Community Leadership Values – Bartholomew County, Indiana

Heritage Fund, as the community foundation of Bartholomew County, seeks to foster community leadership in all its forms. Since all leadership takes place within the context of a set of values, the Heritage Fund board thought it would be useful to describe the values that inform the kind of community leadership it seeks to foster. This values statement is intended to promote discussion within the community on our shared values, not to prescribe how others should think. We welcome your feedback and suggestions.

High Aspirations: We believe that excellence should be the only standard in judging our results. As J. Irwin Miller said, “…we would like to see this community come to be the very best community of its size in the country. We would like to see it become the city in which the smartest, the ablest, the best young families anywhere would like to live…a community which will offer their children the best education available anywhere…Our concern is to help get the most for our dollar, to help build this community into the best in the nation.”  Likewise, we want to help every citizen raise his or her own personal expectations and aspirations.

Public-Private Partnerships: We are deeply committed to an ongoing public/private dialogue about what kind of community we want to create and how best to achieve those results. Our greatest achievements have resulted from elected and appointed public officials working together with private individuals and organizations. As partners, they have been most effective when they form a consensus on what should be done and bring resources from both sectors to achieve it.

Collaboration: People want to participate in the building of something greater than themselves – a reach for excellence beyond the individual. Community leaders are expected to connect human and financial resources and be persistent in the face of apparent lack of progress. Community Leaders are expected to work for the good of the whole community in a way that doesn’t maximize their individual organization at the expense of others or duplicate efforts and resources unnecessarily. Shared resources, goals and projects are encouraged.

Forward-Thinking: Our community believes in continuous improvement, welcomes creative approaches and has always taken the future into its own hands in a proactive way. Each new generation should, in its turn, build for the future in its own way to its own agenda. In making our plans we ask, “When we look back 10 years from now, what will we wish we had done today?”

Welcoming Community: We want to attract, develop, and engage the very best people and ensure that everyone is able to participate in the future growth of the community. We actively strive to balance the interests of all community “stakeholders” and believe in treating each other as we would want to be treated, with respect and civility.

Best Value: We want to be a community that achieves the greatest return on investment of our resources – both financial and human – by creating the very best value for our people. We are not trying to become the most expensive or most exclusive place to live – nor do we want to be the cheapest. Consistent with historical Midwestern sensibilities, we believe in the virtue of economy which embodies both the sense of simplicity and the sense of value for money. It’s about having a simple outer life and a rich inner life.

The Value of Good Design: Our community is literally world-renowned for our high quality architecture and we believe in its value. We believe in Winston Churchill’s observation that “we shape our buildings; thereafter they shape us.” However, our process of design-thinking runs deeper than just our built-environment. We use the principles of design as we strive for process excellence and community growth. We believe that nothing is more expensive than mediocrity and that good design need not cost any more than bad design. In this way, our entire community becomes the physical manifestation of the values and spirit of the people who have chosen to be different by design in the pursuit of lasting excellence. We believe if you elevate the physical and social environment, you raise the bar for everything else, especially citizens’ expectation of themselves.

Service to Others: Within the community, there is an expectation of personal service and giving back, whether through volunteering, financial contributions or both. We are a community whose citizens have a concern for the least fortunate and who will not tolerate poverty for others or slums in our midst.