Community Building Across America’s 3142 Counties

What inspired the creation of 3142?

The need for this program was inspired by frustration on both sides of the political aisle relating to a lack of effective voice and representation in the current political system. 3142 is designed to facilitate dialogue around the unifying principles of American democracy while restoring agency to Americans who feel disconnected from public life.

A look into 3142

Through county-level outreach and programming across the 3,142 counties that make up the United States, the 3142 Program promotes civil dialogue and productive engagement on local issues. It provides tools and strategic guidelines for addressing the five key areas of concern to everyday Americans: Jobs, Healthcare, the Opioid Crisis, Education, and Equitable Access.

Through field research and ecosystem mapping, we help counties form local task forces to collectively solve the issues they identify within their communities over the course of two years, restoring agency on a county level and incorporating results into the seven steps toward sustainable peace.


Movement building: from the bottom up.

3142 Ecosystem Mapping

Ecosystem mapping is an essential first step in our process for building each county’s task force. Unique to each county’s priority issues that residents identify themselves, Millions develops curriculum and resources on topic areas of concern and recruits local leaders to gather, discuss, and co-create avenues for collaborative solutions.

Each county will have different levels of mapping as experiences are unique and vast across America’s landscape. We work with existing initiatives to capture best practices while tailoring these efforts to support the nuances of rural America.

Facilitating field work in Grundy County, TN

Where are we now with 3142? Glad you asked!

We are on the ground conducting field work in Grundy County, TN, our pilot county for this program. We have successfully mapped the county’s ecosystem, established a local task force led by Emily Partin and Katie Goforth. 

The task force has identified housing and supporting the South Cumberland Community Center as critical needs to address. With an office in the Community Center, Millions hosts regular task force meetings. 

By September 2022, the task force will be ready to develop a comprehensive action plan that will track progress and milestones. 

Addressing Generational Poverty in Grundy County, TN

A note from Emily Partin:


Living in poverty can impact how your brain develops as a child and create a cascade of effects into adulthood. Research has proven how several adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) can set the stage for chronic disease, both physical and emotional, later in life. Most studies revolve around the impact of abuse, neglect, and severe loss, but now, poverty has been added to the list of ACEs. What happens when a community has over 20% of its population living in poverty for at least two generations? The impact can be devastating to the families and to the community itself.

As a mental health professional in rural Grundy County, Tennessee, I consistently work with families living in poverty. To be clear, this is more than not having financial resources. The lack of jobs, food, medical and behavioral health services, transportation options, livable housing, playgrounds, and many other opportunities most take for granted is front and center in Grundy County. Living with scant resources is the norm for most.

I am passionate about bringing more resources to this underserved community. The passion has begun to bear fruit with the recent opening of a one-stop-shop family resource center in an old high school in Tracy City.

The South Cumberland Learning and Development Center (SCLDC) was not created as much for the “convenience” of having services under one roof, but more as a model that recognizes the interconnectedness of life’s domains: health, education, work, art, spirit, etc.

Looking to promising programs such as EMPath’s Mobility Mentoring for best practice guidance, we address a client’s executive functioning and decision-making skills (skills directly impaired when growing up in poverty) through a structured goal-setting framework. When working with families, we cover these multiple domains, including family stability, well-being, education, financial management, and career development.

No “one magic bullet” will solve generational poverty’s impact on a community. Instead, there will need to be multiple ongoing conversations with each client, each family, each helping agency, each employer, and each community on the mountain if we expect to find a sustainable solution. I might even say it’ll take millions of conversations!

To our good fortune at this time, Millions of Conversations is here to help navigate this process of listening. A group of engaged citizens is working with Millions’ 3142 program to build upon the success of the SCLDC mission and create a strong foundation of services that address the community’s identified needs. We are hopeful for the future of our community and the healing that will come from our partnership.

Emily C. Partin
Program Coordinator
Catholic Charities

Share this