This past February 19, Christine Schaefer posted a story on Blogrige about "Community Focused Excellence". In her story Christine described the efforts underway by a small group a Baldrige enthusiasts working on an initiative to move Baldrige beyond its current focus on individual sectors and organizations to the community at large. That effort is referred to as Communities of Excellence 2026.
Since Christine's post, we have received a good deal of interest in and support for the concept so I thought I would take a little time to give you a bit more background on our progress and the efforts we currently have underway. In addition to Christine's post, an article submitted by Rick Norling and me, published in the 2014 Spring Issue of the National Civic Review's 25 year history of the Healthy Communities movement in our country provides additional background and history relative to our thinking and the direction we're heading. The NCR Article is available on this web site.
At its core, Communities of Excellence 2026 is about adapting and translating the Baldrige Principles of Performance Excellence, which have transformed organizations across the country, specifically for communities. It's our belief that communities that commit to adapting the principles and practices of Community Performance Excellence will achieve and sustain, for their citizens, improved health and well-being, better educational outcomes and more robust economic conditions by encouraging collaboration across sectors, identifying and pursuing community-driven goals, fact-based evaluation of progress and installing a culture of leadership and responsibility across generations.
An initial draft of the Community Performance Excellence Framework has been developed and serves as the foundation for our work going forward. In order to test and refine that initial draft of the framework our next step is to select four pilot communities of different sizes and complexity (small rural, multi county rural region, small urban and large urban) to work with us over a three year period in this very important development process. We have narrowed the selection of pilot communities to the point where we are ready to draft agreements and establish working relationships with those communities and their leadership who have expressed their interest in working with us. Once the necessary agreements are in place we will work with each community to secure the funding required to conduct the three year pilot phase of this effort. Initial funding was secured for the early development phase of this effort and has been instrumental in helping us get to this point.
It is our intention to keep you posted on our progress, provide addition background information about us and answer any questions you might have about this effort through our web site. We would welcome any thoughts and suggestions you have for us as we pursue this work. Our Managing Director, Stephanie Norling can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org and would look forward to hearing from you. My thanks.
Lowell C Kruse
Communities of Excellence 2026