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You can be a part of advancing excellence in our communities today!

  • COE 2026 encourages community development efforts to include as many diverse voices and perspectives as possible in a coordinated, organized, aligned, and empowered manner.
  • COE 2026 provides community leaders with opportunities to further develop their leadership skills in the areas of systems thinking, vision-setting, decision-making, broader stakeholder engagement, and continuous improvement.
  • COE 2026 helps community leaders make a positive difference for their residents.
  • COE 2026 is expanding its assistance to leaders from all sectors who are stepping up to improve the quality of life for the people who live, learn, work, and play in their communities.



Communities of Excellence 2026 Contributors receive:


GOLD…$10,000 - $49,999

  • Invitations to special in-person events and annual conference
  • Plus, all benefits listed below

SILVER…..$5,000 - $9,999

BRONZE..$1,000 - $4,999

  • Invitations to special online events
  • Recognition tied to specific projects underwritten, as appropriate
  • Recognition in the annual printing of the Communities of Excellence Framework Booklet
  • Plus, all benefits listed below

BLUE………....$500 - $999

  • Recognition at annual conference
  • Recognition on COE 2026 Website
  • Plus, all benefits listed below

GREEN……....$100 - $499

ORANGE………....$1 - $99

  • Receive eNewsletter
  • Recognition in annual conference publication


Please contact Stephanie Norling, Executive Director at 619-719-1045 or

Communities of Excellence 2026 [COE 2026] is a private, nonprofit organization conceived in 2010 ­­­and established in 2013 as a 501(c)3 organization registered as 43-3384692 with the I.R.S. Your donation is completely tax deductible and empowers high-performing vibrant communities in the United States of America.



Communities themselves help fund some of the annual budget for Communities of Excellence 2026’s current programming and operations. However, there are expenses that must be covered through philanthropic donations. General fund contributions within our donor recognition levels underwrite our …

PROJECT                                                                                            BUDGET GOAL

Community Assessment and Recognition Program

  • Level 3      ($5,000 per community)                                                  $50,000
  • Level 2      ($2,500 per community)                                                  $12,500
  • Level 1      ($1,500 per community)                                                    $6,000

Annual Conference                                                                                    $45,000

Communications Strategy and Content                                              $24,000

Website                                                                                                           $5,000

Communities of Excellence Framework Booklet                                $2,500


In addition to Communities of Excellence 2026’s current programming, we have identified several projects that would be a significant benefit to the organization and the leaders we serve in communities across America. With philanthropic support beyond COE 2026’s annual budget, we will be able to add the following:

PROJECT                                                                                            BUDGET GOAL

Promising Practices Guide                                                                       $50,000

Compiling participant experiences and lessons learned into a downloadable book and online resource page.

Independent Evaluation of Impact                                                         $50,000

Secure a research team to conduct an objective evaluation of the National Learning Collaborative’s effectiveness and impact on community development priority outcomes.

Community Mentorship Network                                                            $35,000

Expand the number of mentors and opportunities for leaders to connect beyond the National Learning Collaborative.

Dashboard of Community Impact Metrics                                            $25,000

Create a template by compiling and analyzing the measurements and balanced scorecards used by participating communities to determine the most effective and efficient methods for tracking and communicating outcomes.

Communities of Excellence Playbook                                                    $20,000

Create a companion tool for the Communities of Excellence Framework booklet that serves as a guidebook for how to implement the Framework in various situations and settings in communities of all sizes.



Lowell Kruse

Richard Norling




Javier Hernandez-Lichtl

Suresh Nirody

Jennifer Paolillo

Rich Umbdenstock

Quentin Wilson


Molly Baldrige

Kent Bishop

Angela Brandt

Russ Branzell

Kay Kendall

Gerald Sprong


George Benson

Glenn Bodinson

Diane Brockmeier

Kathryn Eggleston

Al Faber

Frank Fusco

David Gifford

Wes Hurd

Kentucky Center for Performance Excellence

Dave Klater

Brian Lassiter

Jeff Lucas

Scott McIntrye

Susan Nance

Bianca Nguyen

Jim Rice

Sandra Potthoff

James Schlosser

Tony Scott

Max Summers

Paul Worstell


Steve Bonk

JUPER Communications


Why Give?

Donor Benefits

Annual Sponsorship Opportunities

Critical Expansion Opportunities

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