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    Making Change: Square Roots Collective

    “We want a Kennett Square where everyone can thrive.”

    - Mike Bontrager, founder of Chatham Financial and Square Roots Collective and owner of The Creamery. 

    “Kennett is blessed with people who are community oriented, have unique stories, and are proud of their heritage.” Square Roots Collective supports projects that celebrate the town’s unique character and enable all to thrive, regardless of their background.

     

    Mike has been channeling his creativity into this larger vision for Kennett for decades. He chose Kennett as the global headquarters for Chatham Financial, a company he founded on a business-for-good model with a multiple-bottom-line strategy, and also co-founded nonprofits such as The Garage and Together For Education. He, his wife Dot, and four daughters are deeply rooted in the community.

    Mike Bontrager pictured at The Creamery.

    The Creamery is the most visible of Mike’s community-driven projects. He credits co-creator Sandra Mulry with the wow factor of this reimagined space. Kennett, he says, “deserves that wow.” While ventures like The Creamery need to be sustainable, Sandra notes that it’s about cultivating social capital, not economic return. “Mike had the courage and vision to bring this audacious social experiment to life,” she says.

     

    The Kennett Greenway is another example of how Square Roots Collective is encouraging Kennett’s unique potential. They’re partnering with The Land Conservancy, Anson B. Nixon Park, the Borough, and Township to construct a 12-mile connected trail loop.

     

    Connecting the pieces for projects like these requires building relationships and creating the infrastructure necessary to build impactful and sustainable ventures. “We take the long view,” Mike says. “Our projects will hopefully spark other innovations and investments in the community.”