Meet our newest cohort of communities!

On October 3rd, Communities of Excellence 2026 kicked off its yearlong National Learning Collaborative with the addition of five new communities. 

You may recall that we had five communities working with us over the past five months to help us test and improve our Learning Collaborative Curriculum before our full launch.  These five communities:  Brookfield/Marceline, Missouri (now the Three Sixty-Five Community Alliance), Kanawha County, West Virginia, Maryville, Missouri, San Diego South Region, California and West Kendall, Florida all submitted their first level application for community recognition called the Commitment to Community Excellence.  Right now our teams of expert reviewers are reading their submissions and providing detailed feedback reports to help the communities accelerate their communities of excellence efforts.

Our five new communities are: 

  1. Albany/Bethany, Missouri
  2. The cities of Excelsior Springs, Gladstone and Smithville in Clay County, Missouri
  3. The Greater Lehigh Valley in Pennsylvania and New Jersey
  4. Kings County, California
  5. Toledo, Ohio

Over the next year all ten of these communities will work together on their Communities of Excellence journeys.  In two weeks representatives from all ten communities will be meeting in Tempe, Arizona during the Baldrige Fall Conference on October 26th and 27th.  If you will be attending that conference please look us up and introduce yourselves!  It’s going to be an exciting year.

One thought on “Meet our Newest Cohort of Communities

  1. Lowell Kruse

    We do welcome our new communities and extend our appreciation to those who helped us prepare for the launch of this very exciting National Learning Collaborative. You are all now part of something very important to the future of your community and our country.

    As we discussed this past Tuesday, Excellence starts out as an aspiration, a feeling of wanting to be the best at what we do and who we are. As we all learn more about how you move your community from aspiration to fulfillment of that intent to be the very best, you will be able to see the power of systems thinking applied to communities and the positive changes that happen as a result.

    I know we’ll all learn a lot along the way. I also hope everyone truly enjoys the experience and the engagement with other like minded people as we begin our journey to community performance excellence. LOWELL KRUSE, Chair


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