The Heart of CBI - Our Communities' Stories

The Heart of CBI – Our Communities’ Stories


Stories are about heart. Recently, we gathered with representatives from different cohorts of our Community Building Initiative (CBI) to understand the impact of their stories.


As the grantmaking foundation of Providence, the St. Joseph Community Partnership Fund (Fund) endeavors to improve our communities’ health and quality of life. CBI is one of the Fund’s most enduring initiatives. For over 20 years, CBI cohorts have advocated to change conditions, policies, and practices that result in neighborhood distress.


The stories the cohorts have collected over the years are transformational, powerful, and deserve to be shared.


Our friends at The Social Impact Artists (SIA) curated a two-day convening, “Contar Su Historia/Telling Your Story, for our coaching CBI participants. Fund CEO and President Gabriela Robles shared her personal story at the start of the event. With a focus on people, place, and purpose, the hands-on sessions allowed participants to share their experiences, work, and hope for their communities.


SIA leaders and CBI coaches engaged participants with interactive storytelling karaoke, story mapping, and power mapping to connect to and understand how to convey their stories’ impact best. The Impact Wall was a powerful reminder of the collaborative effort of each cohort and served as a building block for participants to visualize their community power.


Wall of Impact Community Building Initiative


We heard dozens of diverse voices committed to advancing the greater good throughout the convening. The work is as diverse as their voices, ranging from community safety, affordable housing, safe infrastructure, and wellness programs. However, there is one commonality. Their efforts are rooted in love – love for their communities, histories, and futures.


Community Leaders Coalition (CLC) of San Juan Capistrano focuses on accessible, affordable housing. This video, created by SIA, is just one example of the impact of storytelling.


Each CBI cohort has contributed to building a community in which they are proud. With a newly launched website, they now have a space to showcase their stories and collective power building. We hope you will take some time to read about the individuals who dared to say, “This isn’t right.” And then they took action to make their neighborhoods more lively, hopeful, healthy, and just – for everyone that lives there.