A Good Story has to be Told: Inspiring Stories of Positive Community Change

Community Foundation Storytelling project celebrates good work in Mississippi

Every culture, every community, every person has a connection to stories. The inspiring ones, the slightly embellished ones, the reflective ones, the sorrowful ones, the ones with a happy ending – Stories are a salient and sacred part of life. 

Cherished Mississippi author, William Faulkner once said, “If a story is in you, it has to come out.” 

For over 25 years, we have worked with passionate people from all parts of our community who are making a difference. These champions of the arts, historic preservation, education, social justice, and other meaningful causes each have unique and valuable stories to tell. As the Foundation’s 25th Anniversary began, a key objective was to gather stories about people who had founded, worked with, or been inspired by the work of the Foundation. We wanted to be a part of facilitating storytelling and meaning-making in our community.

This project was borne from chance conversations with stakeholders and partners to explore the more philosophical and personal reasons people give back to their communities. Less about the Foundation itself, these stories were intended to mine the deeper reaches of people’s motivations. What are their passions, and how do those passions drive the decisions they make about giving back to the community?

When we decided to take on the task of chronicling these narratives, we sought out the help of Blue Magnolia Films. The method Blue Magnolia Films forces the individual to explore and train their eyes to see differently. The person has to discipline themselves to capture moments in time, to talk, and to have a viewpoint. In other words, to take time to reflect and weave a narrative that is deeply personal and meaningful and to inspire others to do the same. 

Beginning with the stories of a developer and architect, an educator, a restaurateur, a preservationist, this project celebrated the many ways people uplift their communities. As the STORIES LEADING CHANGE project continues, the Community Foundation hopes to continue to inspire people to find their passions and harness them to create meaningful change in the places in which they live.

“We’ve taken the longstanding tradition of telling stories on the front porch and evolved it to use the 21st-century technology of smartphones. These are not historical narratives that can be archived and left in the past, but ensouling narratives about where we live, what we value and where we go from here. Each person holds a thread. When we build stories based on shared responsibility, they become pathways to guide us to a more vibrant future,” Alison Fast & Chandler Griffin, Blue Magnolia Films 

We know you will be inspired by these stories and the incredible work of these storytellers. We encourage you to capture and record your own stories to motivate future generations of Mississippians who will continue our rich tradition of service to our communities and lending neighbors a hand. 

Please like and share STORIES LEADING CHANGE on social media with the hashtag #StoriesForGood #StoriesLeadingChange.