Inspiration starts with a conversation

From the cafe at Tec Centro, to the tables at Lyndon Diner; from the refugee resettlement offices of Church World Service, to dozens of homes across Lancaster County, our community came together on May 20 & 21 to talk about their ideas, hopes, and dreams for Lancaster as part of At The Table. At The Table is a way to invite all voices to the table, because when everyone is included, our passions, our ideas, and our drive to get involved can move Lancaster County forward.

At The Table is a first step; a way for all voices from our community to be heard.

We heard hundreds of ideas from community-members across the county: from after school programs to local food co-ops, your most hopeful ideas spanned a wide-range of issue areas and focuses. These ideas represented the best of what makes Lancaster County so extraordinary: its roll-up-your-sleeves work ethic to make our community strong.

Here are the top 3 themes from your conversations

Using your responses to the At The Table survey, we partnered with the Center for Opinion Research at Franklin & Marshall College to analyze and categorize your thoughts and ideas. These themes weren't the only ones covered in conversations, but they were the most-discussed topics from the weekend.

"I want to instill in my young kids a sense of social responsibility. I believe that together we can all make a better tomorrow for their generation."

People who were At The Table want to be involved in their neighborhoods and larger communities. There was a large number of respondents who wanted more volunteer opportunities and more ways for different communities within Lancaster to work together to improve our county.

"Break down the invisible walls that make people or different groups feel unwelcome in some public spaces."

Lancaster has a complex history of being both a welcoming place for refugees, as well as one that continues to grapple with deeply-rooted segregation. Many people who were At The Table had a unifying desire to work on eliminating barriers that keep sectors of our community from feeling like part of the whole, be it social, economic, cultural, or more.

"There is a need for creative housing when it comes to the under-served. Housing that includes life skills and specialized services."

Thriving in a community requires housing that can meet the needs of its citizens. Many people who were At The Table spoke about the availability, affordability, and quality of housing in Lancaster County.

What's next?

The gatherings on May 20 & 21 were an important first step, but only a beginning. We know that lasting, positive, community engagement never truly ends. For now, At The Table feedback will:

  • Inform the Community Foundation's strategy and future planning
  • Be shared with other community-based organizations working to improve lives in Lancaster County
  • Be available online at for community members to access and reference.

What does it all mean?

At The Table demonstrated that the spirit of community--and the desire to grow it--is thriving in Lancaster. Conversations across the county reinforced that you have ideas, hopes, and inspirations; not only about what makes our community strong, but what makes it stronger, and a willingness to help create paths to get there. Your voice and your ideas helped make At The Table gatherings a success.

Pictures and tweets from tables all across Lancaster County took over social media on May 20 & 21 using #AtTheTableLanc! Check out tables from your community:

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