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Read the thoughts and impressions on a variety of topics written by Foundation staff, as well as occasional guest bloggers about what’s happening at Greater Worcester Community Foundation.


Keep It Off the Shelf
By Jonathan Cohen / September 27, 2019

By now (we hope) you have heard that the City of Worcester has a Cultural Plan. Developed over the course of more than a year, with input from hundreds of people who care deeply about Worcester, the plan is a road map for why and how arts, creativity and culture - both big “C” and little “c” - can be a driving force for moving Worcester forward.

Many people are already excited about the Plan:

  • At City Hall, where the City Manager asked GWCF to play a leadership role in development, the Plan codifies what has already been a strong commitment to arts and culture, and provides important direction that will be incorporated into the City’s master plan.
  • At the Worcester Cultural Coalition, and throughout the cultural sector, the Plan is another “vote of confidence” that this work matters to the community, and an invitation - né, a challenge - to help make Worcester even better.
  • Our friends at the Barr Foundation, whose prior financial support of GWCF helped make the planning process happen, just increased their commitment to us in large part because of the anticipated impact the Plan will have.

We at GWCF are excited, too! We have long had a commitment to arts and culture and to civic engagement. Our leadership in Plan development is a meaningful and important extension of both of these priorities.

And now, as we apply that leadership to the ongoing implementation of the Cultural Plan – a ten year commitment – the challenge for us and all who care about what it says is to keep the Plan alive, dynamic, and on the radar – to keep it off the shelf.

Many plans of this sort end up collecting dust - and not because it isn’t well thought out or organized. Implementation is hard work: You have to stay on it; you have to keep those at the table interested; you have to build interest among new people to get them to the table; you have to achieve objectives; and you have to celebrate achievements. There must be something to show for all the time and effort.

The good news is that the Cultural Plan offers those who are interested multiple ways to be part of moving it forward. And not all of them involve attending meetings! From talking up the plan to others, to taking part in more of the City’s cultural offerings, to rallying others to take collective action, to getting involved with one of the many working groups that will emerge over the plan’s life (and yes, that likely means attending meetings), to supporting arts, culture and creativity in your philanthropy, the opportunities are abundant. That’s a benefit of having such a wide-reaching, deep-diving plan.

We at the Foundation are staying on it. We’re doing the hard work, and we’re asking you to join us. Help keep the Plan off the shelf and in the community. Help move Worcester forward.

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