When Gingerich became the new Executive Director for the Pennsylvania Association of Nonprofit Organizations (PANO) in December of 2013, she immediately started reaching out to people in communities around Pennsylvania to listen and learn about their strengths, resources and needs.
The event was hosted by The Bradford Area Chamber of Commerce, CARE for Children and The United Way of the Bradford Area, Inc; and also attended by representatives from the YMCA of the Twin Tiers, Alcohol and Drug Abuse Services, Evergreen Elm, The Bradford Area Public Library, McKean County Department of Human Services, The Nonprofit Partnership of Erie, PA and board members from area non-profits.
According to PANO officials, the event was part of PANO’s Listening Tour, which aims to generate conversations to explore how together, WE can continue to build thriving neighborhoods and communities.
“The WE is anyone interested in joining the work designed to build thriving communities—work that is already happening,” said Gingerich. “The WE includes people from for-profit, government sectors and nonprofit organizations. As nonprofits, we do not own the passion for strong communities. The WE includes nonprofits and anyone caring deeply about the greater good.”
Gingerich also noted that the common thread with everyone she has spoken to is that they care deeply about their community and value its special qualities.
PANO is gathering data from these discussions and sharing the highlights on their blog and website as they travel from place to place. Ultimately, the goal of the dialogue is to build community initiatives that lead to real results. Consistently throughout the state, PANO has heard people say they want collaboration among organizations and sectors to deepen relationships.
To date, Gingerich and members of her board of directors and staff have traveled over 2000 miles, had 300 people heard, and spent 40 hours on the road and dozens of conversations on the Listening Tour.