The eight forms of community wealth, Part 7: Social capital

There are eight forms of community wealth that, when working together, enhance economic development in rural communities. This article focuses on one of those forms: social capital.

In a previous article we discussed WealthWorks, a program provided through Yellow Wood Associates. The WealthWorks approach incorporates eight forms of community wealth to holistically address economic development in rural communities. The seventh form of community wealth is social capital.

Social capital is a community’s trust, relationships and networks that support civil society.

There are two forms of social capital; bridging and bonding. Investments in bridging social capital are those that lead to unprecedented conversations, shared experiences, and connec­tions between otherwise unconnected individuals and groups. Investments in bonding social capital are those that strengthen relationships within groups. For example, sponsoring a town-wide festival could be seen as an investment in bonding social capital for town residents. Earnings from investment in social capital include improved health outcomes, educational outcomes and reduced transaction costs and time, among others.

A West Michigan team has recently completed their WealthWorks training and has begun project development and implementation, focusing on trails and pathways. A Michigan State University Extension Educator is part of this team, serving in the role of coordinator.

Thank you to Yellow Wood Associates who provided permission for use of their materials. To learn how to register for upcoming WealthWorks training programs, contact Yellow Wood Associates.

Learn about the other forms of community wealth:

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