Past Events

  • Citizens' Institute on Rural Design
    Thursday, July 21, 2016 - 3:00pm - 4:00pm Eastern

    This free webinar, co-hosted with the Citizens' Institute on Rural Design™, showcases rural communities that have effectively engaged diverse voices in shaping community design projects. Speakers will share how they identified and engaged diverse perspectives, formed partnerships, and what doors opened as a result.

    Speakers include: 

    • Shane Hale, city manager, Cortez, Colorado
    • Joseph Kunkel, executive director, Sustainable Native Communities Collaborative and Enterprise Rose Architectural Fellow 
    • Liesel Fenner, public art program director, Maryland State Arts Council

    Watch the recording:



  • Heart & Soul Talks
    Thursday, June 23, 2016 - 3:00pm - 4:00pm Eastern

    Community Heart & Soul™ is a two-year community development method that calls for broad and deep resident engagement.

    It's been called a "positive disruptive force" in the towns that sign on. In this free 60-minute talk you'll hear how Heart & Soul projects got results, both short- and long-term and helped create brighter futures for small towns in Colorado, Maine, and Vermont. Speakers include, Liz Subin of Essex, Vermont; Pat Hart of Gardiner, Maine, and Saoirse Charis-Graves of Golden, Colorado.

    Heart & Soul Talks: Heart & Soul Works!, 3-4 p.m.,Thursday, June 23.

    Listen to the recording:


  • Conference Session
    Wednesday, June 22, 2016 - 1:00pm - 2:15pm Eastern

    This session will focus on two Colorado communities, the City of Golden and the City of Cortez, and their participation in the Orton Family Foundation’s Community Heart & Soul™ program. Hear from presenters Shane Hale, Cortez city manager; Saoirse Charis-Graves, Golden councilmember; and Alexis Halbert, Orton Family Foundation senior associate.

    This session is part of the Colorado Municipal League’s annual conference.

    Learn more. 

  • Heart & Soul Training
    Thursday, May 26, 2016 - 3:00pm - 4:00pm Eastern

    Take Action is the final phase in Community Heart & Soul™. Learn how to implement lasting changes towards a brighter future based on the plans created in Phase 3. Phase 4 is where the rubber meets the road—from creating a Stewardship Team to mobilizing resources and following through—and it’s fun!


    Join Orton Programs Director Alece Montez-Griego and Senior Associate Sara Lightner for this free 60-minute webinar.


  • Conference Session
    Wednesday, May 25, 2016 - 10:45am - 12:00pm Eastern

    Are you seeking more community involvement in your Main Street program? Or is your community getting ready for a Main Street program?

    Main Street directors, Main Street coordinators, organization committee members, and board members will benefit from learning about Community Heart & Soul™, a resident-driven community development method that engages whole communities—from residents to business owners to municipal government—in developing a vision, creating a strategic plan, and following through with measurable action.

    Hear from two Main Street directors, Delilah Poupore and Patrick Wright, about how Heart & Soul synced up with their programs while supercharging a downtown master plan, increasing volunteerism, boosting fundraising ability, and rallying the whole community around their historic downtowns!

    In this session, you will learn the core principles of the method, with interactive, lively discussion highlighting the effective and innovative engagement techniques at the heart of Community Heart & Soul. You’ll leave armed with new ideas and inspired to learn more about this field-tested approach that brings residents together to make meaningful and lasting change.

    Learn more. 

  • |
    Friday, May 20, 2016 - 12:00pm - 1:00pm Eastern

    The University of Wisconsin Cooperative Extension’s Center for Community and Economic Development has partnered with the Center for Land Use Education (UW-Stevens Point) and the Wisconsin Chapter of the American Planning Association to present a new monthly community development-focused webinar series. 

    The second event in this series will be held on May 20 and will introduce extension professionals to Community Heart & Soul™.

    This hour-long webinar features staff from the Orton Family Foundation: Alece Montez-Griego, director of programs, and Gabrielle Ratté Smith, senior associate for strategic partnerships.

    Space is limited. The cost to participate is $30.


  • Conference Session
    Friday, May 20, 2016 - 9:00am - 10:15am Eastern

    Find us at the Maine Association of Planners (MAP) Annual Meeting and Conference for Orton Family Foundation Reunion Panel: Years Later, How Has Community Heart & Soul™ Changed Engagement in Your Community?

    The panel, moderated by Caitlyn Davison, Orton Family Foundation associate, features representatives from Biddeford, Damariscotta, and Gardiner who will share their stories including how:

    • Heart & Soul primed the pump for $78 million in downtown investment in Biddeford
    • Damariscotta residents found common ground and shared values that are guiding waterfront redevelopment
    • Local government and the private sector are working together in Gardiner, including creation of a food co-op that enlivens downtown and supports local growers

    Please join us from 9-10:15 a.m. on Friday, May 20 in downtown Waterville. $35 for MAP members, $45 for non-members. 

  • Citizens' Institute on Rural Design
    Thursday, April 21, 2016 - 3:00pm - 4:00pm Eastern

    Many rural communities and small towns are rediscovering their recreational and scenic assets and are looking for ways to leverage these assets to boost economic development and community pride.

    This webinar highlights great examples of rural trail projects that link people to place and reconnect the human and natural environments—providing access to nature and preserving sensitive ecosystems, while promoting local economic and cultural assets. Register now for this free event and submit your questions.


    Co-hosted by the Orton Family Foundation and Citizens' Institute on Rural Design.

    Watch the recording: 

  • Conference Session
    Saturday, April 9, 2016 - 1:30pm - 2:30pm Eastern

    Find us at the peer learning forum on rural philanthropy at the Council on Foundations' 2016 Annual Conference.

    Orton staff will join other foundation leaders in presenting on-the-ground stories about advancing family, business, community, and sector economic success. This session is a pre-conference event hosted as part of the Council on Foundation's 2016 Annual Conference: The Future of Community – Identity. Purpose. Place.

    Learn more

  • Heart & Soul Talks
    Thursday, March 24, 2016 - 7:00pm - 8:00pm Eastern

    Storytelling is a powerful way to broadly engage a community and hear from voices that often go unheard. Hear how storytelling has brought residents together, bridged long-standing divides, and ultimately helped community foundations make positive, lasting, and meaningful impact.

    This free, 60-minute conversation is co-sponsored by Council on Foundations and Orton Family Foundation and focuses on storytelling in the Community Heart & Soul™ method of community development.

    With guests Nancy Van Milligen, president and chief executive, Community Foundation of Greater Dubuque in Iowa; Katherine Kreuchauf, president of the Findlay-Hancock County Community Foundation in Ohio, Jason Neises, Heart & Soul coordinator, Community Foundation of Greater Dubuque, and Monica Palmquist, a community organizer who served on her town’s Heart & Soul Team in Cortez, Colorado. Hosted by Fran Stoddard of the Orton Family Foundation.

    "Our foundation has been leading effective community engagement since 2005. We believe strongly that local decision making is key to building strong, sustainable communities. With Orton's experience, support, and resources like the Community Heart & Soul Field Guide, we see an opportunity to move our work from good to great." Nancy Van Milligen, president and chief executive officer, Community Foundation of Greater Dubuque, Dubuque, Iowa.


    Council on Foundations Logo

    Orton Family Foundation Logo