"For America to sustain its vitality, promote opportunity, and create a more equitable society during its second 250 years of existence, we must improve the performance of communities and the people who lead and live in them."


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Recent Posts

  • A message from COE 2026 Board Chair Lowell Kruse

    In another slight departure from our weekly Kruse Scholar blog series, we asked Lowell Kruse, COE 2026 Board Chair and co-founder (along with his wife Leslie) of the Communities of Excellence Scholarship to contribute. Many of you have been ... more

  • Two Communities Take the First Steps towards Regional Vitality

    “Most people treat rural America economic development and prosperity like they are a hospice patient, you know, make them comfortable until they die.”  Not in Northwest Missouri, where current leaders of the economic trade area ... more

  • Kruse Scholar Advisor Heidi Mastrud

    A year ago, I had never even heard of Malcolm Baldrige, the Baldrige Award, or Communities of Excellence 2026. I had just begun my position working at the University of Minnesota School of Public Health ... more

  • COE Rises with Youth Leadership

    I co-facilitated a seven-day retreat for our first ever On the RISE, a residential week-long retreat for youth leaders. They hailed from five different urban neighborhoods in San Diego and participate in leadership programs from ... more

  • Ryan Sougstad, PhD: There’s No CEO of a Community…

    In a slight departure from our weekly Kruse Scholar blog series, Augustana University Associate Professor and student advisor to the Kruse Scholars Ryan Sougstad, PhD has agreed to contribute his experience to the COE blog series. There’s ... more

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