Photo: Carrie Fuller, Founder and Owner of Grants on Point

DeSoto Catalytic Community Guide Program Spotlight — Carrie Fuller, Founder and Owner of Grants on Point

Posted on April 12, 2024 by Avery Crews Prado de Lima, TPF Fellow 2023/24

Editor's Note: The Patterson Foundation believes in the power of collaboration among individuals, organizations, and communities to achieve shared goals. By working together towards common aspirations, they can not only strengthen themselves but also their communities, shaping a better future. DeSoto County Ahead serves as a prime example of this collaborative approach, where community members learn from one another, share experiences, and collectively grow to build a more robust, resilient community. Explore our first DeSoto Catalytic Community Guide Program Spotlight featuring Ashley Coone, co-founder and CEO of Links2Success, here.


As a part of The Patterson Foundation's work with DeSoto County, The Harwood Institute's Catalytic Community Guide Program in DeSoto County is an intensive week program for community members who have a desire to guide their community to create lasting change using Harwood's approach. Catalytic Community Guides are local community leaders trained in the Harwood approach and positioned in the community to help people adopt a mindset and a practice that enables them to step forward, take action, create meaningful change, and unleash the potential of their community. Five DeSoto County community leaders are participating in this transformative 12-week course. In this month's The DeSoto Digest Newsletter, we're spotlighting Carrie Fuller, the Founder and Owner of Grants on Point, who embodies over thirty years of dedicated service and expertise in the field of education.

Her career has seen her excel in a variety of roles, such as teacher, coach, administrator, and director, each position underscoring her unwavering dedication to fostering educational excellence. Upon retiring, Fuller has adeptly utilized her comprehensive experience to create Grants on Point. This organization is committed to enhancing the operational and strategic capabilities of various entities through effective strategy implementation, strategic funding, and astute financial management. Grants on Point is a testament to Fuller's deep-seated passion for educational advancement and her commitment to empowering organizations to achieve and exceed their potential.

When asked what she sees as the impact of this project on DeSoto County residents, Carrie said, "The participation of the Harwood Institute and the support from The Patterson Foundation (TPF) in DeSoto County represent a transformative catalyst for positive change. Their collective work is not solely about tackling immediate problems but fundamentally altering how communities perceive and enact change. By encouraging the creation of a shared vision, the Harwood Institute unites diverse groups around common goals, fostering a sense of motivation and direction. By training community guides, the Harwood Institute and The Patterson Foundation are investing in bringing an approach to Desoto County that has the potential to evolve into a lasting force for development and improvement. Fostering collaboration across sectors broadens the impact and resource base for change, while cultivating resilience and adaptability ensures the community can face future challenges head-on. Above all, instilling a culture of hope and possibility energizes the community, reinforcing the belief that positive change is within reach. Together, these elements illustrate how the efforts of TPF and the Harwood Institute with DeSoto County residents are lighting the path toward a brighter, more engaged, and resilient community."

Carrie also reflected on the value of participating in the Catalytic Community Guide Course with the Harwood Institute. She shared, "Engaging with the Catalytic Community Guide Course offered by the Harwood Institute, I'm gaining invaluable insights and skills that go beyond community development. This experience enables me to forge meaningful connections with fellow community members, fostering a collaborative environment for freely exchanging ideas, strategies, and best practices. The course is sharpening my ability to lead inclusive conversations and navigate the complexities of building consensus among diverse groups. These capabilities are crucial in my community work and beneficial in my professional and personal life. Through active listening, recognizing and valuing diverse perspectives, and understanding our community's dynamics, I'm engaging more deeply with my fellow residents. We're identifying our collective aspirations and working towards making them a reality. Whether launching new initiatives, enhancing existing programs, or influencing policy decisions, the skills and knowledge I've acquired position me as a force for positive change. Beyond tangible achievements, participating in this course brings me personal satisfaction. Being part of meaningful community transformation efforts enriches my sense of purpose, strengthens my connections with others, and reaffirms my commitment to the greater good. This journey is a catalyst for personal growth and community betterment, highlighting the impact of dedicated, informed, and collaborative efforts towards creating a more inclusive, resilient, and vibrant community."

We are excited to continue to see the growth in these community leaders as the Catalytic Community Guide Course continues and look forward to the impact they will have going forward.

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