I am pleased to kick off an expanded social media effort with the first of what I hope will be many interesting and informative communications from the Communities of Excellence 2026 team. I started volunteering with COE 2026 about 2 ½ years ago, and then joined full-time almost 1 year ago. From the beginning, this idea of bringing an adapted Baldrige framework to communities just made sense to me. There’s no shortage of amazing, inspirational work being done in communities across this country. We should recognize what we’ve already accomplished. But we can’t deny that we are struggling as a nation.
I’m sure many of you know the phrase, “Every system is designed to get exactly the results it gets”. A community is a system, and we believe that to get to the results we want and need; in health status, improved educational attainment, or quality jobs and job training; requires a systematic community-wide framework for collaboration across all sectors and generations, well-defined criteria for success, community driven goals and objectives, and a system of accountability that involves independent evaluation, measures, benchmarks, feedback, and alignment.
I’ve had the pleasure of visiting many communities over the last year and learning about their efforts. Each of these communities has their own strengths, challenges, and a unique community culture and values. There’s already been great accomplishments in these communities. We’re just looking for that piece of the puzzle that can provide a more deliberate way of thinking, collaborating and allocating resources, and that will ultimately translate into better outcomes for the individuals that live, work, and play in our communities.
We call the next two years a pilot phase, because we need to test this idea before spreading it across the country. We are fortunate to have two confirmed pilot communities to learn with us and share their feedback on the Community Performance Excellence Framework and the tools that will need to accompany it.
Over the next few months we plan to share more information about our vision for the initiative, the communities that are involved and the people that help make this work possible. I hope you will continue to follow us and share this effort with your friends, family, and colleagues.