Pearl for America & civic riders

Pearl for america

A year ago, I sat down with my friend, Joe Bartmann, Vice President for Community Innovation at Dakota Resources, to discuss what we could do moving forward from the election to bridge divides and build community. Both of us agreed that the path forward was through getting involved on a local level. Both of us agreed that the solution to division is conversation and connection and celebration. It's story, it's the power of networks, it's design.

Over the past year, I have come to believe that there are two groups uniquely suited for this work: the community builders and organizers in small towns (under 10,000) and the designers of the world. These grounded, empathetic souls focused on solving problems and creating something bigger than themselves. 

Over the same year, with a little help from my friends, I have also concluded that the role I can best play is as a catalyst for these two groups. Not as a leader or manager or someone that will ever work on a spreadsheet, but as a guide and partner to light fires of inspiration and spark acts of community and network building.

Knowing this, we've (and it's always be a 'we') laid a foundation with The Potluck Society & its incredible partnership with SDPB, a TEDxRapidCity talk on the Potluck strategy, the work in Milbank as part of I Believe In Milbank, and the continued collaborations with the extraordinary team at Dakota Resources.

All of that has resulted in  "Pearl for America."

It's a work in progress, but our goal is to be the spark and spotlight that communities need. But, not just any communities. We're looking for communities confident in their futures. We're seeking communities that know they have everything they need, but just need a spark to get started. These communities have invested in themselves and are ready to begin.

For those communities, we'll hop in the truck and bring everything we have to town for a day or three or seven. We'll hold CEO roundtables, lunch-and-learn's with the Chamber, strategy sessions with Economic Development, and design workshops with high school seniors. We'll letterpress, screenprint, spray paint and even make buttons. We'll get our hands dirty figuratively and literally. We'll share stories, dreams, fears, hopes. Some places we'll do surveys. Other places, we'll hold focus groups. And, at the end of the day, we'll know each unique community a little bit better and we'll have a roadmap for how we move forward.

This project, as I explain in the video, is only possible because our Premier Partner, Dakota Resources, believes that this short-term spark and the support that they can offer to communities that choose to think big is the pathway to a thriving community and future for Rural America. The support of Beth Davis & the entire team has ensured that this effort will make it out on the road.

If you're interested in locking in a visit from Pearl in 2018 for your community, now is the time. Drop me a line at hugh@hughweber.com to discuss.

Best,

Hugh Weber

PS This video was directed by my 8 year old, Emerson. She did pretty well, do you think?

OUR COMMUNITY HAD EVERYTHING IT NEEDED TO THRIVE. WE JUST NEEDED A CATALYST. HUGH WAS THAT AND MORE. HUGH ENCOURAGED US TO ASK BIG QUESTIONS, CONNECT IN NEW WAYS, AND CREATE TOGETHER. AND, HE REMINDED US TO CELEBRATE - OUR PEOPLE & OUR UNIQUENESS AS A COMMUNITY. WORKING WITH HUGH HAS DEFINITELY BEEN A TURNING POINT FOR US.
— BOBBIE BOHLEN, ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT DIRECTOR OF GRANT COUNTY

 

engaging Your Community: What matters most?

Each community has unique needs and challenges. Pearl's visits are as unique as the community hosting her. Generally, communities choose to engage Hugh and Pearl across the community: including business, city leadership, students and chambers. Often, the visits are scheduled to coincide with annual meetings or events. Pearl's visits could include:

 

CEO Roundtables

These sessions are high-level, small group conversations on the challenges facing the community as it relates to business, talent attraction, work force retention, and community development. 

Creative Interventions

The best way for a community to start working together is to get them creating together through letterpress, screenprinting, button making and other creative work. This session is creative in focus, but also seeks to collect what matters most to the community through personal stories and engaged response.

High School Design Sessions

Every community is exploring how they might retain or return their young people. This session helps a community identify what matters most to the people to the community's students.

Community Mapping

The power of a community's network is critical to transforming a community. This session, often done as a Lunch-n-Learn, seeks to reveal the community's structure of influence, resources and possibility.

Story Design Discovery

This session is focused on discovering the community story that exists in each community. The session is part presentation, part workshop and will last 90 minutes.

What Matters Most Workshop

This workshop is the cornerstone of Pearl's engagements with a 30 minute presentation, a 90 minute workshop and a 30 minute Q&A. The community will leave this session with foundations for a Community Index, story harvest and the structure for future design sessions. Generally these sessions are priced between $12,500 - $15,000, so Pearl's visits reflect a dramatic discount for small towns.

Custom Engagements

Beyond the standard options, Hugh has also worked with communities to complete survey projects, custom 'community index' designs, community documentaries, and longer term residences. All of these options are custom and would be quoted on a case-by-case basis.

 

Sample Itinerary

8:00 - 9:00a - Arrival in community for breakfast kick-off with leadership team

9:30 - 11:30a - High School Visit / Letterpress & CoDesign on the 'community of the future' that students would create as a place to return to.

12:00 - 3:00p - What Matters Most Workshop with the Chamber & Economic Development / Potluck-style gathering 30 minute presentation on 'What Matters Most' followed by 90 minute workshop & 30 minutes of Q&A.

3:30 - 5:30p - CEO Roundtable

Evening - Depart Community after leadership team debrief.

Pricing

The standard fee for a full day visit is $5,000 plus travel & lodging. There are scholarships available for organizations working with Dakota Resources. Custom engagements including research and video production will require a separate quote.

 
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Are You Ready To Bring Pearl To Your Community?

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Premier Partner: Dakota Resources

Pearl for America is made possible through a partnership with Dakota Resources. Dakota Resources is a nonprofit Community Development Financial Institution that stimulates rural communities in South Dakota by supporting rural entrepreneurs and economic development professionals, strategically addressing housing needs, coaching community leaders, and providing flexible capital to create sustainable and lasting change. To learn more, visit: http://www.dakotaresources.org/

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Sponsor: MarketBeat.com

MarketBeat.com & its founder, Matthew Paulson, offered support before I even knew what I was asking for. If you're a smart investor, you're probably already using the service. If you're not using the service to monitor your stocks, now is the time.

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Creative Partner: Brick

Ben Brick of BRICK has helped us create an entire system of creative elements for Pearl, including promotional posters, art prints, buttons and beyond that we'll be sharing when we visit your community.