A beautiful thing is happening. Our community has come together to help children, youth, and families overcome the challenges of this pandemic. Healthy Community Initiative (HCI) is proud to be part of the solution during this challenging time. HCI serves as a backbone for more than 25 youth- and family-serving initiatives across Faribault and Northfield helping children enroll in preschool, making sure students have access to reliable internet, supporting parents and caregivers, and so much more.

In the spring, HCI usually hosts an in-person community breakfast to raise awareness of our programs and to raise money to support those programs. Last year, those plans were canceled because of COVID-19, and this year we did what so many programs, businesses, and organizations have done for many months now — we pivoted to conducting things virtually.

We produced a 16-minute video that features four of HCI’s programs in action — RISE, TORCH, 100% Connected, and Family Engagement Navigators — and we encouraged supporters and friends of HCI to gather online during April and May to watch the video. We were excited to share stories with the community about some of the ways that HCI-supported programs have continued to help those most in need.

We are extremely grateful to everyone who has generously supported this year’s “Gathering for Good” virtual fundraiser, including all the new donors, and our 2021 Business Champions: Carleton College, Community Resource Bank, HomeTown Credit Union, Merchants Bank, Reunion, Roundbank, and Schieck Orthodontics.

Thanks to your help, we are close to reaching our goal of raising $70,000, which will be matched by our national cradle-to-career partner, StriveTogether. You can donate online at healthycommunityinitiative.org/donate or mail a check to Healthy Community Initiative, 1651 Jefferson Parkway — Suite HS128, Northfield, MN 55057.

Raising awareness of HCI-supported programs is also critical. Please spread the word to your family, friends, co-workers, communities of faith, and others in your network who may be interested to learn more about HCI. To stay up to date, follow us on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.

We are already getting excited about next year’s event, when we plan to gather in person to celebrate HCI’s 30th birthday. We hope to see you then!

Connie Nelson is the Healthy Community Initiative Board Co-Chair.

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