I recently came across an editorial by Jeff Yost, President and CEO of the Nebraska Community Foundation.
I first met Jeff as part of my initial interview with the University of Nebraska. I’ve since chatted with him on several occasions and find his outlook on community development to be invigorating and very much based on an abundance mentality.
Jeff’s article (linked below) can eloquently be summed by one simple paragraph:
In the 21st century economy, we can live and work just about anywhere we want. So today, the community economic development question is not one of jobs. The better question is: Why here? Why do I want to live, work and raise my family in this community. It is imperative that we give young people good reason to stay or join us. People attraction should be our highest priority.
Development of community and having an abundance mentality are integral parts of successfully attracting people to an area. When people work together to allow community to emerge, it opens the door toward proactive engagement of residents both old and new. When people work together, they create a certain feel about the place that makes us want to call it home.
An abundance mentality is part of this. It reminds you of all the good things you have and that are happening in your area. It allows a group of residents to focus on what they can do with what they have, turning adversity into opportunity (Jeff mentions Red Cloud, a community which is a great example of the abundance mentality in action).
So what can you do in your community to help shift the mentality from one of scarcity (we need more jobs to attract people) to abundance (we have the things we need, how do we market them to attract people)?
And if you don’t have key infrastructure (e.g. broadband internet), what can you do to help bring it in? How can you work with others in your place to develop a plan of action? There are a lot of programs and opportunities out there. We simply need to reframe how we think about issues to make them appear and be relevant to us.