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Building a Stronger Community: Exploring Change Often's Collaborations and Partnerships

Building a Sustainable Future: Community Investment & Development


Change Often - Social Innovation Firm stands on seven values, one being Community Stewardship: We serve our impact partners, protect their vision, and impact communities. At the center of High Point, North Carolina is its community. Our commitment to boldly solving social and economic issues means we are committed to sustainable community development in Our City. 

In this first installment of our blog series, Building a Stronger Community: Exploring Change Often's Collaborations and Partnerships, we will showcase three remarkable Impact Partners and projects that focus on community investment and development! These initiatives demonstrate the power of collaboration and the immense value they bring to our community.


Open Door Ministries | Center for Hope & Healing

Ultimately, the goal is to make homelessness in High Point rare, brief, and nonrecurring.

Having served the homeless population in High Point for decades, Open Door Ministries is setting out to revolutionize housing and at-risk support services in the region. The Center for Hope and Healing will be a facility that provides a variety of resources and services to assist individuals experiencing homelessness in transitioning out of homelessness. The center will offer basic necessities such as showers, laundry facilities, and access to food, as well as a range of services such as job training, counseling, and healthcare - both on-site and through partnerships. In addition to practical resources, the Center for Hope and Healing will offer programs and activities to promote social connectedness and a sense of community among individuals experiencing homelessness. By participating in these programs and activities, individuals can develop positive relationships and gain a sense of belonging within their community with respect and dignity. 

To help achieve this bold vision, the Change Often team has assembled and facilitated a Steering Committee consisting of key community stakeholders, a Practitioner's Working Group consisting of prospective agency and service partners, and a Capital Campaign Advisory Committee. Key outcomes of our work to date include $7.5 million in funding secured from federal, state, county, city, and private sources towards a goal of $11.9 million; a preliminary program plan that will inform facility design; and, perhaps most importantly, alignment among key stakeholders around the need for and vision for this new facility.

"Seeing the work done by Ryan Ross and our various committees, I know we have created a time in High Point’s history where various representatives from every sector (nonprofit, private, and public) have come together for the purpose of enriching the lives of those experiencing homelessness. I have hope that this will provide a foundation upon which more community investment projects can be built thanks to the strengthening of those relationships in High Point. Working with these entities has been educational and enriching." Josh Cameron, Associate for Research and Project Delivery 


"As our region continues to grow and housing and other costs of living increase, I believe it's critical that we as a community provide support to people experiencing homelessness and who are at-risk of experiencing homelessness. This is both a moral imperative and a practical one. If we fail to act now, this problem will only get worse and the remedies more expensive. The shelter and wraparound services that are envisioned for this facility extend a holistic approach to assisting people that I think is very much needed to address the complex issue of homelessness. It's an honor to partner alongside Open Door Ministries to build the momentum and support for this project that will so greatly benefit those experiencing homelessness in our community!" Rod Brooks, Senior Consultant

Business High Point Chamber of Commerce | THRIVE High Point Minority Entrepreneurship Initiative 

It is the perfect example of what happens when collaborative stakeholders from multiple sectors—public, private, and nonprofit—come together to fund, design, implement, and grow an Upstream solution that has measurable economic impact. 

THRIVE High Point, launched in Summer 2021, was intended to create a sustainable course of action to support the growth and development of minority-owned and economically-challenged businesses in the City of High Point. Through this outcome, project collaborators hoped that entrepreneurs would be provided with support such as non-traditional business financing, technical assistance, mentorship, and business coaching. THRIVE started with High Point University’s $500,000 challenge gift and the High Point Community Foundation’s agreement to act as the fiduciary agent. Facilitated by Change Often - Social Innovation Firm, a steering committee of community leaders worked to identify the National Institute of Minority Economic Development (The Institute) as the partner for collaborative programming. 

“As a social innovator, working on both the creation and expansion of THRIVE has been extremely fulfilling. When we consider the challenges faced by so many in our communities, we must recognize that disparate health & social outcomes are the byproduct of economic circumstances. When we make the commitment to invest in small businesses, especially those owned and led by BIPOC individuals, we are maximizing the potential for positive outcomes downstream.” Cyril Jefferson, Principal Consultant

The mission of THRIVE is to empower and engage minority business owners through intentional programming that maximizes their entrepreneurial efforts; the vision is a robust and THRIVING business environment that embodies and embraces the diversity of an inclusive entrepreneurial ecosystem. 


“Working on THRIVE was a great opportunity to work with Business High Point: Chamber of Commerce and learn more about the small business community in High Point. We were intentional about engaging with stakeholders to uncover common challenges for local businesses and begin designing a program to provide support to help small businesses be more successful.” Tiffany Boller, Director of Learning and Education Content





NC Pro Soccer | Carolina Core FC + Carolina Core Soccer Foundation

Oftentimes, major initiatives add community engagement to the playbook as an ancillary measure, but for Carolina Core Football Club, it's a fundamental part of project viability here in High Point. It has been since the first conversations with the now-Executive Vice President, Brian Gavigan!

Carolina Core FC is a movement to unify the greater NC Core area through the highest level of competitive soccer in the region. The launch of the new team, set for its inaugural season in Spring 2024 in the greater NC Core, will be the region’s first and only professional level soccer team and will provide player pathways and major economic impact to the region. Carolina Core Soccer Foundation ensures access to high quality youth soccer programs in central North Carolina as it promotes and enhances the development of a diverse group of youth players on and off the field, building individual leadership and strengthening communities. 

In partnership with Brian Gavigan, Change Often supported the very early work of this initiative through research & data analysis, fundraising strategy development, stakeholder engagement , and relevant subject matter expertise to tailor this team's programming for social impact. NC Core in High Point will reduce the barrier of access to soccer to and empower uplift the community through innovation and diversity. 


Clarice Sigsworth, Director of Impact Partner Development, loved collaborating in the early stages of setting up what is now Carolina Core Football Club because it allowed us to lay the framework for a community-centered initiative from the very beginning. 


Change Often's collaborations and partnerships are the way in which we get work done! By investing in the well-being of the community, whether it be the entrepreneurial spirit, reducing homelessness, or increasing professional athletics in the Triad, we are working towards a stronger, more resilient future for High Point. These initiatives exemplify the power of collaboration, highlighting the value it brings to the city and its residents. Together, let's continue to build a sustainable future, one project at a time, and create a community we can all be proud of. Stay tuned for more inspiring stories of collaboration and social innovation in our upcoming blog series!