We strive to connect communities across the US with films of remarkable people and organizations doing uncommon work for the common good, to stimulate positive action by people in any community who care for our future.

We have produced films since 2012, underwritten by people who have the vision of a better world. We donate the films we create back the organizations we feature and work with them to engage others through in person or virtual film screenings to share and promote positive change.

The Whidbey Institute on Whidbey Island, outside of Seattle, WA., is our fiscal agent. We are a small operations team with advisors from all over the country. 

We believe in the power of stories to connect us and help us understand one another.
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We are dedicated to supporting courageous, generous souls who are creating and serving their communities.


We use film to document stories that deepen our understanding of people and processes that strengthen our communities.

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We're part of a vital movement committed to building resilient, sustainable, inclusive communities.

With films and gatherings, we are creating a world with a deep sense of belonging. 

What is a 
Thriving Community?

It's one that fosters a sense of belonging, that feels alive, engaged, welcoming, and resilient. Where people creatively approach problems that arise and work together to navigate change. It’s one you’re glad to come home to. It’s one you love.  It is this type of spirit and this type of love that can transform opponents into friends as embodied in the description of Dr. King’s Beloved Community.

Our movement is framed by Martin Luther King Jr.'s Beloved Communities philosophy.

Our History

Thriving Communities (TC) grew out of the joy and inspiration that Jerry Millhon found in his work as Director of the Whidbey Institute in 2011. Along with others he began to see TC as a call to action—to tell stories about people who inspired actions and movements that celebrate and make a profound difference in neighborhoods and communities. As one person observed in a Gathering, "I have lived in this community for many years. I never knew many of these organizations existed. I want to get involved!" Dr. King's Beloved Community has inspired all our work.


We have deeply listened to thriving communities across the U.S. to support and uphold their stories through filmmaking. But that is only the first step: Each year we convene to honor those we have filmed and provide space for people to connect with them and with others gathered. We share these stories and the people we honor as a gift of collaboration and inspiration for those interested. We have such a deep sense of respect, gratitude, and love for the work and gifts of the people that each film portrays. 


During our first 8 years of work, we focused on the basic needs and resilience of humankind, highlighting topics such as food, water, shelter, art, health, and wellness. Thriving communities continues to expand. We are exploring invisibility, inequality, trauma and the unseen. As the world is challenged by divisiveness and rancor, we are exploring the other side which includes inclusivity, diversity and hope based on action and outcome. Furthering our community engagement is key. Our inquiry includes the beautiful, learning, teachable, parts that are sometimes not easy to unpack or discuss.

We believe that sharing stories helps us understand ourselves and each other.  
Join the Thriving Community!

Find your people. Watch films. 
Share knowledge. Grow.


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