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Community Profile


P Community Profile

The Community Profile is where you start. It helps you identify gaps in key information and focus on key community requirements and results. It sets the context and allows you to address unique aspects of your community in your responses to questions in categories 1–7.

P.1 Community Description: What are your community’s key characteristics?


a. Community Environment

(1)     Community Definition and Identity What geographic area is included in your community? What are your community’s population and growth compared with that of other communities locally, regionally, or nationally? What is your COMMUNITY IDENTITY?

(2)     Community Offerings What are your community’s KEY OFFERINGS to its resident and other CUSTOMER groups (see P.1a[3]) in the areas of health, education, the economy, and quality of life? What is the relative importance of these offerings to your community’s well-being? What major facilities, infrastructure, and resources (e.g., technology, housing, transportation, and natural resources) support your community’s KEY offerings?

(3)     Residents, Other Customers, and Stakeholders What are your community’s KEY resident groups, other CUSTOMER groups, and STAKEHOLDER groups? What are their KEY requirements and expectations of your community? What are the differences in requirements and expectations among resident groups, other CUSTOMER groups, and STAKEHOLDER groups?

(4)     People Resources What KEY community organizations, groups, and SEGMENTS are involved in delivering your community’s KEY OFFERINGS? What recent changes has the community experienced in its needs for these community organizations, groups, and SEGMENTS? Who are the formal and informal COMMUNITY LEADERS that represent KEY organizations, groups, and SEGMENTS?

(5)     Regulatory Environment What are the KEY aspects of the regulatory environment under which your community operates?


Notes

P.1a. Throughout the Communities of Excellence Framework, “your community” refers to the geographic region covered by this profile. “Your community excellence group” refers to the people and entities that have come together for your community excellence efforts.

P.1a(1). Include a map that shows the community described in this profile.

P.1a(1). Your community identity consists of the characteristics, conditions, and beliefs that help distinguish your community from others. Identity might arise from, for example, a shared history, shared stories or events, challenges faced by the community, or other characteristics that make your community unique.

P.1a(2). Offerings are the features of your community that it is known for, that attract residents and other customers, or both. Examples are good health care, world-class higher education, tourist attractions, a positive business environment, vibrant/livable neighborhoods, strong ethnic heritage(s), theater and arts, and natural resources.

P.1a(3). Residents and other customers are the people who use or receive the offerings you describe in P.1a(2). Resident groups might be defined by their gender, age, race, ethnicity, language, geographic origin, religion, political persuasion, affiliation with a movement, socioeconomic status, or other characteristics. Other customer groups might be, for example, tourists, businesses, and people who work but do not live in the community. Stakeholder groups might be neighboring communities and other entities that are affected by your community’s actions and success.

P.1a(3). The requirements of your resident and other customer groups might be related to the economy, health, education, the economy, or quality of life. Requirements might include a safe community environment, accessible health care, high-quality education, job opportunities, clean air, good transportation, and clean public areas, among many others. Stakeholder requirements might be similar.

P.1a(4). People resources are the people, organizations, and groups that accomplish your community’s work. They include the residents who serve as volunteers and in other roles, organizations and groups that offer programs and services to the community, , and workforce groups that are important to the community. Groups include both formal and informal bodies and organizations.

P.1a(4). Community leaders are the formal or informal, paid or unpaid, officially or unofficially designated individuals who guide or direct your community or segments within your community.

P.1a(5). Most communities operate in a complex regulatory environment. Key regulations to include here include those that aid or constrain your community in delivering its key offerings and those that are relevant to your community excellence efforts.


b. Community Excellence Group

(1)     MISSION, VISION, and VALUES Why have you formed a community excellence group? What are the group’s stated MISSION, VISION, and VALUES?

(2)     Composition  What KEY people, organizations, and groups, (see P.1a[4]) are involved in your community excellence group?  What are the KEY drivers that engage them in achieving your group’s MISSION and VISION?  What is the BACKBONE ORGANIZATION, if your group includes one?

(3)    LEADERSHIP SYSTEM   What LEADERSHIP SYSTEM does your community excellence group use to lead its community excellence efforts?

(4)     Programs and Services What programs and services are offered through the efforts of your community excellence group?

(5)     Suppliers, PARTNERS, and COLLABORATORS What KEY suppliers, PARTNERS, and COLLABORATORS support your community excellence group? What role do they play in its WORK SYSTEMS, especially in producing and delivering its programs and services?


Notes

P.1b(1). In some communities, the community excellence group might propose or adopt a mission, a vision, and values as a first step. Your community might eventually choose to adopt them.

P.1b(2). The group could take many forms. Whatever the form, it should include community leaders and key community organizations and groups (see P.1a[4]) that represent the various sectors within your community. See item 5.1 for considerations on ensuring that your group is as inclusive as possible and reflects the diversity within your community. Also see the definition of “diversity” in the glossary.

P.1b(2, 3). Each community should approach these questions based on its own key characteristics and needs. While the names of these functions vary by community, Communities of Excellence 2026 has identified the following key functions generally found in the structures and leadership systems adopted by community excellence groups:

  • A backbone organization: Its primary role is to manage logistics, such as setting up meetings and locations and providing administrative support. It might also assist the governance and leadership groups in building a strong community presence for the community excellence group.  In some cases, a community excellence group might have more than one backbone organization.
  •  A governance or oversight group or council that serves an advisory function.
  • A leadership council that sets the community excellence group’s strategy, direction, and focus. It might also participate in the initial recruitment and appointment of task group members, monitor the effectiveness of task groups, and help secure additional people, organizations, and groups when needed.
  • One or more task groups. They carry out the community excellence group’s strategy, including establishing the community’s baseline of performance, establishing goals, measuring progress, and defining practices for sustainability. They determine action plans and identify the people, organizations, and groups necessary to achieve those action plans. The task groups are accountable to the leadership council.

The structure might also include a community coach—often a person from outside the community excellence group—who acts as a guide and facilitator in support of all the functions above.

P.1b(3). This question asks for the “what” of your community excellence group’s leadership system (its participants, structures, and mechanisms). The questions in category 1 ask how the system is used for leadership. See also the definition of leadership system in the glossary.

P.1b(4). These programs and services are those offered by or under the auspices of the community excellence group; they do not refer to those offered by individual entities within your community. However, in its community excellence efforts, your group may be able to leverage such programs and services.

P.1b(5). The terms supplier, partner, and collaborator are used to distinguish three types of relationships between your community excellence group and other entities. The terminology you use may be different. In your response, you should use your own terminology.

Suppliers provide critical goods, services, or materials to the community excellence group. Examples may be city/county government (e.g., providing workers, knowledge, or technical assistance) or a foundation that is providing funding for an initiative.

Partners are key organizations or individuals who are working (often formally) with your community excellence group but are not members of the group. They might help to achieve a common goal, improve performance, and accomplish your mission and vision. For example, a partner may be an organization that is actively engaged in deploying your group’s strategy or in support processes but is not an official member of your group.

Collaborators are organizations or individuals outside your community excellence group who cooperate to support a particular activity, event, or initiative or who cooperate intermittently when their short-term goals are aligned with or are the same as yours. Examples could be a neighboring community or elected officials.

 

P.2 Community Situation: What is your community’s strategic situation?


a. Competitive Environment

(1)     Competitive Position With regard to its KEY OFFERINGS, what is your community’s competitive position relative to similar or nearby communities? What other communities are your community’s KEY competitors?

(2)     Competitiveness Changes What KEY changes, if any, are affecting your community’s competitive situation, including changes that create opportunities for INNOVATION and collaboration for your community excellence group, as appropriate?

(3)     Comparative Data What KEY sources of comparative and competitive data about your community are available to your community excellence group? What limitations, if any, affect the ability to obtain or use these data?


b. Strategic Context

(1)     CORE COMPETENCIES What are your community’s CORE COMPETENCIES? What are your community excellence group's CORE COMPETENCIES, and what is their relationship to its MISSION?

(2)     Challenges and Advantages What are your community’s key STRATEGIC CHALLENGES and ADVANTAGES? How do these challenges and advantages relate to your community excellence group’s MISSION and VISION?


c. Performance Improvement System

What are the KEY elements of the performance improvement system used by your community excellence group, including its PROCESSES for evaluating and improving key projects and PROCESSES?


Notes

P.2a(1). Key competitors might include other communities that seek to attract potential residents, other customers, and resources also sought by your community. Key competitors might also include other communities that provide similar or competing offerings.

P.2a(3). Comparative data should address overall community outcomes (e.g., overall health, educational, economic, or quality-of-life indicators) as well as the performance of specific programs and services.

P.2b(1). Core competencies are your community’s and your community excellence group’s areas of greatest expertise or strength. They are those strategically important capabilities that are central to your success or provide an advantage in your environment.

P.2b(2). Strategic challenges and advantages might relate to health, education, the economy, or quality of life. They might involve natural resources, geography, climate, research institutions, history, educational opportunities in the community, labor shortages or abundances, affordable housing, transportation, and access to technology, among others.

P.2c. This question is intended to set an overall context for your approach to performance improvement. The approach you use should be related to your group’s needs. Approaches compatible with the systems approach provided by the Communities of Excellence Framework include Lean, Plan-Do-Study/Check-Act (PDSA/PDCA), and Six Sigma. Compatible community frameworks include the Community Capital Framework, Collective Impact, Healthy Communities, and Community Visioning.

Terms in SMALL CAPS are defined in the Glossary of Key Terms