Greg's Writings

Josh Yates speaking to others in a crowd

Unleashing creativity and innovation for regions to thrive

In late October, Belmont hosted our inaugural Hope Summit—a 3-day event focused on unleashing creativity and innovation for regions to thrive. We welcomed hundreds of people interested in this topic—entrepreneurs, thought leaders, inventors, funders, philanthropists, researchers, academicians, students and more. 

From curated table conversations to engagement over coffee, one thing was clear: This work is important, and it’s a team sport. 

It cannot effectively be done by one single entity—either a single institution or a single person. It will require networks of innovators coming together to offer their resources and insights to spur action. That’s what will lead to our common goal: human flourishing for all. 

There is an incredible sense of enthusiasm at Belmont around the chance to get engaged in social impact work, and it’s not new to our community. There are examples—of every shape and size—all across our campus of work being done in a variety of verticals that are focused on helping regions and communities thrive. But this work is so much bigger than one group, one campus.

As we heard from so many during our conversations last week, true impact that leads to thriving requires an entire ecosystem—representatives from all corners of our community who want to dig into the important issues and radically champion a different way. That’s who we are at Belmont, and we recognize that work that leads to change must be done through collaborative, innovative partnerships. 

I’m grateful for the energy that’s continuing to grow around these conversations, and I’m even more energized by the focus on action that will result in the largest impact. One of the Hope Summit’s sessions invited participants to examine this simple but important question: What counts as impact?

Josh Yates and Jay Hein sit in front of a group of people giving a presentation.

Jay Hein, Chief Executive Officer of Sagamore Institute and Managing Director of impact investing platform Commonwealth, spoke to this exact question during a session last week as he described a few current projects his team has underway. Impact, from his perspective, is best achieved when we can truly combine efforts. If we’re aligned on what he calls “grand ambition with clarity,” and we bring together our greatest resources and require nothing less from excellence, we can take scalable steps that lead to true and sustainable impact. But only when we operate as a system and recognize the responsibility that’s before us. 

We are eager and excited to build partnerships—coalitions centered on action—with other entities that share this passion. If you are looking for:

  • A community of like-minded people who are striving to be radical champions for greater social impact in your community
  • An institutional partner or platform where you can be trained and equipped to improve your ability to drive toward greater impact on the issues you care most about
  • Opportunities to take action with people who are motivated by their faith to use the creativity and innovative energy they possess to seek the thriving of their communities and the well being of their neighbor

You’ve come to the right place. We want to work with you, and we’re eager to get started together. 

If not now, when? And if not in networks together, who?

–By Josh Yates, Pathway 2 Catalyst & Executive Director of the Belmont Innovation Labs