About The Hearth
Our Mission: Transformational Storytelling
The Hearth trusts in the power of personal stories to heal, connect, enrich, and mobilize communities for good. We believe that in an increasingly fast-paced and fractured world, sharing stories can be a radical and deeply human practice for strengthening common values, combating loneliness, cultivating compassion, and uncovering the ties that bind us to one another.
We know that when stories are told in community there is often an invitation to act—confront a social problem, bridge divisions, embody a new awareness or understanding. We work to assist communities in discerning the actions their stories invite. Often this means creating safe and transformative settings where marginalized and suffering people feel empowered to share their experiences. We also know that honest storytelling can be playful, evoking humorous self-recognition, delight and gratitude for the pleasures of life.
There are as many ways to share a story as there are people. Over the years, The Hearth has developed a variety of tested, transformative, accessible storytelling methods inviting people to write, record, sing, photograph, upload, gather with others, or stand in front of a microphone to share what they have lived. Through providing safe and welcoming spaces, The Hearth is committed to transforming residents into neighbors, enemies into friends, and towns into communities. Ultimately, we believe that gathering to share stories is one of the deepest, transformative, and most pleasurable activities we do as human beings.
The Hearth has led numerous workshops, retreats, and public events for community builders, educators, faith leaders, nonprofit staff, and activists across the United States and United Kingdom. We have collaborated with a number of organizations including The Ford Family Foundation, The Austin Center for Mexican American Cultural Arts, Oregon Department of Human Resources, The Greenbelt Festival, The Oregon Community Foundation, The Boys and Girls Club, Geos Institute, The Center for Congregations, GirlForward, Princeton Theological Seminary, Grassroots Leadership, The Wild Goose Festival, Asante Hospice Services, The Church in Wales, OnTrack Addiction Recovery, Southern Oregon Friends of Hospice, SHARE-Refugee Support, Uncle Food’s Diner, The Family Nurturing Center, The Maslow Project, Austin Theological Seminary, Rogue Valley Farm to School, Dunn House, The Ashland Foodbank, Winterspring Grief Counseling, Mediation Works, Oregon Shakespeare Festival, Klamath Siskiyou Wildlands Center, Jobs for Justice, Eyes to Burma, The Afghan Child Project, Rogue Climate, Community Works Crisis Hotline, Unite Oregon, Rogue Valley Racial Equity Coalition, Sexual Assault Response Team of Jackson County, Southern Oregon Pride, Rogue Valley Veterans Outreach.
Through all our work, we’ve helped thousands of people experience compassion, personal empowerment, and the pure joy of human connection by providing safe and transformative spaces for people to share their journey with others.
A sampling of projects include:
- Working with The Mexican American Center in Austin, Texas to give voice to the suffering of undocumented people.
- Creating a platform for people in North Wales to hear the stories of refugees after the Brexit vote.
- Recording and presenting stories of kindness and generosity to promote healing after a shooting at Umpqua Community College.
- Partnering with the State of Oregon to help small towns address racial differences.
- Collaborating with the Oregon Shakespeare Festival to explore themes of separation and inclusion.
Board of Directors
Ben Bellinson, Board President
Mark DiRienzo, Board Treasurer
Alma Rosa Alvarez
The Hearth is a nonprofit registered in the State of Oregon (ID 46-2554780).
Center for Disaster Philanthropy
National Endowment for the Humanities
Oregon Community Foundation
Oregon Cultural Trust
Oregon Health Authority
The Ford Family Foundation
United Way of the Columbia Willamette