It has been some time since we helped the Whitley County Community Foundation launch their WhitleyForward initiative, but its success compelled me to share their story.
As have other counties in Indiana, Whitley County realized they were heading down the wrong path with their per capita income on a decline with no hope of change. They needed to take charge and do something in order to see their county prosper. In the words of September McConnell, Executive Director of the Whitley County Community Foundation, they wanted everyone to know that good enough was frankly just not good enough any longer.
With promise of careers in the advanced manufacturing, engineering, defense and biomedical industries, the Whitley County Community Foundation felt it essential to ensure residents were able to deliver the skills and knowledge needed to fill these positions. That meant creating a program to encourage support for STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) education—thus the formation of WhitleyForward.
Here at One Lucky Guitar, we were excited to take part and get the ball rolling from a communications standpoint. In order to gain countywide awareness, WhitleyForward utilized outdoor, direct mail, web and promotional tees. The strong message and bright design did not go unnoticed, in fact it became the eye opener the Whitley County Community Foundation had hoped for.
As all great initiatives, the communication campaign was just one piece of the puzzle. Since launching, WhitleyForward has funded dozens of programs and projects within the county to help promote STEM education. They were able to bring Mad Science of North Central Indiana to every elementary school in Whitley County, sponsor the Body Forward Challenge at Indian Springs middle school with the FIRST LEGO League, and supplied Whitley County pre-school teachers with science kits to help little minds keep busy with science—just to name a few!
With my roots in Whitley County, I have enjoyed seeing the success of WhitleyFoward and other programs aimed at helping residents build a bright future.