“Does the Leadership Program contribute to increased civic engagement?” was just one of the questions in a study of the Ford Institute Leadership Program conducted by Oregon State University. In Independence, it did just that. Photo: Doug Kerr
Volume XII | Issue 1 | Spring 2012
Cover Story

Leadership Program: Making a difference?

The Ford Institute for Community Building has been conducting leadership classes in rural communities throughout Oregon and northern California for the last nine years. The anecdotal evidence that we’ve heard strongly suggests it works — that the program develops community leaders, increases civic engagement and helps build strong organizations. But thinking we know what works is different than knowing, and that’s why we continually evaluate the program. This issue of Community Vitality is devoted to the results of the comprehensive evaluation recently completed by the Oregon State University Extension Family and Community Health program. 

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Community Vitality is a storytelling publication published since 2000. Send article ideas, questions or requests for past issues to communityvitality@tfff.org.

© 2000-2021 The Ford Family Foundation. Anne Kubisch, President; Mandy Elder, Editor; Megan Monson, Assistant Editor

Brick storefronts in old town

Leadership Program: Making a difference?

The Ford Institute for Community Building has been conducting leadership classes in rural communities throughout Oregon and northern California for the last nine years. The anecdotal evidence that we...  Read More

Old-fashioned neon sign advertising the Tupelo business district

A model for the Leadership Program

Moving a rural community toward vitality is not easy. It takes commitment, dedicated leaders, training and, most importantly, time. We have learned a lot from the Oregon State University evaluation...  Read More

Experience reveals what works best

When Ford Institute Leadership Program organizers began studying different ways of delivering leadership classes, they tried a number of formats: one weeknight every week; a seven-hour class module;...  Read More

A river winds through a valley

Growth in skills changes lives

As an elected official, Faye Stewart must listen to voters, understand their perspective and find a way to navigate contentious issues. Stewart, of Cottage Grove, says those skills are integral to...  Read More

Woman in business attire shakes hands with man

A ready army of trained people

Nearly two decades ago, Patty Scott was working on her dissertation at Oregon State University, focusing on leadership and community college employees’ role in the community. Scott, now president of...  Read More

A row of booths line up on a city street

Two cities, one community

Independence and Monmouth are sister cities in the heart of the Willamette Valley. Despite their proximity, they are very different towns. Independence grew up as an agricultural and commercial hub,...  Read More

A man and woman hold paintbrushes on a scaffolding

Wheeler County makes it a trifecta perfecta

Fossil, Spray and Mitchell are the three largest towns in the wide-open spaces of Central Oregon’s Wheeler County. The small county is home to about 1,400 souls. Because of its size, the area...  Read More

 A golf course stretches to the sea

Economy and ecology

Not too long ago, Bandon Dunes Resort developer Mike Keiser saw an opportunity to enhance both the economy and ecology of his beloved southern Oregon Coast. To that end, Keiser asked Chicago-based...  Read More

A row of motorcycles

Stronger, effective groups

When Jeff Bush started the Rip City Riders in Klamath Falls, he had a dual purpose: to change the sometimes negative image people had of motorcycle riders and to raise money to benefit the children...  Read More

A row of women sing on stage

What was unique: ‘true relationship bonding’

When Elin Miller moved to Douglas County in 2009, she didn’t know many people in the area. Recently retired from a high-powered career — her last job was as a presidential appointee overseeing a four...  Read More

An older boy hugs his mother

Passage to Adulthood

We’ve all heard the “failure to launch” stories—the 20-something down the street who’s still living with mom and dad, the college graduate who can’t seem to decide what to do, the kids who just won’t...  Read More

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