Dubuque native, Heart & Soul Coordinator Jason Neises named to Iowa governor’s task force
Contact: Paul Duster
For immediate release: August 23, 2018
DUBUQUE, IOWA —Jason Neises has his finger on the pulse of rural communities in eastern Iowa.
As coordinator of the Community Heart & Soul® engagement process, he works hand-in-hand with residents of communities like Cascade and Bellevue to shape the future of their towns.
“I’m honored to be chosen to participate in the governor’s task force,” says Neises, who lives in Dubuque. “While Iowa has a number of urban hubs, it is largely a rural state. The small towns throughout our rural areas must be part of any strategy to strengthen communities and provide opportunities for people to prosper. I’m excited to play a role in tackling this challenge.”
Announced in July, Empowering Rural Iowa brings together leaders from across the state to identify legislative, regulatory and policy changes that would strengthen rural communities. Three task forces and an executive committee will make recommendations around issues related to the health of rural areas, including housing and connectivity.
As part of the Growing Rural Iowa Task Force, Neises will work with leaders from other nonprofits, as well as the government, education, civic and business sectors, to tackle the issues of rural vitality, quality of life and empowering local leadership.
In his role as the Community Foundation of Greater Dubuque’s Heart & Soul coordinator, Neises helps empower residents of rural areas in the seven-county Dubuque region to identify their towns’ best, most unique attributes and use them as the basis of future decision-making.
The Heart & Soul process was established by the Vermont-based Orton Family Foundation and has been used in 65 towns across 14 states to strengthen communities. Heart & Soul gives rural residents the tools they need to identify what matters most to everyone and use those principles to drive planning and development decisions.
In Iowa, Neises and the Community Foundation have led the Heart & Soul process in Monticello, Bellevue, Madison County, and Cascade, and they also helped with a project in Mercer County, Ill.. In addition, the Orton Family Foundation recently named Neises one of the first three certified Community Heart & Soul coaches, the result of a two-year certification program.
The Empowering Rural Iowa initiative is scheduled to kick off in September, according to the governor’s office.
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Community Heart & Soul® is a community engagement process that reconnects people with what they love most about their town and translates those personal and emotional connections into a blueprint that serves as the foundation for future community decisions. To learn more, click here.
The Community Foundation of Greater Dubuque strengthens communities and inspires giving. For more information, visit dbqfoundation.org.