Greater St. Cloud Community Pillars
Broad Involvement Leads to Greater Community Change
The Greater St. Cloud Community Pillars Forum is an annual gathering of hundreds of area residents who have a shared interest in working collectively to advance the region’s top priorities.
The goals of the annual forum are to elevate awareness, increase collaboration, leverage resources, provide an opportunity for people to volunteer their talents, and to reinforce a shared vision for the region.
“Greater St. Cloud truly has all the resources to continue to build a great community,” said Matt Varilek, Initiative Foundation president. “The key to continuing to make the community better is a common vision that engages people, encourages collaboration, and excites the larger community about what our community can be.”
The Greater St. Cloud Community Pillars initiative got its start in 2010 when 40 Greater St. Cloud area leaders took a bus trip to Dubuque, Iowa—a city that was having great success in planning and executing a shared communitywide vision. What they learned was a revelation: The secret to Dubuque’s success was not in the assets the community possessed but in the way in which it collectively used its assets to plan for the future. On the bus ride home, community leaders realized that St. Cloud had the necessary assets. It was a common vision that was missing. And from that inspiration, the Greater St. Cloud Community Priorities initiative was born.
“Greater St. Cloud is a great place to call home and will only continue to get better by us imagining what the future of our community might be,” said Steve Joul, president of the Central Minnesota Community Foundation. “It’s a diverse community with six municipalities, three counties and multiple civic-minded organizations, each with its own plans and visions for the areas they serve. The opportunity exists for us to continue to find priority areas we all share that will strengthen the region as a whole. In strengthening the whole, each individual partner is better off as well.”