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The Community Foundation of Abilene is the new home of ThriveABI, an initiative to drive and measure progress towards a community vision for a thriving Abilene.
Late last year, hundreds of Abilenians participated in casting a community vision for what they want the future of Abilene to look like. More than 2,000 people either took a survey and/or took part in open forums to talk about goals for specific areas of interest, such as essential resources for people in need, workforce, arts and culture and more.
The steering committee’s next step after casting this vision was to find an organization to manage the ThriveABI initiative moving forward. The steering committee voted in February to house the initiative at the Community Foundation of Abilene, and the foundation has agreed to take it on.
“Part of our mission is to provide philanthropic leadership to enhance Abilene’s future. Even before the opportunity to take on ThriveABI, our team set a goal to serve as a convener and data collector in order to make an even more strategic impact on our community. This initiative beautifully aligns with that purpose,” said Katie Alford, President/CEO of the Community Foundation of Abilene.
ThriveABI began as a grassroots effort to identify key issues in our community and collaborate to make improvements in each of those areas.
Before the initiative had a name, it had a steering committee of volunteer citizens from a broad range of backgrounds. This committee chose to have the Community Foundation lead the launch of ThriveABI, modeled after a similar program in San Antonio called SA2020.
CFA led the committee through the community visioning process. See the full Abilene Community Visioning Report here. The identified cause areas include:
2. Essential Needs
3. Health and Wellness
4. Workforce and Economic Development
5. Family Well-being and Neighborhoods
6. Arts and Culture
Now that the CFA staff is back in the office after sheltering in place during the COVID pandemic, we're working on next steps.
Michelle Parrish, Grants Director for CFA, will take the lead on ThriveABI.
“Michelle has extensive experience working with organizations serving a broad range of needs in our community. She has an innate ability to listen to and connect people, and we are confident she is the ideal person to carry this initiative forward,” said Katie Alford.