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Make a Difference in Your Community Today!

Discover Your Roadmap for Improved Economic Vitality, Health, Education, and Quality of LIfe through Communities of Excellence 2026!

Why We Exist

To ensure that every person in America has the opportunity to live their best life in communities that are thriving.

Our Foundation Statement

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.

  • Population Impacted

    12.5 million

  • Organizations Reached

    450+

  • Communities Engaged

    26 Since 2017

We are our best selves when we work together! Like our engaged community leaders who are pursuing excellence, Communities of Excellence is on a journey to ensure that our offerings are relevant, meaningful, and impactful for communities working to make the world a better place. Please join us!

News & Blog

Assessments drive need for a systems approach to improving health by
addressing social determinants

December 27, 2021 | By COE Faculty Members Christel Gollnick and Brenda Grant | 7 minute read

This post is the first in a four-part series exploring why leaders in each of the four core areas of a community –
health, economic vitality, educational attainment, and overall quality of life – are finding the Communities of
Excellence Framework a beneficial guide in their collaborative efforts to improve outcomes in the places where they live, learn, work, and play. Communities of Excellence 2026, using the Baldrige Performance Excellence criteria as its foundation, provides learning opportunities and guidance for those interested in improving the performance of communities for their residents and other customers. The nonprofit organization is currently working with 23 communities throughout the United States and adding more annually.

The flagship program of Communities of Excellence 2026, the National Learning Collaborative, has grown over the past few years as much as the leaders spread in participating communities throughout the country. The organization will celebrate the completion of four years of supporting communities to adopt their Baldrige-based framework this Fall when the second cohort, the Class of 2021, transitions to the alumni group.

Have you ever had a problem that you couldn’t solve on your own or an opportunity that could only be pursued if you partnered with others? Communities, as collective entities, have this same experience regularly. There are often challenges and chances to achieve something better that cannot be addressed by any single organization, industry, or sector. Working together across traditional borders and competition lines to attain shared goals is required and can be difficult without guidance.

  • Judy Crabtree * Kanawha County, West Virginia

    In the past, we often focused on our challenges without necessarily considering our many strategic advantages. We've also learned that the key requirements of residents in the different geographic areas of our county are very different. To be excellent, we need to consider all of our customers and their requirements."