Extraordinary Results in Ordinary Communities


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This Kettering Foundation Study reports on research conducted in a number of small rural communities struggling to deal with persistent problems that threaten their very existence.  The report tells the stories of four of these places:  Bakersville, North Carolina; Haven Acres (a neighborhood in Tupelo, Mississippi); Houston, Minnesota;  and Colquitt, Georgia.  And it tells the story of how citizens in these communities worked together—one difficult step at a time—to breathe new life into their struggling communities.

Vaughn Grisham is the director of the McLean Institute for Community Development, housed at the University of Mississippi.  He has been studying what he calls extraordinary communities for close to 40 years and is the recipient of numerous achievement awards both as a researcher and as a teacher. Grisham explains, “Our purpose was to understand how citizens come together to address local problems and issues. In the first part of this report we tell the stories of these communities as told to us by those who live in them. In the second section, we report on what we learned about community leadership.”

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Civil Society