The Power of One: Investing in the Future of Clark County
“I alone cannot change the world,
but I can cast a stone across the waters to create many ripples.”
— Mother Teresa
One Clark County native took those words to heart and realized one person can make a huge difference in the future of their community.
In 2022, a friend of Clark County came to Blue Grass Community Foundation with a dream and a plan: to make Winchester/Clark County a more equitable and inclusive place to live, work and play. A collaboration was formed between
Blue Grass Community Foundation, Clark County Community Foundation, the Greater Clark Foundation, this Clark County benefactor, and facilitator Colene Elridge to develop an initiative with the goal of empowering the next generation of diverse leaders in Winchester/Clark County. Thus, the Winchester Minority Leadership Initiative (WMLI) was born.
“WMLI is a one-year, in-depth leadership training program with a passionate initial cohort of Clark Countains who are seeking to create positive change for our community,” said Halee Cunningham. Halee not only serves as general counsel and director of planned giving for Blue Grass Community Foundation, she also provides staff support to the Clark County Community Foundation board of advisors, assisting them in growing their fund and awarding grants to charitable organizations and causes in Clark County.
“We are so excited to see the ripple effect this program will inspire, including the opportunity for participants to direct grant funds toward needs and opportunities they have identified through their work and lived experiences in our community,” said Cunningham.
The program began hosting its initial cohort of participants ages 21-45 in the Spring of 2023. Each cohort will participate in a 13-month facilitated program, with the additional opportunity to receive one-on one personal development coaching from Coach Colene. Sessions currently focus on leadership building in the professional and community space, including sessions on public speaking, personal branding, agility and resilience building, and critical thinking and problem solving. The program even hosts a book club for the cohort, covering books provided by WMLI.
Following the completion of the program, participants will have the opportunity to develop grant proposals from a pool of $250,000 in funding for needs and opportunities in Winchester/Clark County.
“The Winchester Minority Leadership Initiative is a great opportunity to further develop leaders within the community,” said Coach Colene. “The individuals enrolled are passionate about their growth, but even more passionate about the growth of Winchester. The information is useful and practical, but the real change is in how they see themselves. So many times, they’ve told me that they’ve done something differently, or responded differently than what they normally would have. I believe in them and know they will make an incredible impact in Winchester!”
To learn more about the Winchester Minority Leadership Initiative, please visit winchestermli.org.