Thrive Regional Partnership Announces Second Round Of Thriving Communities

Local Arts And Culture Program Open To Communities In Tristate

Thursday, October 5, 2017

The Thrive Regional Partnership is now accepting applications from cities, towns and counties throughout the tri-state region for a second round of Thriving Communities, which will launch in January. 

The community development program leverages design thinking methodologies to enable cities and towns to create local asset-based strategies to spark local economic vibrancy and growth, said officials. 

With eight local communities successfully completing this program in 2016-17, the Thrive Regional Partnership will extend a second opportunity for up to four additional communities from the 16-county area of southeast Tennessee, northwest Georgia and northeast Alabama. 

“We are thrilled to be able to offer a second round of Thriving Communities to our region’s cities and towns,” said Bridgett Massengill, president and CEO of the Thrive Regional Partnership. “Our inaugural round in 2016 proved that the citizens of our region’s communities are powerful visionaries who can lead tangible and positive changes for their cities and towns throughout our region.” 

With coaching assistance from nationally recognized design thinking professionals, four selected teams of community volunteers will create, assess, prototype, test and pitch strategic community development approaches built upon arts and culture-based assets. 

Upon successful completion of the program teams will be invited to apply for up to $20,000 in seed grant funding from the Lyndhurst Foundation for the identified arts and culture project. 

As a result of the inaugural Thriving Communities program, launched in 2016, four of the region’s communities have used the strategic development of an arts or culture asset to leverage more than $1.5 million of local investment in their communities. The initial eight communities of 32 local  volunteers has mushroomed into a regional network of 1,200+ engaged citizens working to improve the economic vibrancy of their home communities. 

“Thanks to the Lyndhurst Foundation we are able to offer this special creative place making program free of charge to our region’s communities,” said Ms. Massengill. “The only investments they need to make are commitments of travel and time, for Chattanooga-based sessions, and outreach in their communities.” 

Applying communities must have a committed team of at least four, diverse volunteers who are reflective of their community’s people and interests. Teams must also have a supporting 501(c)(3) organization, in order to receive grant funding, and a letter of support from a local government agency. The design thinking crash course will be facilitated by Bridge Innovate, a Chattanooga design thinking firm that facilitated the last Thriving Communities program.   

“We are thrilled with the enthusiasm and dedication shown by our first round of Thriving Communities participants, who understand the potential of the arts to create vibrancy in their towns. Arts and culture-based projects can bring communities together in really powerful ways, and are often a catalyst of activity and change. We look forward to working with a new round of communities and to be a part of the excitement and energy as they build upon their local creative assets,” said Kathleen Nolte, program officer for the Lyndhurst Foundation. 

The 2018 application for Thriving Communities is on the Thrive Regional Partnership website ( The application deadline is Friday, Nov. 17, at 5 p.m. Applications will be reviewed and selected by a committee of business, nonprofit and arts leaders from the region.

Communities from these counties are eligible to apply: Marion, Sequatchie, Bledsoe, Rhea, Meigs, McMinn, Polk, Bradley, and Hamilton, TN; Dade, Catoosa, Walker, Whitfield, Murray, GA, and Dekalb and Jackson, AL.

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