At Mt. Hood Town Hall, a promising sign

September 14, 2011

The Mt. Hood Town Hall has undergone major renovations over the past few years, but it lacked a prominent sign to draw attention to the stately century-old building set back from Highway 35.

No longer. Thanks to a grant and a community leadership class sponsored by the Ford Family Foundation, a new sign was dedicated last week that completes the building's makeover.

"The sign dedication was officially our graduation," said Don Benton, a member of the Leadership Development Class, part of the Ford Family Foundation's "Ford Institute Leadership Program."

Community members are nominated to take part in the program (Benton, a board member of The Next Door, was nominated by fellow board members), and work with other "class" members to bring a project to fruition.

The Town Hall sign project was one of several possibilities that won out among class members, according to Benton.

After approval by the foundation - which pays for half of the project up to $12,000 - the program members work together over several months to carry out the project.

"The class has to plan it, raise money, get in-kind donations and general community support," said Benton, who had a very positive experience with the program.

"Everybody in that class helped me become a better leader," he said.

"The bottom line through it all was to show what we could do as a class, to use our skills that we had learned from others or knew as a group, get a project going, and do it from start to finish," he said.

Benton and the other class members are better for it, and so is the Mt. Hood Town Hall.

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