“You may tell a tale that takes up residence in someone’s soul, becomes their blood and self and purpose. That tale will move them and drive them and who knows what they might do because of it, because of your words. That is your role, your gift”.
– Erin Morgenstern, The Night Circus
One of the many truths the W.K. Kellogg Foundation shared in their most recent Community Leadership fellowship was the transformational nature of storytelling. Many of us often forget about the power of “telling the story” as we get caught up in the data and statistics we generate, requests from grantees, or our review of the latest research. Of course, its not an “either… or” but a “both…and”.
KERA, a National Public Radio member station serving North Texas, did just that—told a story, in fact, they told a whole series of stories called One Crisis Away that raised public awareness and put a human face on how financial instability affects people from all walks of life and socio-economic backgrounds. Earlier this month, they even won the nationally recognized Edward R. Murrow Award for an episode that told a story about single mother’s efforts to rebuild after a tornado destroys her family’s home.
Through the funding and support of AFN Members Communities Foundation of Texas, Dallas Women’s Foundation, Carl B. & Florence E. King Foundation, and United Way of Metropolitan Dallas, and the creative storytelling of KERA, the One Crisis Away series shared the stories of North Texans living on the financial edge – neighbors who but for the loss of a paycheck, reduced hours, or a crisis would end up in poverty. Through these stories, they are bringing the vital—but often over-looked—discussion about the critical nature of assets to the North Texas community in a way that is engaging, insightful, and inspiring. Explore the series and see how One Crisis Away puts a human face on asset poverty and the financial struggles of people in North Texas.
As a One Crisis Away reporter notes, “There are lots of people who consider themselves middle class, who live paycheck to paycheck… People just don’t know this, and aren’t thinking about it. It could be your friends, your neighbors or maybe yourself who might be in this situation. For us, it is about education.”
The people in our communities are looking for answers—looking to the leaders of their community for change, a better way. Philanthropy plays an important role in developing the research, advocating for better policy, and testing the tools to create stories reflecting real solutions. Philanthropy is a strong voice for the thousands in this country who aren’t on an equal playing field. But it takes more than just a strong voice, it takes a story told well if we want to be truly heard and understood by multiple audiences.
In doing our part to help tell a better, more fluid and easily digestible story, AFN is launching its new website in November. Our goals are to increase the understanding of asset building and provide a site that makes navigating and finding the content you need an easy experience. And equally important, we want to demonstrate the life changing, sustaining results that come when investments are made to advance the economic opportunity and prosperity for low and moderate income people.
Leverage AFN for the latest asset-building resources that can help you tell the best, most convincing stories you can.
Joseph A. Antolín
Asset Funders Network