Have you heard of ECHO? Maybe; maybe not. Our mission isn't to help the homeless secure housing, or provide food to all those in Forsyth County who are hungry, or even to offer educational opportunities to our most vulnerable children, but our work may very well be critical to the next steps that we take as a community where these issues are concerned.
ECHO (Everyone Can Help Out) got its start at the Winston-Salem Foundation back in 1999 as our community’s formal dive into social capital. Social capital is the connections between people that strengthen all aspects of a community. In the early 2000s, Winston-Salem participated in a National Social Capital Benchmark survey that cited our social capital challenges including, but not limited to, low interracial trust, low levels of volunteerism, and lack of diversity in leadership. Why is social capital important? Quite simply, communities with a high level of social capital report higher levels of happiness, have better health outcomes, experience less crime and have thriving local economies.
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Nathsha Gore is the executive director of the ECHO Network. The Journal welcomes original submissions for guest columns on local, regional and statewide topics. Essay length should not exceed 750 words. The writer should have some authority for writing about his or her subject. Our email address is: Letters@wsjournal.com. Essays may also be mailed to: The Readers' Forum, P.O. Box 3159, Winston-Salem, NC 27102. Please include your name and address and a daytime telephone number.