Why Naming Our Gifts Matters

Updated: Feb 15

The Hopeful Neighborhood Project has spent much time and energy helping people name what gifts they have. This has included conducting nation-wide research and building a reliable, easy-to-use gift inventory called EveryGift.

But why? Why is it so important that we recognize and name the gifts that we possess? In The Abundant Community: Awakening the Power of Families and Neighborhoods, John McKnight and Peter Block suggest an answer as they discuss the role of gifts in a competent community:

“We begin to see that the neighborhood is a treasure chest. By opening the chest and putting the gifts together in many different ways, we multiply the power of its riches. A competent community builds on the gifts of its people. It knows that a gift is not a gift until it is given. Before it is given, it is only a beautifully wrapped box in a drawer. It is a capacity held in exile. Gifts need to be named and exchanged, not only to create a competent community, but also to create a functioning family. This is a family that has discovered its capacity to produce for itself, together with a competent community, all that is required for a tru