Role Models & Resources

For the second edition of Community: The Structure of Belonging (2018), Peter moved his list of Role Models & Resources from the back of the book to the Abundant Community website to allow for wider access and regular updating.

From his introduction:

We all need examples of where the narrative of our community is being recreated. In what is traditionally a place for books and references, I wanted to add citizens who are bringing the structures of belonging into their communities. Besides listing institutions and published work, Role Models & Resources contains a small sample of what actually are tens of thousands of people who build community, not just because it is their job, but because of who they are. These are the major players of associational life.

Here I have listed a very few that I am familiar with, just to hold a place on this page for this special kind of citizen. Unfortunately, I have left out many more than mentioned, so I ask their forgiveness for this. For more examples, go to the Community Pioneers section of the website and continue to build your own network of local people changing the world.

Abundant Community, The

An offshoot of the book by the same name that John McKnight and I wrote, our website has resources and tools, our blog posts and posts from community pioneers, videos and audio conversations and interviews, and stories of what’s working in community building in the U.S. and abroad plus recommended reading and links.

The Abundant Community (

Alexander, Christopher

In their words: “Our goal is to help everyone make our neighborhoods places of belonging, places of health and well-being, and places where people will want to live and work. This has become possible through the use of Generative Codes, Christopher Alexander’s latest work in the effort to make possible conception and construction of living, beautiful communities that have real guts—not the sugary sweetness of pseudo-traditional architecture.

“The tools offered are intended for the use of ordinary people, families, communities, developers, planners, architects, designers, and builders; public officials, local representatives, and neighbors; business owners and people who have commercial interests. The processes here are expressed in the belief that the common-sense, plain truth about laying out a neighborhood, or repairing one, is equally valid for all comers, amateurs and professionals. They help people build or rebuild neighborhoods in ways that contribute something to their lives. Many of the tools have their origin in 30 years of work published in Alexander’s The Nature of Order.”

The Timeless Way of Building. New York: Oxford University Press, 1979.

The Nature of Order, Book 1: The Phenomenon of Life. Berkeley: Center for Environmental Structure, 2004. (Passages quoted in Chapter 1 are from pages 20 and 122.)

The Nature of Order, Book 2: The Process of Creating Life. Berkeley: Center for Environmental Structure, 2006.

The Nature of Order, Book 3: A Vision of a Living World. Berkeley: Center for Environmental Structure, 2004.

The Nature of Order, Book 4: The Luminous Ground. Berkeley: Center for Environmental Structure, 2003.

Pattern Language (

Art of Hosting, The

In their words:  “The Art of Hosting is a highly effective way of harnessing the collective wisdom and self-organizing capacity of groups of any size.  Based on the assumption that people give their energy and lend their resources to what matters most to them – in work as in life – the Art of Hosting blends a suite of powerful conversational processes to invite people to step in and take charge of the challenges facing them.”

The Art of Hosting (

A Small Group

There are countless groups in Cincinnati that want to better it one way or another—as in any good-sized city. ASG exists to widen the net of engaged citizens. Its method is to change the conversation in a way that makes this city a better place to live in. Here is its statement of purpose:

“We are committed to the creation of a restorative and reconciled community. Our strategy is to discover ways to engage the disengaged through working with existing associations and through direct invitation. Our work focuses on direct efforts to bring into conversation those groups of people who are not in relationship with each other. By this we mean to offer powerful tools and strategies of civic possibility, civic accountability, and civic commitment; thus increasing the power of associations to engage citizens in their efforts.”

Elaine and Eric Hansen have kept this alive for years and are leading a discussion to help it grow.

A Small Group (

Bornstein, David

Bornstein brings a journalist’s eye and writing style to the public benefit arena. He also speaks in a quiet and compelling way about what makes a difference in civic space.

How to Change the World: Social Entrepreneurs and the Power of New Ideas. Updated ed. New York: Oxford University Press, 2007.

The Price of a Dream: The Story of the Grameen Bank. Paper reissue. New York: Oxford University Press, 2005.

How to Change the World (

Broad Street Ministry, Philadelphia

In their words: “Our Mission: We transform our city, our institutions, and ourselves when we embrace the individual needs of our most vulnerable sisters & brothers. Our Vision: Every person will be seen, recognized and restored. We will all be well fed in every aspect of life, and we will be made whole – even for just a few pure and powerful moments. The simplest acts of kindness can soothe the afflicted and transform the fortunate. We Practice Radical Hospitality: There is always a seat at our table; there is enough for everyone. To those who have more than they need, we invite partnership and contribution.For those who are turned away elsewhere, our doors are wide and welcoming. In fact, our doors are open to all of our neighbors. On those who live in the shadows of solitude, we shower the sunlight of community. And to you, we extend an invitation to join us at our tables and help turn on the light.”

Broad Street Ministry (

Brook, Peter

This book is about the theater, but it is written so brilliantly, and with such wisdom and depth, that all that he says about the theater is true about a wide range of human endeavors. As I read this book, every time he said “theater,” I was thinking training events, conferences, and any event designed to touch and change people’s experience.

The Empty Space: A Book About the Theatre: Deadly, Holy, Rough, Immediate. Reprint ed. New York: Touchstone, 1995. Originally published 1968.

Brown, Juanita, and David Isaacs

Juanita and David have invented a large group method that is virally changing the world. It is precise, elegant, and profound.

In their words: “The World Café is an innovative yet simple methodology for hosting conversations about questions that matter. These conversations link and build on each other as people move between groups, cross-pollinate ideas, and discover new insights into the questions or issues that are most important in their life, work, or community. As a process, the World Café can evoke and make visible the collective intelligence of any group, thus increasing people’s capacity for effective action in pursuit of common aims.”

The World Café: Shaping Our Futures Through Conversations That Matter, with the World Café Community. San Francisco: Berrett-Koehler Publishers, 2005.

The World Café (

Butler, Mike

Mike has been inventing community policing for a couple of decades. He runs the police department in Longmont, Colorado, which is based on the insight that safety comes from building a strong community, with law and order as a backup strategy. Here is a recent note from him that gives a hint at what he is up to: “Our local restorative justice project has evolved to a whole different level. We are on the front end of turning our criminal justice system in our area into a restorative justice system.”

Longmont Police Department (

Center for Purposeful Leadership

Craig and Patricia Neal, founders, are good friends and teachers of mine.

In their words: “We serve leaders and organizations to create sustainable cultures of purpose, trust, respect and collaboration for the sake of a world that works for all.

 “We are partners, guides and coaches to leaders and organizations that seek sustainable purpose-based solutions to navigating change in paradoxical world.

When the status quo is no longer an option we are your trusted allies in creating the possible from the impossible….”

The Art of Convening: Authentic Engagement in Meetings, Gatherings, and Conversations, with Cynthia Ward. San Francisco: Berrett-Koehler Publishers, 2011.

Center for Purposeful Leadership (

Clingman, James

Jim is a strong voice for the importance of a black economy. He helped start an entrepreneurial school in Cincinnati, writes articles, speaks on radio and TV. He has got it right.

Blackonomic$: The Way to Psychological and Economic Freedom for African Americans. Los Angeles: Milligan Books, 2001.

Black Dollars Matter: Teach Your Dollars How to Make Sense. Los Angeles: Professional Publishing House, 2015.

Blackonomic$ (

Cohen, Allan

Allan is the best business strategist I know. He brings an intimate knowledge of the field of emergent design and integrates it with the social technology of possibility, group process, and creating new conversations. His work in difficult, loosely coupled organizations such as universities has produced results that you just do not come across very often. He also contributes greatly to the Mastery Foundation.

See Ann Overton, below.

Allan Cohen (

Community Building Institute

In their words:  “The Community Building Institute helps communities organize their own redevelopment by tapping into the passion of their residents and identifying the physical assets of their neighborhoods. The goal is to develop a coordinated plan of improvement that incorporates all the major elements a community needs to really thrive –– housing, schools, health care, transportation, jobs and business. The Community Building Institute presents itself as a partner for communities that are ready to grow into desirable and healthy places to live and work.

Community Building Institute (

Covington, Kentucky, Center for Great Neighborhoods

In their words: “Covington has a history of strong partnerships amongst citizens, business, government, and community institutions that help make our city a highly desirable place to live and work. Together, we have have established a strong vision for the future of the city through community-­wide plans and through a demonstrated commitment to action on these plans. The Center for Great Neighborhoods is dedicated helping residents shape the future of Covington.”

The Center for Great Neighborhoods of Covington (

Cunningham, Ken

Ken is married to John Spencer and they are true urban pioneers in Cincinnati. Their design process is mentioned in the text, and that is a small sample of the intelligence and insight they bring to the city. While they list themselves as landscape architects, they have contributed more broadly in building the social fabric of their community.

Contact Ken and John at

Dannemiller, Kathie

Kathie has passed on, but her ideas and inclusive generosity live in all she touched. She always had her mind and heart on the well-being of the whole, and has been a major influence on people concerned with bringing people together. An important teacher in my thinking and practice.

In their words:  “Our Whole-Scale™ Change methodology has been used to create rapid and sustainable change in organizations and communities around the world.  We believe the wisdom needed to create successful change is in the people, and our role is to help them uncover, combine, and apply that wisdom to accomplish the results they are seeking.”

Whole-Scale Change: Unleashing the Magic in Organizations. San Francisco: Berrett-Koehler Publishers, 2000.

Dannemiller Tyson Associates (

Designed Learning

If you would like to further explore the ideas in this book, contact Designed Learning, Peter’s training company. In their words: “Designed Learning is a full-service training and consulting organization existing to help organizations succeed at complex change. Through a variety of innovative ideas and technologies, we help our clients bring to life the ideas in Peter’s books.”

“Designed Learning has a number of learning experiences and consulting interventions that assist organizations and communities in exploring the concept of creating ‘chosen accountability’ and futures that are different from our past.

“Our work with The Six Conversations that Matter™ includes half-day, full-day, and two-day workshops designed to explore the linguistic changes that need to occur to create sustainable communities and organizations.

“In addition, The Flawless Consulting™ Workshops are a key element in our mission to help organizations build capacity and develop people for more successful, more meaningful work. Three hands-on, skill-building workshops are designed for internal and external consultants to learn how to establish and maintain collaborative working relations with clients, which result in positive outcomes for the business, and to learn how to have influence when you do not have control.”

To learn more about these workshops and consulting services, contact Designed Learning

Phone: 513-524-2227 or 866-770-2227


Designed Learning (

Dutton, Tim

Tim Dutton is a nonprofit executive who has dedicated his career to issues of justice and equity in the US, Haiti and Kyrgyzstan. He believes that using data and stories will raise awareness and that the common narrative of blame needs to change to an acknowledgement of structural barriers that perpetuate the current power dynamics.

He is the director of an initiative that focuses on income and racial equity in Pinellas County, Florida. In this role he is pointing the organization toward increasing the community consciousness around the radically different lived experiences for those impacted by a history of systemic bias. The goal is for the community to adopt new language, images and icons related to race and poverty, change the public policies contribute to the inequities and influence changes in the practices in both the public and private sectors.

Recent work has also focused on the concepts of place-based work including a multi-year effort to engage anchor institutions in ways that leverage the economic might of these large employers so as to increase the financial wellbeing of the families that reside in their shared neighborhoods.

Elementz: Hip Hop Youth Arts Center

In their words:  “Where street art meets street smart, Elementz is an urban oasis of hope and a catalyst of change for Cincinnati’s inner-city youth. What began as a way to get kids off the streets in 2001 has transformed into a thriving Urban Arts Center that fosters talent, ignites potential and inspires possibilities. Elementz helps build dreams, and brighter futures.

“Our Vision for Cincinnati’s inner-city youth is ‘to be a catalyst of transformation for children in the urban core, enabling them to find their artistic voice, engage in community, learn to give back, and carve a path for a successful future.’

“Elementz was founded and is supported by community stakeholders – from various ethnicities, backgrounds and careers – who believe in Cincinnati’s youth, and the power of music, poetry and art to positively impact our youth. Included are artists, teachers and mentors who encourage self-discovery, creative expression and individual passion. Because of wide community support, we give kids the respect and support they need to believe in themselves and in their community.”

Elementz (

Erhard, Werner

Werner has developed programs that have touched millions of lives. His work is delivered through Landmark Education and other consulting associates. I have learned from Werner what it looks like to be totally focused on reducing suffering and making a difference in people’s lives. His personal generosity and willingness to engage people in strong and compassionate ways is another form that his teaching takes. His thinking has impacted every aspect of my practice and way of being.

From the Landmark Education Web site: “Whenever we’re limited in life, there is something—a context or framework—that we are blind to and that is holding that limitation in place. Landmark’s technology allows you to create breakthroughs in a two-step process in which you:

• Uncover and examine the blind spots or context holding you back in your life.

• Find out where your current context originated and address it for what it really is.

“Having completed these two steps, a new realm of possibility is available to you. The constraints from the past disappear. Your view of life, your thoughts, your feelings, and your actions, change—and the change is immediate, dramatic, and without effort. It is a breakthrough.”

Erhard, Werner, Michael C. Jensen, and Steve Zaffron. “Integrity: Where Leadership Begins—A New Model of Integrity (PDF File of PowerPoint Slides)” (June 18, 2007). Barbados Group Working Paper No. 07-03. Available at SSRN:

Erhard, Werner, Michael C. Jensen, and Steve Zaffron. “A New Model of Integrity: An Actionable Pathway to Trust, Productivity and Value (PDF File of Keynote Slides)” (September 20, 2008). Barbados Group Working Paper No. 07-01. Available at SSRN:

Landmark Education (

Friends of Werner Erhard (

Everett, Ed

Former city manager, Redwood City, California

Ed was a progressive city manager who decided a few years ago that stronger civic engagement was part of the legacy he wanted to leave behind. What follows is an excerpt from an award he received that expresses his gifts better than I could:

“The International City/County Management Association (ICMA) has awarded its most-prestigious annual award, the Award for Career Excellence, to Ed Everett, City Manager of Redwood City. . . . Mr. Everett has dedicated his career to going beyond the standard of working toward ‘just’ a well-managed city government; instead, he has set the standard for new heights of community involvement and engagement, and inspired a genuine dedication in staff and in elected officials. During his tenure as City Manager, a number of ground-breaking Community Building programs were developed, and have matured into respected, valued, and sought-after elements contributing to our community’s quality of life; other cities have used this model to provide similar programs—Partnership Academy for Community Teamwork, Community Builders speakers series, Neighborhood Liaison and Community Task Forces, and more.”

Ed’s passion for building community did not stop after his retirement.  Ed was one of the early employees at and worked to get local governments to begin using Nextdoor as a means to communicate directly to neighborhoods about items of interest to that neighborhood.  He is also a Senior Fellow at the Davenport Institute at Pepperdine University where he devotes his time to training local government staff how to honestly and effectively engage with their communities.

Contact Ed at

Finlayson, Roosevelt,

Roosevelt created a new framework and practice for organizations called Festival in the Workplace. Inspired by Junkanoo, the name for Carnival in the Bahamas, citizens spend nine months of the year designing and building costumes, creating and practicing music and dance, for parades (they call them “rushes”) that take place on Boxing Day and New Year’s at midnight.

The festival is wildly creative and all volunteer. It is done with a low budget and tools made out of found objects. It is not just a festival, it is a communal way of being; it helps the community raise its children, it mobilizes and values the gifts of those who otherwise are on the margin. Roosevelt embodies the values and communal care that Junkanoo stands for. His effort to bring Festival in the Workplace into organizational life is important, not only for what it can do for a workplace, but also for reminding Bahamians about the culture and tradition that is who they are.

Contact Roosevelt at

Freedman, Michael

In their words: “As the Founding Partner of Freedman Tung  + Sasaki, Mr. Freedman has become widely known for providing communities with creative and effective solutions to revitalize their downtown districts and regional retail centers, to retrofit failing or stagnated commercial corridors and workplace districts, and to create special streets, boulevards, and public places that stimulate new investment and vitality. He specializes in the coordination of strategies, plans and designs to achieve successful beneficial change to existing cities. His professional experience spans strategy, economic development, policy and built design, ranging to include the development of land use policy, state-of-the-art “form-based” development standards; master plans for districts, redevelopment and infill sites; and transit-oriented planning and design..”

Freeman Tung + Sasaki Urban Design + City Planning  (

Gallwey, Tim

Tim is a friend and teacher of mine who has revolutionized our thinking about learning. He has a genius for designing learning experiences that create trust in ourselves and cause results in the world. He has eliminated the dividing line between awareness and action. Tim has consistently created powerful programs that seduce us into becoming accountable and effective human beings.

The Inner Game of Work: Focus, Learning, Pleasure, and Mobility in the Workplace. Reprint ed. New York: Random House, 2001.

The Inner Game (

Jacobs, Jane

The Death and Life of Great American Cities. 50th anniv. ed. New York: Vintage, 2011. Originally published 1961.

Dark Age Ahead. Reprint ed. New York: Random House,2005.

Center for the Living City (

Joyner, Dan

Dan has spent his life in the company of youth and has invested himself in making the six conversations described here his own. He always says yes to an invitation to serve, and shows up with grace and sensitivity. Dan has been working in schools to bring students, teachers, and staff into deeper connection and cocreated ways of learning.

Contact Dan at

Kahane, Adam

Adam and his REOS Partners do important work in the world. They work in places and on issues that have defied cooperation for decades. They have a great process for bringing the “others” together and finding common ground that transcend their traditional stories about each other.

Solving Tough Problems: An Open Way of Talking, Listening, and Creating New Realities. San Francisco: Berrett-Koehler Publishers, 2004.

Collaborating with the Enemy: How to Work with People You Don’t Agree with or Like or Trust. San Francisco: Berrett-Koehler Publishers, 2017.

Kaufman, Harriet

Every community needs a Harriet. She is the model of a fierce kind of convening leadership. She has been a leader in the collaborative effort between citizens and police, and done this in a peacemaking way. No one keeps their word as diligently as Harriet. She has taught me about the power of convening, for early on she understood that the way we were designing meetings held something special. Harriet is also a very fine sculptor, creating in the graceful form, texture, and space of granite the same qualities that she produces in her commitment to her community.

Judaism and Social Justice, by Harriet Kaufman. Kaufman House Publishers, 1986. (Passage quoted in Chapter 12 is from Shabbat 77b, Babylonian Talmud.)

Keene, Jim

Jim is the best kind of public servant. From working on the front line of city management for almost 40 years in diverse communities across the U.S., including Berkeley, Tucson, and Palo Alto, he is also a poet, artist, and intellectual. It is uncommon for someone with these capacities to choose such an activist path in public service. He brings to mind Paolo Freire in Brazil and Nikos Kazantzakis in Greece. Both were artists and educators who spent a part of their career in visible public positions, just the spots most of us avoid. Jim also has maintained his humility, which is why he will most likely deny what I am saying about him here. I have quoted him several times in this book, for he is eager to find new ways of thinking about what makes a difference in the civic arena.

Contact Jim at

Kemp, Clint

There is a large movement of leaders within the Christian church redefining what it means to be Christian in today’s society. The leaders of this effort are a group of pastors re-creating what they call the Emergent Church. One of these is Clint Kemp. He is a Bahamian citizen who was the founding pastor of New Providence Community Center in Nassau. They have created a church that is committed to the environment, to the arts, to social justice, and that has become a center for family life. They have a recreation center and a large greenhouse, and the grounds have become an art gallery. Their programs include all citizens of the Nassau community, regardless of belief systems or denomination.

Clint is also an entrepreneur. He created a business called Secret Soul to take people on fly-fishing tours and went on to be managing partner for The Blackfly Lodge in South Abaco, Bahamas, where he oversees the overall enterprise and runs its backcountry and fishing operations . An unusual but compelling form for his ministry.

Blackfly Lodge (

Koestenbaum, Peter

There is no finer consultant and philosopher on earth. Few people of his humanity and intellect have so committed themselves to being useful in the world of business.

In their words: “Philosophy-in-Business™, founded by Peter Koestenbaum, Ph.D., applies the depth and history of philosophy to today’s bottom line business issues in the New Economy for breakthrough results. PiB’s goal is to create a ‘win-win’ in the New Economy by taking a fresh and deep approach to the clash between two imperatives of our time: business results and human values. Philosophy-in-Business goes beyond bland compromises and banal clichés.”

The Philosophic Consultant: Revolutionizing Organizations with Ideas. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass, 2003.

Freedom and Accountability at Work: Applying Philosophic Insight to the Real World. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass, 2001.

Leadership: The Inner Side of Greatness. 2nd ed. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass, 2002.

The Heart of Business: Ethics, Power, and Philosophy. Dallas: Saybrook, 1987. (

Krippenstapel, Jo

Jo is a consultant and leader in the not-for-profit, or public benefit, world. In a quiet and powerful way, she finds and builds connectedness across the traditional boundaries of community. A good part of her work is in the disabilities field and helps this vital segment of our community find its voice and carry the message of inclusiveness for the gifts of all of us. After a recent meeting where Jo agreed to summarize our discussion, she set in poetic stanza form the stream of ideas, dreams, feelings, distractions, and disconnected story lines that are the reality of any gathering. Her expression of the meeting was better than the experience itself. If you want to see these notes, e-mail me. If you want to contact her, a much better choice.

Contact Jo at

Leonard, Gavin

Gavin, along with others, founded Elementz, which is the most productive space for the affirmation of young urban adults that I have seen. As its executive director, invested himself to a fault in the hardest of tasks—the funding, organization, and forward thinking for the city’s urban young adults. He now works for One Ohio Now  and continues to be the definition of passion, intelligence, and commitment.

Contact Gavin at

Lopez, Barry

Home Ground: Language for an American Landscape, edited by Barry Lopez and Debra Gwartney, with an introduction by Barry Lopez. San Antonio, TX: Trinity University Press, 2006.

Barry Lopez (

Lukensmeyer, Carolyn

Carolyn was the founder and president of AmericaSpeaks, an award-winning nonprofit organization that promoted nonpartisan initiatives to engage citizens and leaders through the development of innovative public policy tools and strategies.

In their words:  “[The] AmericaSpeaks model is a blend of dialogue and technology-supported, large-group engagement that enables hundreds — or thousands — of people to discuss challenging issues and find shared priorities. The model explicitly and strategically links citizens’ collective views to current decision-making processes….The work of AmericaSpeaks began with a clear and compelling vision: to reinvigorate American Democracy by engaging citizens in the public decision-making that most impacts their lives. For nearly two decades, the organization brought this vision to life. Through 150 projects that engaged more than 180,000 people and touched thousands more, AmericaSpeaks repeatedly broke new ground and achieved real results across the U.S. and around the world.”

Bringing Citizen Voices to the Table. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass, 2012.

AmericaSpeaks (

Lynch, Damon III

Damon is a courageous and active spokesman for the African-American community in Cincinnati and around the country. After the disturbances and street rebellion in 2001, Damon became a force for organizing a long-term way for the community’s response to its outraged youth. He also is an important example of the role the church can play, beyond its boundaries, in creating a more just and compassionate city. He is Pastor of New Prospect Church in the Roselawn neighborhood of Cincinnati.

Mailliard, Ward and Kranti

Ward and Kranti are changing the face of education. So many of our schools hold to the industrial model of producing adults by teaching values, pouring in information, testing with high stakes, and reducing the arts. Mount Madonna, the school Ward and Kranti have spent decades creating, celebrates the gifts, values, and abilities inherent in each child. They are a living demonstration that, more than pedagogy, instructional design, or curriculum, it is the humanity and love of the teacher that opens a new world for the possibilities of the child.

In their words:  “We are a community of learners dedicated to creative, intellectual and ethical growth. We support our students to become caring, self-aware, discerning and articulate individuals. We believe a fulfilling life includes personal accomplishments, meaningful relationships and service to society.”

Ward also wrote a chapter on transforming education that appears in Flawless Consulting.

Mount Madonna School (

Manitou Springs

In 2012 residents of Manitou Springs, Colorado engaged in an open, collaborative community-building process called, Manitou Springs Forward, to create visions about what we value, love and want more of for Manitou Springs.  We used Community the Structure of Belonging as an important component of the process. Meeting in small groups, using dialogue, citizen facilitators and consensus decision-making we produced an extraordinary community experience and document. The final document was adopted as the Master Plan for the City.

Manitou Springs (

McAfee, Barbara

If you believe that the arts are crucial to transformation and social change, Barbara’s music fits the bill. She brings her songs and singing into workshops, conferences, and performances in a unique and compelling way. She combines the skill of a therapist with the talent of an artist to engage people in their development. Sometimes we do a presentation or workshop together, and I am always better at what I do because she is doing it with me.

Barbara McAfee (

McCartney, Mike

Mike has given his career to public service at the highest levels, both in elected office and in senior positions in government, the Democratic Party, and the not-for-profit sector. He holds a deep commitment to social justice and keeping public service grounded in the well-being of those on the margins of our communities. At this writing he is Chief of Staff for the Governor of Hawaii.

Office of the Governor of Hawaii (

McKnight, John

John is co-founder and co-director of the Asset-Based Community Development Institute.

In their words:

“The Asset-Based Community Development Institute (ABCD) is at the center of a large and growing movement that considers local assets as the primary building blocks of sustainable community development. Building on the skills of local residents, the power of local associations, and the supportive functions of local institutions, asset-based community development draws upon existing community strengths to build stronger, more sustainable communities for the future.

“ABCD and its affiliated faculty have created a library of community building workbooks, published scholarly articles, books, and chapters oriented to an array of audiences, and developed training curricula and other materials associated with the asset-based community development approach. Additionally, ABCD has gathered community stories from many of its partners and feature them on this website as a resource from which other communities can learn. Finally, ABCD provides examples of asset-mapping tools so that community groups and organizations can borrow from the experiences of others doing asset-based community development work.” ​​

Building Communities from the Inside Out, with John Kretzmann. Center for Urban Affairs, Evanston, IL. Chicago: ACTA Publications, 1994.

Discovering Community Power: A Guide to Mobilizing Local Assets and Your Organization’s Capacity,with John Kretzmann. Chicago: ACTA Publications, 2005.

The Careless Society: Community and Its Counterfeits. New York: Basic Books, 1995.

Mapping Community Capacity, with John Kretzmann. Evanston, IL: Center for Urban Affairs and Policy Research, Northwestern University, 1990.

For a complete list of publications, see the Asset-Based Community Development Institute website (

Murray, Julie

There are certain members of a neighborhood who by nature build relationships. Julie is a master at this. She persistently looks for openings to bring together people who have a long history and story about each other. And if it does not work this time, she just keeps on. Julie has great faith and compassion for people, and also a deep caring for the well-being of all. Amazing human being.

Neighborhood Connections, Cleveland

In their words: “Neighborhood Connections is a nationally recognized community-building program established in 2003. Our mission is to ‘ignite the power of everyday people to create, together, an extraordinary world right where they live.’ We do this through trainings and small grant funding. Our vision is of a united Cleveland — supported by thousands of engaged residents — where we recognize our community’s assets, where bridges are built across lines of difference, and where authentic relationships lead to a new culture of trust and a more just, equitable and inclusive community.”

Neighborhood Connections (

Neumeier, Bonnie

For more than 25 years, Bonnie has lived, fought, loved, and cared for the residents of Over-the-Rhine, a central Cincinnati neighborhood. In the late 1980s, she was instrumental in organizing citizens to purchase a local school building and creating Peaslee Neighborhood Center. This is a place where children, artists, activists, and caring adults can build stronger connectedness to each other and sustain the spirit and soulfulness of this part of the city. Bonnie is also a poet, speaker, and author who has been widely recognized for her commitment and humanity. She recently published the notes and writings of Buddy Gray, an activist and humanitarian who died way too soon.

See Peaslee Center, below.

Overton, Ann

As executive director of the Mastery Foundation, Ann has brought the ideas of Werner Erhard to those working in the ministry through the Making a Difference workshop. Mastery has also developed a Community Empowerment program, which is having an impact all over the globe. She is one of the most competent and ingenious executives I know. She has assembled a group of volunteers that are as talented, committed, and fun to be with as any I have worked with. If you contact her, ask her about her work on reconciliation in Northern Ireland and Israel. Not the easiest places to create community.

In their words: “The Mastery Foundation is a non-profit, volunteer, interfaith organization established in 1983. The work of the Mastery Foundation is to empower individuals and communities in their ministries, in the reconciliation and healing of divisions, in creating new conversations and possibilities for the future. We are not a foundation in the usual sense of being supported by an endowment. Our financial support comes from individual donors, and almost all our work is done by volunteers—including board members and regular workshop leaders, who pay their own expenses to travel to and lead our programs. We offer programs and initiatives designed to give participants new power and access to what they already know and the ability to bring new possibilities to their current situation.”

The Mastery Foundation (

Owen, Harrison

In his words: “Twenty years’ experience with Open Space Technology in over 40,000 iterations in 83 countries had demonstrated to myself and thousands of colleagues, that every time space was opened, a most remarkable and unexpected result occurred. I called it Genuine Community, the sort where differences (of opinion, ethnicity, economics, politics etc.) were if anything amplified AND those involved found it possible to treat each other with respect, often coming close to real affection. It seemed to me that another word for this phenomenon is Peace. Furthermore, the deeper the original conflicts, the more intense was the sense of community.”

The Practice of Peace. 2nd ed. Circle Pines, MN: Human Systems Dynamics Institute, 2004.

Open Space Technology: A User’s Guide. 3rd ed. San Francisco: Berrett-Koehler Publishers, 2008.

The Power of Spirit: How Organizations Transform. San Francisco: Berrett-Koehler Publishers, 2000.

Open Space (

Patchett, Ray

Former city manager, Carlsbad, California

Ray is a very special city manager. He has in a unique way applied the ideas of organization development and learning organization to building community. Like no other public servant I know. Several years ago, he, his team, and the city council convened one of the best-designed community conferences I have ever been a part of. His work has been in Carlsbad, California. You can learn more about it from their Web site. Ray is now consulting to other city managers.

Contact Ray at

Peaslee Neighborhood Center

In their words: “Learning and Growing through Community, Arts and Education. Rooted in the Over-the-Rhine People’s Struggle for the right of self-determination, a Seed of HOPE, Peaslee is a place that seeks to welcome and nurture the involvement of neighborhood folk in building a stronger, healthier community where Educational & Cultural & Political Awareness GROW.”

Peaslee Neighborhood Center (

Pentz, Doug

Doug has partnered in beginning the Affinity Center, a place where people with addictive and attention challenges can learn how to create a more productive life for themselves. He has been one of the steadfast supporters of A Small Group, our Cincinnati network of people choosing to become engaged in restoring community. As busy and at times consumed as he is with the professional practice he runs, he keeps attending gatherings, occasionally volunteers for projects, but mostly shows up with his gifts of good will, self-awareness, and endearing optimism.

The Affinity Center (

Peters, Chuck

Chuck was a community leader and executive of the media company active in the Cedar Rapids recovery following the Flood of 2008.  He has used lessons learned in that process to write The Way of Generativity with Ben Smith and Nate Senge and to develop

Pula, Peter

Another rare/journalist/publisher committed to building dialogue in his community. He brings people together, raises consciousness, and enlivens giftedness. Through Axiom News, the Peterborough Dialogues, and the Resonance Centre for Social Evolution he is partnered with communities local and trans-local to weave dialogue and journalism together for a New Narrative.

Puntenney, Deborah

Deborah’s work uses the asset-based community development approach to addressing neighborhood health issues. Much of Deborah’s work focuses on how engaged citizens can become effective co-producers of their own health and well-being. Her work is helping residents to think differently about what they’re doing and what they can do to gain control of their own physical, social, and economic lives. She is currently working on a long-term project with the Greater Rochester Health Foundation.

Deborah Puntenney (

Putnam, Robert D.

In their words: “In Bowling Alone, Putnam shows how we have become increasingly disconnected from family, friends, neighbors, and our democratic structures—and how we may reconnect. He warns that our stock of social capital—the very fabric of our connections with each other—has plummeted, impoverishing our lives and communities. Better Together provides interactive ways to celebrate and learn from the ways that Americans are connecting, and provides tools and strategies to reconnect with others.”

Bowling Alone: The Collapse and Revival of American Community. New York: Simon & Schuster, 2000.

Better Together: Restoring the American Community, with Lewis M. Feldstein. New York: Simon & Schuster, 2003. (Passages quoted in Chapter 1 are from pages 2 to 3.)

Bowling Alone (

Better Together (

Restore Commons

A collection of compelling ideas to open our thinking about alternative economy, alternative journalism, architecture and space that connect us, active and missional faith communities. All essentials in reclaiming our environment.

In their words: “If we want to restore our commitment to the common good, we need stories and ideas strong enough to build social capital and engage communities. Contained here are some principles, practices, and tools for this restorative transformation, which is well underway.”

Restore Commons (

Restorative Practices / Rogers, Anne

Anne Rogers was committed to bringing the principles of restorative justice to other aspects of the community arena. Her Web site lists links to several programs.

Restorative Solutions (

Schumacher Center for a New Economics

In their words: “[Our mission is] To educate the public about an economics that supports both people and the planet. We believe that a fair and sustainable economy is possible and that citizens working for the common interest can build systems to achieve it. We recognize that the environmental and equity crises we now face have their roots in the current economic system.  We combine theoretical research on economics with practical application, deliberately focusing on transformative systems and the principles that guide them.”

Schumacher Center for a New Economics (

Seven Hills Neighborhood Houses

In their words:  “As a partner in the communities we serve, we are dedicated to improving the quality of life of our neighbors. Seven Hills values communities that encourage self-determination and self-sufficiency. As a partner and catalyst for change, we provide opportunities through our services and programs that address the evolving needs of our neighbors and that strengthen families, children, seniors, and individuals.”

Seven Hills Neighborhood Houses (

Shaffer, Dr. Dorothy P.

In their words: “Full Spectrum Health Center is an integrative health care practice providing adult primary care, acupuncture, and functional medicine. Care is individualized and focused on effective treatments, healing and prevention for optimal health.”

Full Spectrum Health Center (

Snow, Judith

As mentioned in the book, Judith was a voice for eliminating the distinction called “disabled.” She joins too many in this section who have passed on.

What’s Really Worth Doing and How to Do It: A Book for People Who Love Someone Labeled Disabled. Toronto, ON: Inclusion Press International, n.d.

Inclusion Network (

Sparough, Geralyn and Tom

Tom is a juggler and Geralyn works in education. The two of them joined Joan and Michael Hoxsey (her parents) in the Findley House story. They have figured out how to bring the intimacy of a family into service to the community. Plus, what is unique about them is that they are extremely independent persons who bring vastly different gifts into the room. The fact that they have kept their differences intact and can still show up in hard places with each other is a rare.

Stec, Jeffrey

Jeff is committed to creating innovative ways to build communities; he guided the example about Covington in the book. He operates within the context of generosity and possibility. He has integrated the ideas on the importance of a new conversation and tied this to strategic planning. He also understands the interaction between relatedness, possibility, and problem solving very well. He is a good one to talk to about how these ideas work in the real world. He called his consulting business Inspired Community Change, which is what he continues to do. As Executive Director of Citizens for Civic Renewal he works to build collaborative community governance by engaging citizens more deeply in public policy deliberation, government and institutional partnerships, and neighborhood empowerment projects.

Citizens for Civic Renewal (

Stoeber, Mark

Mark is redefining the role of elected official in Cold Spring, Kentucky. He does his work there in a quiet, effective, relationship-building way, which is a good model for all in public office. He can be found in the mayor’s office in Cold Spring, Kentucky.

The Structurist

University of Saskatchewan

In their words, “The Structurist is an international art journal, founded in 1960 at the University of Saskatchewan by Eli Bornstein. Incorporating the root word structureThe Structurist is concerned with the building processes of creation in art and nature. It focuses upon ideas relating to architecture and the arts—including painting, sculpture, design, photography, music, and literature—their histories and relationships to each other, as well as to science, technology, and nature.” (Passage quoted in Welcome is from No. 45/46, 2005/2006, page 2.)

The Structurist (

Stuart, Barry D.

Steering committee, Center for Restorative Justice, Simon Fraser University, Vancouver, BC
CSE Consulting Group

In their words: “For the past 35 years, Barry’s work has focused on resolving conflicts and improving the decision-making processes in both the public and private sector. He has worked in a wide range of many challenging settings to develop skills and processes to engage conflict in ways that generate innovative solutions and build effective relationships. He is internationally known through his training, teaching, writings and involvement as a mediator, negotiator and facilitator.”

Center for Restorative Justice (

Glenn Sigurdson, CSE Group (

Sunderland, Steve

Director, Peace Village Cancer Project/Cancer Justice Network

There are people in the academic world who care deeply about the larger community and are willing to apply their gifts and intellect to social issues. Steve, formerly a University of Cincinnati professor, is one of those people. He created the Peace Village, where he brings students into positive contact with others they would never have met otherwise. He is now working on better health care access for neighborhood people with cancer. This also is peacemaking at its best.

Cancer Justice Network (

Contact Steve at

Tamarack Institute

In their words: Our belief is that when we are effective in strengthening community capacity to engage citizens, lead collaboratively, deepen community and reduce poverty, our work contributes to the building of peace and a more equitable society. Our deepest hope is to end poverty in Canada.  As communities everywhere face increasingly complex challenges – from climate change to economic inequality to disruptive technologies – Tamarack’s expertise is more relevant than ever. They continue to grow their learning community to engage citizens in working together to deepen community, rebuild neighbourhoods, make it easier for us to care for each other, and improve our cities.

Tamarack Institute (

Thomas Nelson High School

From Wes Bradley: “Embracing Peter’s vision of gift mindset has changed the conversation within our community. Essential to this conversation was the development of a House Family structure at Thomas Nelson High School. The House structure has created a natural structure that allows for gift sharing, gratitude, and growth. The vision – Connect, Care, and Create builds upon the ideals within Community: A Structure of Belonging to engender chosen accountability and as students, parents, and teachers work to create the future together. Gift mindset is foundational to our work together.”

General Hand – Parent Partner blog ( See “Parent Gifts”

Toyama, Jimmy

As his story in Community: The Structure of Belonging illustrates, Jimmy sees the possibility of a new, community-building politics. Very much needed.

Uhlig, Paul

“Improving Patient Care in Hospitals,” Journal of Innovative Management, Goal/QPC, Fall 2001.

“System Innovation: Concord Hospital,” with others, The Journal on Quality Improvement, November 2002.

Field Guide to Collaborative Care: Implementing the Future of Health Care, with W. Ellem Raboin. Overland Park, KS: Oak Prairie Health Press, 2015.

Van Rhyn, Louise

Louise founded Partners for Possibility, a creative solution to South Africa’ education crisis. It is a co-action, co-learning partnership between school principals and business leaders, enabling social cohesion through partnerships, and empowering principals to become change leaders in their schools and communities. The Partners for Possibility Programme facilitates cross-sectoral reciprocal partnerships between business, government and the social sector.

Contact Louise at

Weisbord, Marvin

In their words: “Future search is a planning meeting that helps people transform their capability for action very quickly. The meeting is task-focused. It brings together 60 to 80 people in one room or hundreds in parallel rooms. Future search brings people from all walks of life into the same conversation—those with resources, expertise, formal authority and need. They meet for 16 hours spread across three days. People tell stories about their past, present and desired future. Through dialogue they discover their common ground. Only then do they make concrete action plans.”

Future Search Network (

In his words: “After years of answering requests one at a time, I am posting some articles, book excerpts and video clips that I have assembled over the years. This web site identifies people, values, theories, research, and methods related to organization development and social change that I’ve come to appreciate since 1969.”

Marvin Weisbord (

Lead More, Control Less: 8 Advanced Leadership Skills That Overturn Convention. Oakland, CA: Berrett-Koehler Publishers, 2015).

Don’t Just Do Something, Stand There! with Sandra Janoff. San Francisco: Berrett-Koehler Publishers, 2007.

Productive Workplaces Revisited: Dignity, Meaning, and Community in the 21st Century. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass/Wiley, 2004.

Future Search: An Action Guide to Finding Common Ground in Organizations and Communities, with Sandra Janoff, 3rd ed. San Francisco: Berrett-Koehler Publishers, 2010.

Discovering Common Ground, with 35 International Authors. San Francisco: Berrett-Koehler Publishers, 1992.

Productive Workplaces: Organizing and Managing for Dignity, Meaning, and Community. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass, 1987.

YES! Magazine

In their words: “YES! Magazine empowers people with the vision and tools to create a healthy planet and vibrant communities.” YES! is the future of journalism. It reports not only on the struggles of people, but also how they create a constructive and life-giving future for citizens, neighborhoods, and people who are committed to the well-being of the planet. This is reporting and storytelling at its very best.  If you are interested, I will buy you a subscription.

YES! Magazine (