A thriving Reno County means including more voices

A thriving Reno County means including more voices

For over 30 years, Hutchinson Community Foundation has been working across Reno County to inspire philanthropy, collaboration, and innovative leadership to strengthen our communities. We believe that a thriving Reno County looks like having a strong, diverse, and inclusive local economy; healthy, livable, and resilient neighborhoods; and a community that is open to change with a culture of shared ownership and pride.

In order for that thriving future to be a reality, more of our Reno County residents must be included meaningfully in decision-making in all aspects of community life—within their neighborhoods, on local boards and commissions, and in collaborative efforts around specific issues.

And it’s happening.

It’s happening through efforts like Hutch Rec’s Healthy Neighborhoods Initiative that has engaged and empowered residents in seven feature neighborhoods so far, where each neighborhood has established its own identity, created unique opportunities for gathering and connecting, and advocated for desired policy and program changes to address their unique challenges and opportunities.

It’s happening through the Reno Recovery Collaborative’s efforts to include diverse voices in their mission to reduce and prevent substance misuse, including those in recovery and those with family members experiencing the disease alongside local support programs and law enforcement.

And we are proud of the positive moves we see our local governments making to include more voices in decision-making. One example of this is the County Commission and Hutchinson City Council’s willingness to support a resident engagement process around American Rescue Plan Act funds. Another example is the County Commission’s November ballot proposal to shift from three to five commissioners. This move would allow Reno County residents greater representation when policies affecting them are being debated.

At our core, we are a learning organization. We believe that the people of Reno County have the answers, the expertise, and the wisdom to address our most pressing challenges. We will continue to support opportunities to listen and learn from more of our Reno County neighbors so that we all move forward, united, toward a shared future for the common good.

Aubrey Abbott Patterson, president and CEO, and Lisa French, board chairperson, on behalf of board and staff of Hutchinson Community Foundation.