Thanks to the Community Foundation of Sarasota County (CFSC), I recently had the opportunity to participate in BALLE’s Shift Capital Summit in California. More than 250 leaders in the BALLE network, including systems entrepreneurs, funders, investors, and practitioners came together to share knowledge and resources in service of creating healthy, equitable, local economies.

In preparation for the conference, I read the suggested articles and did a bit of research on the “ecosystem” the Business Alliance for Local Living Economies (BALLE, pronounced “bahl-ee”) recommends.

BALLE espouses that building healthy, equitable, local economies isn’t the work of a single leader or organization. Rather, it requires an ecosystem of individuals and institutions to come together, understand their relationship to each other, and choose to collaborate.

To be honest, although very eager to participate in this learning and sharing event with CFSC, Sarasota’s lead partner in the Suncoast Campaign for Grade-Level Reading (SCGLR), and to learn more about impact investing and BALLE, I was uncertain if there would be the meaningful connections to the work of SCGLR we hoped to find.

Coincidentally, I have been reading Carol S. Dweck’s book entitled Mindset: The New Psychology of Success and spending a great deal of time pondering the narrative of a “divided America” we heard so much about during the recent election cycle. Additionally, in preparation for an upcoming webinar, I've been assembling information about how The Patterson Foundation (TPF) works with people, business, nonprofits, government, and the media to accelerate progress towards shared aspirations.

With all of that input swirling around my head and the experiences put forth at BALLE’s Shift Capital Summit, my brain was pinging not only with new connections but also with affirmations about the way TPF and CFSC choose to work together.

  • TPF and CFSC partnerships featuring the alignment of Leadership, Willingness, Readiness, Capacity, and Culture strengthen people and organizations resulting in a stronger community. 

  • Relationships and open, frequent communication with stakeholders is a vital component of this work.

  • When people with different backgrounds, cultures, ethnicities, religious beliefs, knowledge, and life experiences gather together in the spirit of finding commonalities or shared aspirations, a mutual love of the learning process is created as well as resilience that will help to carry the work through the stress points — allowing us to see potential failures as learning and growth opportunities rather than a final definition of our worth as human beings. 

  • Relationships are essential. 

  • Inviting people with different viewpoints to the table for deep listening and sharing will uncover our similarities, which far outnumber our differences.

  • Moving from an “I” thought process to a “we” process will accelerate progress.

  • We can’t talk about success for our children without considering the success of our families, and prosperity for our families requires a healthy ecosystem.

  • It will take all of us, working together, each of us doing our part, to create a thriving ecosystem in our community.

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