At the Cumming-Forsyth County Chamber of Commerce’s annual State of the Community program earlier this month, Northside Hospital-Forsyth administrator Lynn Jackson proffered an interesting take on why the county has succeeded in building a quality of life that is the envy of many others throughout the country.
The secret, Jackson said, is “support.”
“Everyone in this room today, we are one big support group,” Jackson said to an audience that included representatives from the city and county governments, school system and business community.
And she’s right. The incredible record of success and achievement in the county is, to a great deal, attributable to the willingness of various elements of the overall community to work together for the common good.
What makes it work, and what differentiates Forsyth from many other communities, is that the foundation of support is built solidly from the bottom up, starting with everyday folks in neighborhoods from Matt to Midway who have shown time and again that they are willing to sacrifice their time, and their money, for a better county.
The elected officials at the Chamber program rattled off an impressive list of projects in many different areas that are well deserving of recognition — parks, public safety, recreation, higher education, transportation. In almost every instance, the willingness of the county’s taxpayers to vote to increase their own taxes through SPLOST or bond referendums was a key factor in turning optimistic dreams into concrete reality.
The community’s track record in support of progressive government initiatives is certainly impressive, but it is in the realm of charitable philanthropy that the county truly shines. It is almost impossible to peruse a week’s worth of pages in the Forsyth County News without finding some event in which local residents, on their own initiative, are working together for the benefit of others in the county, state or nation.
Just the past few days have seen thousands participating in Relay for Life, the celebration of the United Way raising $1.9 million in its annual campaign, a “March for Babies” that generated more than $117,000, a joint effort of the post office and United Way in a Stamp Out Hunger Drive, a concert to raise funds for victims of depression, a fundraiser for those with substance abuse problems, and a festival to help “feed the hungry.”
While spring is the busiest season for such events, in truth they take place year round, and the numbers of people involved, the amount of money raised, and the numbers helped by such philanthropic efforts truly are amazing.
Community support. It does make a difference. It is a major reason that Forsyth County enjoys a standard of living and quality of life that rank it as one of the nation’s best.
“As a big support group, we should be congratulating one another on the great work that’s being done,” Jackson said.
We agree. Pat yourself on the back. You deserve it.