What We Learned When We Asked About Your Community

Early this fall, we sent you a community survey to gauge your thoughts and feelings about a range of issues related to our work, especially the challenges facing families and children living on the margins.

We’re so grateful for your response. Over 1,400 of you completed the survey, and took these questions seriously and thoughtfully. We will be sorting through your feedback for some time to come.

Recently, at a lunch in Dallas, one of you came to my table and said, in essence, “David, I just want to thank you for the survey because it is really helping me think about where I should give my time and my money.”

Another person from my church, who is not on our mailing list, said his mother received the survey and asked for his help filling it out. Our 5-10 minute survey turned into a 90 minute conversation. While filling out the survey with his mother, he learned the ways she and his father had worked to address many of these issues throughout their lives.

Some responses weren’t easy to hear. I know this survey raised very uncomfortable issues about our society and our responsibility to our neighbors.

Another friend of mine emailed me and said, “The questions caused me to realize I had been living in my own world without stopping to consider my ‘neighbor.’ I have some work to do!”

The company helping us administer this project explained that your responses reveal a deep engagement with the questions and with the H. E. Butt Foundation. In fact, when they presented the results to our executive team, the company said this is one of the most meaningful surveys they’ve had the opportunity to conduct in over 20 years of work.

I’m grateful for my friends’ vulnerability. For all of the diverse perspectives we saw in the survey results, it is clear that we are all aligned around what is important in our communities. In fact, five of the top seven issues that you mentioned are ones that we consider central to our mission: mental health services, character and moral values, spiritual health, people living in poverty, and services for people in need. Your responses validated the work we are doing to begin answering the question who is our neighbor. We’re onto something!

Look for more about this survey to come later, but for now, here’s a small taste of what we heard from you.


David Rogers
Winter 2019


Which issues need the most attention in your community?


(top nine answers shown of 19 options)


Mental health challenges touch us all—they occur without respect to ethnicity, income or education level, faith background, or what part of town you live in.

Some of the issues people feel need less attention—people living in poverty, safety net services, family wellness, health care access—are likely those many of us do not see or encounter ourselves. This finding encourages us to maintain our focus on neighboring together and building relationships—we will care about the challenges we actually encounter, not those we just read about.


Do you agree or disagree with the following statements?


(% who agree only)


Our people likely tend to be a part of congregations that are consistent and vocal about serving people who are living in poverty.

We are excited to see the strong indication of solidarity—”we are all in this together.”

One of you wrote:

“I know a lot of good people are doing what they can. It just seems like we can never get ahead. Like emptying a swimming pool with a spoon. There will always be work to do. Never give up—just take a breath and push forward.”


Which initiatives are you presently doing and/or appeal to you?



We’re generous with personal financial resources and likely to give money to nonprofits and food to pantries.

We have an opportunity to lean harder into relationships—some of the lowest results were initiatives that involve being with people: helping a sister congregation, mentoring. We’re working to create opportunities for some of you to build these relationships.

More from this issue

Running Together to Heal Together

A Band of Runners treks across the Canyon during their Foundation Camp retreat in November.

Calling Us to Know Our Neighbors

Recapping a lunchtime conversation on hunger and poverty that we hosted in October.

What Birds Are Telling Us About the Environment

What bird songs teach us about the health of the Frio River Canyon.

Talking to the Living Legend of LLYC

A Q&A with Senior Director of Laity Lodge Youth Camp—Chandler Pruitt.