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We hope you enjoy this abbreviated version of the

Frankenmuth News

Serving Frankenmuth Since 1906

Vol. 114 No. 28 - In our 114th year!

Wednesday, January 15, 2020

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Heart & Soul initiative to focus on community engagement 

  The community of Frankenmuth has always been a tight-knit group of citizens who pull together in times of need, have like minds in terms on education, religion and government and most are ardent volunteers.

  Late last year, the movers and shakers of the community came together to find better ways for residents to communicate with Frankenmuth leadership.

  The City of Frankenmuth, the Frankenmuth School District, the Frankenmuth Community Foundation and the Frankenmuth Chamber of Commerce and Convention & Visitors Bureau have joined together for a community project called "Frankenmuth Heart & Soul.”

 The project focuses on community engagement and conversation to help alter the way residents interact with decision makers.

  The first meeting for this initiative will take place on Thursday, January 23, in the Frankenmuth High School cafeteria, from 5:30-7:30pm. Dinner and babysitting will be available during the meeting. This meeting is open to the entire community and everyone is invited to participate. Business owners are also encouraged to inform their employees of the event and invite them to attend.

  The primary Heart & Soul planners are Frankenmuth City Manager Bridget Smith, Frankenmuth School District Superintendent Adele Martin, Frankenmuth Community Foundation Executive Director Jonathan Webb, Frankenmuth Chamber of Commerce CEO/Executive Director Jamie Furbush, Frankenmuth Mayor Mary Anne Ackermann, Chase Kreger and Jill Suchodolski. Kreger is a Frankenmuth Jaycee and gives a connection to the younger residents of the community and Suchodolski works as staff support for the city.

  An RSVP is not required for this free event, but is appreciated. Contact Jill Suchodolski (989-652-3430,  extension 105) or email her at

  Although Frankenmuth Township is not yet an official partner, the board is also involved in the process. The board plans to discuss the project at their next meeting.

  “Working together, the city, the Frankenmuth School District, the chamber of commerce and Frankenmuth Community Foundation are focused on figuring out what matters most,” Smith said.  “These groups have officially committed to the Orton Family Foundation’s Community Heart & Soul initiative.”

  The project has an outside facilitator and is funded through a grant with the Orton Family Foundation (who have supported similar projects in other small towns) and the Frankenmuth Community Foundation.

  “The Orton Family Foundation’s goal is to build stronger, healthier and more vibrant communities. Community Heart & Soul is a two-year initiative which focuses on community development. This process is designed to not only engage residents to find out what matters most, but to change the way in which residents interact with local government, other local agencies like the schools and chamber and each other,” Smith explained.

  This initiative also emphasizes the importance of hearing all voices in the community, including those voices that are not often heard.

  “Working together to discover what matters most will help build a road map for future decision making that will help enhance and preserve what the community loves about Frankenmuth,” Smith noted.

  Local governments and agencies host public meetings often but this process is designed to be different and very resident driven. The initiative organizers will be looking to residents to help determine what their priorities should be now and in the future.

  “This is not a one and done process. We really want to hear stories, concerns and hopes from our residents and stakeholders and use what we hear to set goals that we can reach as a community,” Martin said.

  For more information about the Frankenmuth Heart & Soul process and the Orton Family Foundation, you can visit

  “We believe the information residents and others share will be valuable in helping to set the course of our community, not just the city, as a whole. Our intention is to involve everyone we can who considers Frankenmuth home,” Smith concluded.

(c) 2006 Frankenmuth News