Earlier this week several hundred community and business leaders gathered at the River’s Edge Convention Center for the 7th annual “Better Together” Greater St. Cloud Community Pillars Forum. For the GSDC, this gathering carries an extraordinary level of relevance and importance. Not only is the GSDC a Pillars sponsor, but our very existence is an early product of the work of the Community Pillars initiative!
At this year’s gathering, we were first entertained and inspired by Marque Morris, the Eastside Boys & Girls Club’s Youth of the Year. We then celebrated progress made and learned of opportunities to advance the work of each of the nine “pillars” that form the foundation for community vitality. Jon Ruis of the Central MN United Way shared compelling information about the growth of poverty, and its stunning implications, in our region.
Don Ness, former Mayor of Duluth, delivered the key note address. He offered his insights and suggestions for fostering community vitality and inclusion. He advocated three essential elements for creating positive change: Pride – because it breeds positivity, participation & investment. Vulnerability – because including divergent opinions yields the most positive results. Courage – because every participant needs to take ownership of challenges in pursuit of effective solutions.
So, our call to action continues. We reflect with pride on the many accomplishments and progress made through the collective efforts of our region. And, may we forge ahead as a proud community that embraces differences and navigates our challenges with courage and tenacity. With certainty, we are “Better Together”.
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