10th Anniversary Funded Partner Convening: Telling Stories of Impact
The Foundation for a Healthy High Point commemorated its 10th anniversary with a luncheon and funded partner convening held on October 26, focusing on the profound impact of storytelling. Dr. Elliott Williams, chair of the Foundation’s Board of Directors, and Curtis Holloman, Executive Director, kicked off the event.
“When I think about stories, I think about you. When I look out at this audience, I see people who will change our city, and the Foundation is honored to be part of that,” said Curtis Holloman.
Dr. Elliott Williams emphasized the Foundation’s commitment to being more than just a financial supporter but a fair partner providing equal opportunities to all.
Keynote speaker Tasha Logan Ford, High Point’s City Manager, shed light on the city’s vision to create the most prosperous community in America. Reflecting on the symbolic meaning of “High Point,” she highlighted the city’s aspiration to reach new heights, commending the Foundation’s role in making this vision a reality. Additionally, Tasha presented a proclamation from the City in honor of the Foundation’s impactful work.
“The name High Point was given to this community based on the people here for its literal meaning as the highest point, but the more symbolic meaning as the people who established this city wanted to reach new heights, and this foundation is helping to make that happen,” said Tasha Logan Ford, City Manager of High Point.
The event featured a panel discussion, introduced by Whitney Davis, the Foundation’s program officer, with representatives from three funded partner organizations: Mary Beth Foust, Former Maternal Health Director at YWCA High Point; Jennifer Woodward, Chief Strategy Officer for Ready for School, Ready for Life; and Carl Vierlinig, Executive Director for Greater High Point Food Alliance.
Carl Vierling, whose focus on alleviating hunger by creating and executing initiatives to develop more sustainable food systems, took the audience on a journey of what it looks like to spark action as he called “The 3 S’s, stats, stories, and solutions,” to highlight key points about how stories begin, tell and reflect organizations’ overall success. He used community stories to identify food poverty issues to bring people together to figure out solutions, “stories are moving; they change hearts while the data supports those changes.”
Mary Beth Foust, with experience in managing three separate home visiting programs that serve families in the Greater High Point area, used parent educators to build trust to have those her program served share their individual stories. Then, she led the discussion on how telling stories of impact can recruit and connect. She shared stories on how she and colleagues have used stories from the YWCA’s program to support families, brought more people into the program, and helped combat the stigma surrounding home visits and support. Through her stories, funded partners in the audience were able to take away how stories can demystify fear, deepen trust, and balance between generic descriptions of work instead of stories of individuals.
Jennifer Woodward has continuously excelled in creating relationships with key stakeholders to reach million-dollar fundraising goals and has used stories to motivate systemic change with game changers like policymakers and elected officials. She shared with funded partners just how vital vulnerability in relationship building is: “It’s a relationship, not a give and take with those who are trusting us to share their stories.”
“As we reflect on the Foundation’s 10th anniversary, we want to reflect on your stories and showcase stories from our partners. Some of them are stories of change and transformation, some of them are stories of growth, and all of them are about making a difference in the lives of individuals here in our community,” said Whitney Davis.
The panel moderator, Nick Seaver of Burness Communications, facilitated a discussion on using stories to illustrate the lasting impact of their work. Each panelist provided examples of how storytelling has been instrumental in advocating for their respective causes, from addressing food poverty to combating stigma and recruiting support for various programs. The session concluded with a discussion on the lessons learned about storytelling, emphasizing authenticity, humility, and vulnerability as integral components of impactful narratives.
“Listen first to those you’re serving, then find the connection. Learn from their stories to share the work you are doing,” says Jennifer Woodward, Chief Strategy Officer for Ready for School Ready for Life.
Following the panel, a workshop titled “Strategically Telling Stories of Impact,” led by Seaver engaged funded partners in learning the art of crafting and delivering compelling stories. Participants worked through exercises, honing their skills in identifying, developing, ethically, and strategically presenting stories to achieve their organizational missions. The session concluded with a discussion on the lessons learned about storytelling, emphasizing authenticity, humility, and vulnerability as integral components of impactful narratives.
The event closed with Curtis Holloman thanking attendees and emphasizing the Foundation’s commitment to continued growth and impact, urging community engagement and advocacy to shape policies and make a difference.
Earlier in the year, the Foundation hosted a 10th anniversary dinner reception honoring its current and former Board of Directors. Founding members Jim Keever and David Horney and the inaugural executive director, Tina Markanda, were recognized for their invaluable contributions.
The Foundation’s journey of impactful storytelling continues, laying the groundwork for a brighter, more inclusive Greater High Point.