Ford Community Fellows

Exploring, learning and practicing community building

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The Ford Community Fellow award is given to rural residents in Oregon and Siskiyou County, Calif., who have demonstrated a commitment to community service and a dedication to the pursuit of rural community vitality. Ford Community Fellows are nominated by Ford Family Foundation staff and partner contractors who deliver the Ford Institute Leadership Program. Each Fellow receives a $12,000 annual unrestricted monetary award and is eligible for up to two renewal awards. Fellows are expected to develop their own plan to explore, learn, and practice the art of community building.

Meet the Ford Community Fellows »


The Ford Community Fellow promotes community building and vitality by some or all of the following activities:

  • Coaching communities toward their own vision, priorities and measures of success (indicators)
  • Promoting systems thinking and collaboration
  • Modeling a commitment to “life- long learning”
  • Leveraging local resources to draw on external sources, including individuals, philanthropy, non-profits, business, and government
  • Encouraging development of projects and programs that draw on best theory and practice
  • Directing communities to full use of their own resources of time, energy, and dollars to move projects and programs forward (make things happen)
  • Assisting communities in measuring their own success
  • Convening individuals, groups and communities to strengthen social capital and networks while learning from each other
  • Sustaining strong relationships with key stakeholders, adjoining community leaders, and The Ford Institute for Community Building 
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