Tom Dewar

Tom Dewar is the co-director of the Aspen Institute’s Roundtable on Community Change. Prior to coming to the Roundtable, he lived in Bologna, Italy and taught at Johns Hopkins' School for Advanced International Studies, helping direct its Center for Democratic Development, working with a range of community and international development projects and focusing on the challenges of community organizing, organizational effectiveness and evaluation. Prior to that he was Director of Evaluation for the MacArthur Foundation in Chicago; Senior Associate with Rainbow Research in Minneapolis, Minnesota, where he worked with a variety of community-driven initiatives, non-profit organizations and community foundations across the United States to improve their effectiveness and impact; and Professor at the University of Minnesota's Humphrey Institute of Public Affairs, where he taught and conducted action research for more than 15 years. As a long-time member of the Asset-Based Community Development Institute, he has helped train community leaders and organizers from across the United States and Canada, as well as in Australia and Southeastern Europe. Most recently he has helped direct an annual Youth Organizing Institute for teams of young people from across the Balkans, worked with a range of immigrant organizing projects in Europe, and helped some new community foundations in Eastern and Central Europe get started. Tom’s teaching, research, writing and public speaking have addressed a variety of topics, including especially the key challenges in community development, the role of mutual aid and informal networks in community building, the social and economic organization of neighborhoods, and the dangers of an over-reliance on professional service delivery systems. He has led numerous evaluations that have focused on these topics, as well as on efforts to re-integrate formerly institutionalized (and other labeled) people into local communities, provide employment and income for lower skilled and less experienced workers, improve the integration of school and work, carry out peacemaking and conflict mediation, strengthen sustainable agriculture, and promote strong community organizing. He is the co-author of Voices from the Field III: Lessons and Challenges from Decades of Community Change Efforts (Washington, DC: Aspen Institute, 2010).

Measuring and Evaluating Community Initiatives

Download or listen to John and Peter's April 16 conversation with Tom Dewar on different ways of thinking about what local initiatives mean and how to support them. Tom is the co-director of the Aspen Institute’s Roundtable on Community Change.As a...