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‘We have to save ourselves’: The Greater Clark Foundation to host annual AMBITIONFest!

Communities are only as strong as the people who live in them, and Clark County is getting stronger every year.

That’s the message AMBITIONFest! 2019 will send home next week, Jen Algire, president and chief executive officer of The Greater Clark Foundation, said.

“Part of what The Greater Clark Foundation has been working toward since we were founded in 2013 is making our community more vital and resilient,” Algire said. “And our investments are all around investing in people because the investments in people have staying power and investments in people can impact not just one issue or one moment in time, they impact over the long term.”

AMBITIONFest! 2019, which is 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. Oct. 21 at the Leeds Center for the Arts, celebrates the ripple effects of community change happening in Clark County.

“If [people] want to be inspired about why Clark County is a great place to live, work and play, and if they want to hear stories of real people making real change that’s going to be meaningful for years to come, then they should come to AMBITIONFest!,” Algire said.

AMBITIONFest! is free, open to the public and kid-friendly.

Algire said GCF hosts the AMBITIONFest! regularly to celebrate exciting happenings in the community. The last event was in 2017.

The event usually features a speaker the community wouldn’t typically have the opportunity to hear otherwise.

This year’s speaker is internationally-acclaimed speaker and author Rich Harwood who will present the findings of “One Step at a Time: Winchester and Clark County Seizing the Moment.”

Harwood and GCF will talk about how Clark County community members are addressing underlying community conditions from multiple angles, including pushing for transparency and diversity of leadership, informal networks and links and community norms.

“Clark County is creating a roadmap for other rural communities,” Algire said. “And I think that’s something we should be proud of.”

Algire said GCF would highlight and discuss these efforts as the community continues to move forward, primarily focusing on the 75 public innovators who have done work throughout the community for the last couple of years.

“If you want to hear stories of your actual neighbors, friends and family being actual champions for change in the community, this is your opportunity,” Algire said.

Attendees will take home Harwood’s new book, “SteppingForward,” as well as the “One Step at a Time” report.

Algire said she would like to fill Leeds, so she invites everyone to come out.

“The work we’re going to celebrate by celebrating the public innovators, by celebrating some of our grantees, is really about looking at how Clark County grows into whatever the new version of itself will be,” Algire said. “So often we hear people saying it was so great back then, and we want to go back to back then, but we’re never… we’re not going back.

“We’re not going back. So let’s work together creatively to say what do we want our present and our future to look like. And that’s why this work is really important because it’s helping give our community, give individual people in our community and our community as a whole the tools to do that, to write the next chapter for ourselves.

“No one is coming to save us. We have to save ourselves.”

About Lashana Harney

Lashana Harney is a reporter for The Winchester Sun. Her beats include schools and education, business and commerce, Winchester Municipal Utilities and other news. To contact her, email lashana.harney@winchestersun.com or call 859-759-0015.

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