About the Heart & Soul® Towns
No matter where you live, there is something to love about the place you call home. Yet, the common narrative about small towns focuses on what is wrong or what needs to be fixed—vacant storefronts, political differences, young people moving away.
Hear how three Heart & Soul® towns are renewing community spirit by drawing on their unique history and heritage and, in turn, sparking revitalization.
Delilah Poupore, executive director, Heart of Biddeford, Biddeford, Maine
A former textile mill town, Biddeford struggled with stagnant population growth and limited job opportunities. Biddeford’s renaissance began when residents used the Community Heart & Soul® model to create a forward-looking plan that took stock of the town’s unique history and what mattered most to everyone. As the executive director of the Heart of Biddeford, Delilah has played a pivotal role both in implementing the Downtown Master Plan and maintaining momentum beyond the plan’s completion.
Alice Trowbridge, project coordinator, Heart of Williamsport, Williamsport, Pennsylvania
Downtown Williamsport is booming—attracting a younger population along with nightlife and art galleries. However, the city’s outlying neighborhoods are still struggling economically. Alice heads up the Heart of Williamsport project, which is collecting stories from all neighborhoods to bridge divides and provide opportunities for every resident.
Janeane Hopkins, Heart & Soul Team member, McComb Region Heart & Soul, McComb, Ohio
Not long ago, McComb had a vibrant downtown with thriving local businesses. When the town’s anchor retail store closed, it left a hole on Main Street and in the local economy. By drawing on memories of the past while looking toward the future, Community Heart & Soul is renewing a sense of hope. Today, residents are investing in existing businesses and starting new ones, contributing to a new chapter for McComb.
About the Orton Family Foundation
The Orton Family Foundation is focused on building stronger, healthier and more economically vibrant small cities and towns across America. Founded in Vermont in 1995, the foundation devoted more than a decade to working with small towns to develop a community development model that empowers residents to shape the future of their communities.
Community Heart & Soul® projects are underway across the country creating positive change that is resident-driven and recognizes the value in the unique character of each place and the deep emotional connection of the people who live there.
As part of our efforts to promote training and professional development opportunities in the tourism industry, our Industry Opportunities section highlights various events and programs that are relevant to tourism professionals. If your organization offers training programs and other professional development opportunities, and would like to spread the word through the TrainingAid network, please let us know (media [at] trainingaid.org)!