Venango Heart & Soul

Every Town Has a Heart and Soul That Reflects What Residents Love About Their Community and Why They Choose to Be Here

What is Community Heart & Soul?

Developed and field-tested over a decade in partnership with small cities and towns across the United States, Community Heart & Soul is a proven process for engaging a community in shaping its future.

Based on three powerful principles – involve everyone, focus on what matters most, and play the long game – Community Heart & Soul helps towns move toward a brighter, more prosperous future by bringing community residents closer together.

When residents get closer, differences fade and the things they care most about replace the differences. Trust is built and residents become stronger believers in their communities and more collaborative in their decision-making. People continue to stay in their communities, new people move in, and investment in towns increases.

Community Heart & Soul is unique in how it engages residents. It is a highly inclusive process that reaches deep into communities to ensure all voices are represented in determining a town’s future. Instead of bringing residents to the table, Community Heart & Soul brings the table to residents at community events, neighborhood block parties, schools, businesses, and virtual gatherings.

How Community Heart & Soul Works?

Community Heart & Soul is a resident-driven process that engages the entire population of a town in identifying what they love most about their community, what future they want for it, and how to achieve it. Organized into four phases, the step-by-step process is led by a Certified Coach who guides a community through the Heart & Soul process.

Heart & Soul is a two-year journey to gather residents’ stories about living, working, and playing in their community. This resident-driven data will drive public decision-making, putting people first in community development and planning processes.

Three powerful principles guide the Heart & Soul model:

Involve Everyone
Hearing from all residents, especially those whose voices are hidden or missing, is a priority throughout the Community Heart & Soul process.



Focus on What Matters Most

When residents share what they love about where they live and identify their hopes for the future, common themes emerge. These are the things that matter most to residents and become the foundation for sound decision-making.


Play the Long Game
Community Heart & Soul is just the beginning
of an evolutionary way towns view themselves, how they govern, and how they make decisions about the future. Communities are equipped for the long run with the skills and tools to continue doing business guided by what matters most—their community’s Heart & Soul.

Why Now? 

5 Ways Heart & Soul Communities Experience Social and Economic Benefits

Volunteer Here:

This isn’t just any project—it’s a movement driven by YOU, the residents of Venango County who live, work, or play here. For this round of Venango Heart & Soul, we will be focusing on the center/population centers of the county – Oil City, Franklin, and Cranberry Township. For the next two years, we’ll be on a journey to uncover what makes our communities special, and how we can make them even better.

Imagine a future where every voice is heard, where everyone’s story matters. That’s what Community Heart & Soul is all about. We’re putting YOU at the center of decision-making, shaping the future of Venango County together.

But we can’t do it alone. We need YOUR involvement to make this vision a reality. Whether you’ve lived here for years or just arrived, your perspective is crucial. Let’s unite our communities, celebrating what makes each one unique while building connections that last a lifetime.

Supported by a team of passionate volunteers, we’re on a mission to reach every corner of our towns, ensuring that no voice goes unheard. Together, we’ll create an action plan that reflects the heart and soul of our communities.

This isn’t just another project—it’s a commitment to making our towns the best they can be. And it all starts with YOU. Join us on this exciting journey as we build a brighter future for Venango County, one story at a time.

Whether you devote a few hours out of your month to help with miscellaneous tasks, or you’d like to join one of our Sub-Teams (including Communications, Event-Planning, Story-Gathering, and various others), we have a place where you can use your unique skills and develop your interests.

Share your talents and time with Venango County by serving on our Heart & Soul teams or volunteering to help with our Heart & Soul movement! Complete our Team Interest Form HERE or email Ashley at

We can’t wait to hear from you and help you find out how you can become a part of Venango County Heart & Soul!

Have Any Questions?
Please reach out with any questions or thoughts you may have. Our team is always happy to gather input and share information about the Venango Heart & Soul!


Ashley Smith
24 Seneca Street, Oil City PA 16301