Simba Cam, Macaroni Dioramas, and the Oxford Comma

Simba Cam, Macaroni Dioramas, and the Oxford Comma

There are two kinds of people in the world—those who use the Oxford comma and those who should.  Not too long ago, I was helping one of my colleagues develop a website that connects volunteer opportunities with volunteers in our Grant County community.  The site can be found at and it’s a great place to go if (a) you’re a non-profit who needs some extra volunteer help or (b) you’d like to volunteer and need to find the volunteer opportunities that fit the type of help you’d like to give—especially during the holidays. It’s sort of like an eHarmony for volunteers, so you can imagine the sophistication that the engine for this website must have—this is no small task.  It’s also why it’s so funny that when I did a final click-through, the only real edits I had on the site were those involving Oxford commas!  We had a few laughs as this falls under Nerd Quirk #52…good thing being a nerd is cool these days—but not as cool as collective impact.

I don’t know if you’ve heard about the collective impact phenomena, but it’s trending in Grant County.  Collective Impact is essentially the commitment of a group of people from a variety of sectors who agree to a common agenda for solving a specific social problem using collaboration.  And your community is on the forefront of this type of endeavor!

One year ago, nearly 100 local leaders met to learn about our high child poverty numbers in Grant County.  At that meeting we all agreed that we should work together, collectively, to create a shared vision to improve our hometown.  Since then, a small Guiding Team has been meeting monthly to engineer this vision.  These visioneers have tackled data discussed stakeholders, and sharpened our focus. 

We have learned a great deal and we are now extending the opportunity for you to act on what we have learned—to help co-create the future of Grant County across five key focus areas:simba-444

     1. Quality of Life and Place
     2. Education and Workforce Development
     3. Leadership and Community Engagement
     4. Government Innovation and Self-determination
     5. Entrepreneurial Culture and Support

We have heard about issues of child poverty and losing talent through out-migration; now it is time to take charge of our destiny and make good things happen. Grant County’s Collective Impact Guiding Team will share its initial recommendations and seek your input to move forward.

Please RSVP here and join us on Thursday, December 1, 2016, 1 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. at Ivy Tech Community College, 261 Commerce Dr, Marion, IN 46953 to help us put some action to this plan.

Until then, you might consider a few other things that will help you feel great about Grant County:

  1. Thriving Families, Thriving Grant County has a new Facebook page created by a student group at Indiana Wesleyan University. Like this page and keep up-to-date on what’s going on with the Thriving Families, Thriving Grant County initiative which officially launches on December 1st.simba44

2. The Community Foundation’s Annual Report is coming out this week, too! Check the Sunday, November 20th issue of the Chronicle-Tribune, or stop the by office or our website( any time after Sunday to learn all about your local community foundation, who we are, what we do, and how our donors truly know how to impact the world we live in—Grant County, our hometown!

3. And, finally, Santa Claus is coming to town! That’s right, you heard it here first!  For the first time ever, the Community Foundation of Grant County is awarding Santa Grants!  Santa Grants are a great way for you, the average Grant County citizen, to let Santa know what non-profits have been very good this year.  So, here’s your chance, residents of Grant County, write a letter to Santa for a chance to bring the magic of Christmas to a Grant County nonprofit that you believe is making a difference in our community.  Details can be found here and grants will fill local non-profit stockings before Christmas!  We’re so thankful for our local charities and the work they do all through the year, not just during the holidays—and we know you are, too.  So, do it.  You know you wanna!  Write Santa a letter today!simba-555

So much good is happening in our little part of the world.  Grant County, the sky’s the limit! We may create a thriving community model that’s as popular as the Colts Simba cam.  Third-graders may one day make macaroni dioramas depicting the collective impact work we’ve authored.  Who knows?  But, what I do know for sure is that the work we do to make Grant County a great county is important and necessary…just like the Oxford comma.

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