Allen County has experienced a century of decline in population, as well as economic and health conditions. People were reluctant to fill the few jobs available, in part because they simply did not want to live in Allen County. As a result, in the early 2000’s, local residents found themselves “chasing smokestacks” in futile efforts to recruit a factory to town. But, recruitment was unsuccessful and the situation became untenable: the hospital was deteriorating, community institutions were starting to fall apart, and the basic conditions that make a community livable were starting to disappear. Ultimately, a group of locals — ranging from healthcare providers to a domestic violence shelter — recognized that existing efforts were unsuccessful; a new approach was needed.