    Established in rural Wisconsin in 1994 to serve the changing needs of the south Wood County area, Incourage has become a nationally-recognized leader in place-based philanthropy and community development. Guided by values of equity, opportunity, and shared stewardship, Incourage envisions a community that works well for all people. One physical manifestation of this vision is the redevelopment of the Tribune building, which demonstrates Incourage’s user-centered approach to growing a strong and inclusive local economy.