InCommons: Supporting community-based leadership

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Community Development, ISSN: 1557-5330, Vol: 43, Issue: 1, Page: 12-30

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Jodi R. Sandfort; Laura Bloomberg
Informa UK Limited
Social Sciences
article description
Cohort-based community leadership programs (CLPs) are a common approach to enhancing knowledge, skills, and networks within a particular community. However, the CLP model is resource intensive and, as a result, limited in impact. This article describes an alternative approach being undertaken on a statewide scale. InCommons is focused on activating a network that lets people find each other so they can share credible knowledge, resources, and insights for solving community problems. One dimension involves finding and sharing the information people need in a leadership commons. Another offers support through well-facilitated gatherings that allow communities to make progress in spite of thorny differences. Using a participatory action research (PAR) approach, we explain the theory of action informing the whole initiative and assess initial implementation in terms defined by community leaders. As such, this article provides practical insights for those interested in increasing the scale and impact of their work with community-based leaders. © 2012 Copyright Taylor and Francis Group, LLC.